The distinguished list of contenders for the award that will declare its winner at the 2013 Geneva motor show in March include the Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Volkswagen Golf, Volvo V40, Mazda CX-5, Mazda6, Porsche Boxster and Cayman, and the 86 and BRZ.
The final 10 were chosen by 66 international motoring writers via secret ballot.
The same journalists must now assess each car again ahead of final voting later this month (February).
Volkswagen will have high hopes for its seventh-generation Golf after a number of recent successes for the brand in the award. The outgoing Golf won in 2009 and was followed by the Polo in 2010 and the Up! last year.
The Nissan Leaf electric car broke the German company’s run with victory in 2011.
The two Porsches and the 86 and BRZ Japanese coupes are also among the top 10 finalists for the 2013 World Performance Car of the Year chosen by the same group of writers.
Other performance contenders comprise the Aston Martin Vanquish, Audi RS5, BMW M6, BMW M135i, Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster and Renault Clio Sport.