The Best Engines of 2011

2012 Audi A6

As December rolls on, it’s inevitable that the “Best of 2011” lists will begin making the rounds. For auto aficionados like us, those are fun lists to look forward to (and create!).

Today we bring you news of the highly anticipated 10 Best Engines list, put together every year around this time by Ward’s Auto. Some of this year’s choices are surprising, but what’s even more surprising is what *didn’t* make the list.

Only one hybrid mill entered the top 10—no electric-drive engines and, even more interesting, no oil burners. So what’s the engine flavor of 2011? Turbocharged!

First, the list, followed by some commentary:

Now, I do have to say that the reason so many turbos appear here is partly due to Ward’s criteria. Scores are based on power, technology, observed fuel economy, noise, vibration and harshness. Vehicles must be priced below $55,000. That in itself skews the results toward efficient turbos and away from the likes of Ferrari’s 6.3-liter V12 engines.

Also notable is that Ford, GM and Chrysler products show up on the list, while Honda and Toyota do not. How about that?

Chrysler’s Pentastar is a well-deserved winner. It’s not turbo- or supercharged, but it did single-handedly bring Chrysler vehicles back from the brink of irrelevance. Kudos to you, Auburn Hills.

If you’re interested in such things, Ward’s has an-depth writeup on the engines and why each was chosen. It’s a good read! Perhaps an even better read would be the best engines of the year, period. No restrictions. I’d start with the Ferrari FF‘s V12 and include the Lexus LFA‘s V10 and Porsche’s 4.0-liter I6 used in the 911 GT3 RS.

Did any notable engines get left off this list?


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1 Comment

  1. What I found interesting was that six of the ten were inline designs and half were four cylinder designs. That’s impressive when compared with the market 20 years ago. My favorites are those buttery-smooth BMW inline sixes.

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