Automobile Magazine names 2011 Automobile of the Year finalists

2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sportswagon – Click above for high-res image gallery

Have you prepared your Car of the Year bingo board? The end of 2010 is upon us and this means two things: 1) We are a step closer to fulfilling the Mayan's end of the world prophecy, and 2) Automotive publications, both in print and online, are beginning to share their "Best of" vehicle picks.

Automobile Magazine has just announced finalists for its own 2011 Automobile of the Year award. Grab your markers, check your cards and see if you have any of the following vehicles in play:
Taking a page from Motor Trend, Automobile will be announcing its winner by means of its Facebook page. The lucky vehicle will be announced November 16th at noon EST, but in the meantime, you can read why each vehicle made the cut in the press release after the jump.

2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon
2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon
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Photos copyright ©2010 Drew Phillips / AOL

[Source: Automobile]

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Winner Announced in Live Facebook Reveal Nov. 16

Ann Arbor, Mich. (November 9, 2010) – AUTOMOBILE Magazine, America's leading automotive lifestyle publication, announced the finalists for the 2011 AUTOMOBILE Magazine Automobile of the Year. Today's announcement will be followed one week later, on Tuesday, November 16, by a simultaneous live reveal of the winner on both Facebook and the brand's website. During the live, interactive announcement at 12:00 PM Eastern Standard Time, for the first time ever, fans will be given the opportunity to chat live with AUTOMOBILE Magazine's editors regarding their choice of winner and the criteria that led them to the decision.

Contenders for this year's award represent a diverse mix of what the automotive industry is currently offering consumers. In fact, for the first time in AUTOMOBILE Magazine's history, electric cars are included in the running, alongside traditional gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles.

The finalists, in alphabetical order, are as follows:
Audi A8
The redesign of Audi's range-topping sedan doesn't take a dramatic leap, but then, it didn't have to. The A8 was already among the most advanced machines in its rarefied class. The new eight-speed automatic transmission, all-LED headlamps, and unique touch-pad driver interface just put more icing on the cake.
BMW 5-series
BMW's much-admired mid-size sedan has been treated to a handsome redesign for 2011, but changes run more than skin deep. The new turbocharged six-cylinder and eight-speed automatic, in particular, combine sport-sedan performance with surprising efficiency.
Buick Regal
The Opel-based Regal is the smallest Buick entry in recent years. With a European-tuned chassis and an engine lineup of normally aspirated and turbocharged four-cylinders, it should go a long way toward redefining Buick.
Cadillac CTS-V Coupe/Sport Wagon
Cadillac's Nürburgring-worthy CTS-V was already available as a sedan, but it makes an all-the-more compelling package in the dramatically styled coupe and wagon. We love the message here: (lots of) power to even more people!
Chevrolet Volt
General Motors' long-anticipated and much-talked-about moon-shot vehicle is finally here, and it's on time and very good. The degree to which the Volt's extended-range electric powertrain portends the future can be debated, but plenty of manufacturers are readying similar systems. GM just happens to be the first.
Ford Fiesta
For years we've agitated for Ford to bring its highly regarded European small cars to America, and the Fiesta is the first to finally arrive. The Fiesta's 40-mpg EPA highway rating may not surprise anyone, but the rich equipment levels almost certainly will.
Hyundai Sonata
Nothing better exemplifies Hyundai's recent ascension than the new Sonata, which rises to the very top of the brutally competitive mid-size-sedan segment. A recently added turbocharged model is a more efficient but no less satisfying substitute for the traditional V-6 offering.
Jaguar XJ
At long last, the big Jaguar sedan looks as modern outside as it is inside. An advanced, aluminum-intensive construction helps make this big cat as lithe as it is luxurious-and it is very luxurious indeed.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Its huge-volume-selling days may be behind it, but the Jeep Grand Cherokee remains a very important vehicle for Chrysler. This all-new version was developed during a tumultuous time, but you'd never know it from the highly polished result.
Nissan Leaf
Nissan is making a huge bet on electric propulsion with the Leaf, the first-ever mass-market EV in the United States. The EV-only Leaf certainly looks like a new-age machine, inside and out. It also promises to be a major milestone.

"Announcing the 2011 AUTOMOBILE Magazine Automobile of the Year on Facebook gives us an opportunity to interact live with our readers about some of our biggest stories of the year," said Jean Jennings, President and Editor-in-Chief of AUTOMOBILE Magazine. "Having this sort of instant communication with our readers is special. Facebook offers a new level of direct access for our readers and fans to experience content from AUTOMOBILE Magazine not afforded through the website alone."

Finalists for the 2011 AUTOMOBILE Magazine Automobile of the Year are determined by a primary ballot vote of the senior editorial staff and contributing writers of AUTOMOBILE Magazine. In addition to matters like practicality, affordability, packaging, and fuel economy, editors consider what the cars signify for both the manufacturer and the automotive industry when selecting the candidates and, ultimately, the winner of the award.

"The AUTOMOBILE Magazine Automobile of the Year is a car that is groundbreaking and establishes new standards in design, performance, engineering, and/or technology. The Automobile of the Year is an enthusiast's car," said Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor of AUTOMOBILE Magazine. "Essentially, we are looking for a car with a story."

The winner of the 2011 AUTOMOBILE Magazine Automobile of the Year will be announced on Facebook November 16, 2010, at 12:00 PM Eastern, along with the Design, Man, and Technology of the Year. The editorial staff of the magazine will be available to chat about the winners with Facebook users from the brand's fan page, live from its headquarters in Michigan.

The AUTOMOBILE Magazine Automobile of the Year celebrates its 22nd year with the 2011 awards. Winners have varied in price point over the years to include everything from their least expensive winner, the 1994 Dodge/Plymouth Neon selling at the time for $9500 to the most expensive winner the 2008 Audi R8 priced at $110,000.

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