Let’s face it: 2010 was a great year to be into cars. We saw the introduction of a brand new 5.0 liter Mustang, as well as a 3.5 liter V6 Mustang that made nearly as much horsepower as the outgoing V8. On the green side, we saw the first serial hybrid powertrain in a commercially produced automobile, with the launch of the Chevy Volt, and the return of the mass market electric car with the Nissan Leaf. Even “ordinary” cars got more fuel efficient via the use of direct fuel injection, improved variable cam timing and lower friction internals. With that much progress in that short a time period, it‘s more than a little difficult to choose the “10 Best” engines of 2010, but Ward’s has just released their annual list.
Winners will receive their awards at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, but here are the engines that will be taking home trophies:
- Audi’s 3.0 liter TFSI Supercharged DOHC V6, from the S4
- BMW’s 3.0 liter Turbocharged DOHC I6, from the 335i and others
- Mini Cooper’s 1.6 liter Turbocharged DOHC I4, from the Mini Cooper S
- Dodge’s 3.6 liter Pentastar DOHC V6, from the Dodge Avenger
- Ford’s 5.0 liter DOHC V8, from the Mustang GT
- Chevy’s 1.4 liter DOHC I4 plus 111kW Electric Motor, from the Volt
- Hyundai’s 5.0 liter Tau DOHC V8, from the Genesis and Equus
- Nissan’s 80kW AC Synchronous Electric Motor, from the Leaf
- Volkswagen’s 2.0 liter Turbodiesel DOHC I4, from the Jetta TDI
- Volvo’s 3.0 liter Turbocharged DOHC I6, from the S60
I understand why Ward’s picked some of these engines, but other choices leave me scratching my head. The 3.0 liter BMW N55 motor that made the list is an update of their N54 motor, which BMW has been hit with a class action lawsuit over. I understand the 5.0 liter Ford making the list, but why pass over the 3.5 liter Ford V6, which is every bit as revolutionary? Hyundai’s Tau V8 may be an admirable first effort, but it needs some tweaking to get it competitive with other 5.0 liter V8 engines from the competition, and is there anything new or groundbreaking with VW’s 2.0 liter TDI? Sure, it’s a superb engine, but it’s not radically different from past versions as far as I can tell..
I can’t comment on some of the choices, since I simply haven’t driven them, and you can’t write a “10 Best” list without sparking controversy, but I really do wonder about a few of this year’s picks.