It's that time of year, folks. No, we're not referring to the oodles of time spent shopping for the holidays, we're talking about end-of-the-year lists. Kicking things off in the automotive spectrum is industry stalwart Ward's Auto, which has just released its annual 10 Best Engines list.

Without further ado, here are the award-winners for 2012:
It comes as little surprise that seven of the ten engines on the list feature the most recent advance in power and efficiency, namely direct injection, or that a full half of them are boosted with the addition of either a supercharger or a turbocharger. Perhaps more surprising is that there's only one hybrid powertrain on the list, and it's from Infiniti, not Toyota or Lexus.

In fact, there isn't a single engine from Honda or Toyota on 2011's edition of the 10 Best Engines, nor are the 1.4-liter/111kW electric motor package in the Chevrolet Volt or 80kW AC motor in the Nissan Leaf anywhere to be found – both of which were on the list in 2010. Also missing? A diesel... any diesel – and there certainly are a few options from the likes of Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen from which to choose.

Though its neither direct-injected nor turbocharged, the Pentastar V6 from Chrysler is surely worthy of inclusion, if for no other reason than its single-handed ability to transform any vehicle it's in from an also-ran to a competitive proposition.

We'll also give a shout-out to Ford, which earned two spots on the list but could seemingly have garnered another for the excellent 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine in the F-150 pickup. Ward's has plenty of commentary on why each engine was chosen, and you can read all about it right here. But first, have a look at each powerplant in our high-res image gallery.


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  • 148 Comments
      Dark Gnat
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think there are too many engines to choose from to narrow it down to just 10. That's a good thing.
      Travisty
      • 3 Years Ago
      God, people don't even bother reading the article before complaining about why some $200k+ supercar's engine isn't on it!! From the article: ""To be eligible, each engine must be available in a regular-production U.S.-specification model on sale no later than first-quarter 2012, in a vehicle with a base price below $55,000." Jeez people...
        J
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Travisty
        What would people complain about then???? ### sarcasm ###
      Roman Harutyunyan
      • 2 Years Ago
      VQ37VHR should appear in this list for sure !!! great High Rev engine. i got VQ35HR on my 09 FX35 and it pull pretty awesome. drove g37 coupe on highway ..... that thing rock on high speeds !!!!
      ferps
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think there may be some kind of price cut-off, hence the lack of exotics. (For those asking about the 458, GT-R, Porsche, etc...)
      Krishan Mistry
      • 3 Years Ago
      Damn, that Boss engine looks nice. Would look even better with a Cobra Jet intake making 500+Na hp :)
      razrrick13
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Pentastar is on this list because it is powerful and it is used in so many different vehicles: Avenger, 200, 300, Challenger, Charger, JEEP Grand Cherokee, JEEP Wrangler, Grand Caravan, Journey, Town & Country, Durango, and VW Routan. Damn that's a lot!
        Justin Campanale
        • 3 Years Ago
        @razrrick13
        Nissan's 3.7 V6 has about 40 extra hp, gets similar mileage, and is smoother, all without DI. Don't get me wrong, the Penty is a great engine, but it just needs some work done.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Justin Campanale
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          • 3 Years Ago
          @Justin Campanale
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          Xedicon
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Justin Campanale
          Having driven the 3.6, I'm just not sure if a V6 gets smoother than that. I'll confess I have not driven on the 3.7 personally so I can't say for sure, and of course motor mounts and stuff like that can make a difference. I bet if you took a cruise behind the 3.6 you'd be really surprised - butter baby, butter!
      Abdul
      • 3 Years Ago
      BMW N20 seems to be a great engine as every review tells...
      MachDelta
      • 3 Years Ago
      To everyone who didn't believe me 10 years ago when I said forced induction was the future, and that more automakers should be boosting their powerplants... I F*CKING TOLD YOU SO.
        Rotation
        • 3 Years Ago
        @MachDelta
        Wow, thanks for the update.
        clquake
        • 3 Years Ago
        @MachDelta
        Maybe you did, but have you own several forced induction cars?
        • 3 Years Ago
        @MachDelta
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      spy4
      • 3 Years Ago
      the chrysler choice is weak. but this is a detroit magazine
      • 3 Years Ago
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      graphikzking
      • 3 Years Ago
      I can't for the life of me see why the pentastar engine is on there. Infiniti G35/G37 has been producing similar hp/gas mileage figures for about 7 years now. Engine I believe are ahead of the Pentastar: 1. Ford Ecoboost 3.5 2. VW Diesel (Jetta) 3. New Hemi 6.x whatever liter it is. Produces 475hp. 4. Camry Hybrid Motor. 5. BMW 335 DIESEL. At least the M35h engine made it on the list. That's a dynamite engine. 30+mpg and 350hp. Who would have thought that just 5 years ago? Mustang was getting like 18mpg out of 260hp. Audi was getting 15mpg out of 300 hp. 30+ mpg and 350 hp. Imagine if we can hit 35mpg and 400hp. I think we would all say that we would be on the hybrid bandwagon for everything except 2 door sports cars where we want lightweight.
        Pete K
        • 3 Years Ago
        @graphikzking
        VW diesel has already been on it before. Probably want to make room for others?
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