Southfield, Michigan – Smaller engines and gasoline direct injection led the way in the 2012 Ward’s 10 Best Engines list, which honours excellence in vehicle powertrains.

A record seven winners use direct fuel injection, demonstrating the rapid pace of technology development as automakers downsize their engines in anticipation of strict U.S. fuel economy rules.

The winners are:

– 3.0-litre TFSI supercharged V6 (Audi A6)

– 2.0-litre N20 turbocharged I4 (BMW Z4/528i)

– 3.0-litre N55 turbocharged I6 (BMW 335i coupe)

– 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 (Chrysler 300S/Jeep Wrangler)

– 2.0-litre EcoBoost I4 (Ford Edge)

– 5.0-litre V8 (Ford Mustang Boss 302)

– 2.0-litre turbocharged I4 (Buick Regal GS)

– 1.6-litre I4 (Hyundai Accent/Kia Soul)

– 2.0-litre SkyACTIV I4 (Mazda3)

– 3.5-litre V6 Hybrid (Infiniti M35h)

“With so many engines featuring gasoline direct injection and forced induction, we’re pleased to have a list that is rich in technology,” said Drew Winter, editor-in-chief of Wards Auto World magazine. “Additionally, every engine reinforces the idea that even fuel-efficient vehicles must be fun to drive.”

The editors chose the winners after driving 36 vehicles, with 34 acquiring new or significantly upgraded engines, in their routine daily commutes around metropolitan Detroit. The engines were scored on their power, technology, fuel economy, and noise, vibration and harshness characteristics. To be eligible, an engine must be available in a regular-production, U.S.-specific model and on sale no later than the first quarter of 2012 and with a base price below US$55,000. Winners from the 2011 competition were automatically eligible and evaluated against the new engines for 2012.

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