You definitely won't be seeing a powerplant from Volkswagen or Audi on the 2016 Ward's 10 Best Engines list. In a serious rebuke against them, WardsAuto is excluding all VW/Audi powertrains for at least this year after the German automakers' ongoing emissions regulations evasions. There's no guarantee of the companies returning for 2017, either. In a story on its website, WardsAuto executive editor Tom Murphy writes that the ban lasts "until we are convinced the culture of deceit has been purged, fines have been paid and regulators are satisfied." That could be a while, the way things are looking.

The exclusion knocks three powertrains out of the running for this year's list. As a winner last year, WardsAuto would usually test VW's 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder again for 2016. Plus, it planned to check out the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder from the Audi A6 and the plug-in hybrid from the A3 Sportback E-Tron.

In the story, Murphy finds VW's actions particularly despicable because of what they could be doing to the popularity of diesel passenger cars in this country. "BMW, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler also sell light-duty diesel engines in the US, but their sales outlook suddenly has grown murky, thanks to VW's shenanigans," he writes. So far, Jaguar Land Rover is remaining confident of US consumers continuing to buy diesel models, though.

We'll be able to see the real effects of VW and Audi's ban in a few months because the 2016 Ward's 10 Best Engines will be published December 10. With two major automakers out of the running, their rivals will likely greet this as a better chance to make the grade.

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