A total of 38 vehicles with new or significantly improved engines were tested and put up against last year’s winners to determine the top ten.
The 2011 Ward’s 10 Best Engine winners:
•3.0-litre TFSI supercharged V6 (Audi S4)
•3.0-litre N55 turbocharged I6 (BMW 335i)
•1.6-litre turbocharged I4 (Mini Cooper S)
•3.6-litre Pentastar V6 (Dodge Avenger)
•5.0-litre V8 (Ford Mustang GT)
•1.4-litre I-4/111kW Drive Motor (Chevrolet Volt)
•5.0L-litre Tau V8 (Hyundai Genesis)
•80kW AC Synchronous Electric Motor (Nissan Leaf)
•2.0-litre I4 turbo-diesel (Volkswagen Jetta TDI)
•3.0-litre turbocharged I6 (Volvo S60)
This year’s list features six completely new winners – the largest turnover in the list’s 17-year history.
The 248kW/440Nm V6 from the Audi S4 and the 103kW320Nm TDI from the Volkswagen Jetta (capable of 5.6 litres/100km) joined the winner’s list for the second and third consecutive years, respectively.
The 223kW/407Nm BMW N55 replaced the N54 – which won from 2007 to 2009 – in the list, while the 320kW/510Nm Hyundai Tau V8 (now with greater displacement and direct injection) also returned after victory last year.
The 307kW/529Nm 5.0-litre V8 from the Mustang was one of only three naturally aspirated engines to take home a prize. Despite the 12.3 litres/100km returned by testers on mostly highway conditions, the judges said there was still a place for the engine in the market.
At the other end of the spectrum, the judges rated the Chevrolet Volt’s ‘Voltec’ propulsion system a “technological masterpiece”, while the fully electric Nissan Leaf was deemed practical, affordable and “a thrill to drive”.
To be eligible for the award, engines must be fitted to US-specification vehicles, on sale no later than the first quarter of 2011, and priced at or below $US55,000 ($55,800).