<a href="http://subscribers.wardsauto.com/Microsites/index.asp?srid=10088&amp;pageid=9938&amp;siteid=26&amp;magazineid=1004&amp;srtype=1" target="_blank"><img alt="10 Best Engines stories" border="0" class="storyimage-right" src="http://subscribers.wardsauto.com/images/archive/main/2006/tenbesteng/more.gif" /></a> Audi AG

2L FSI turbo DOHC I-4 (A3)

200 hp/207 lb.-ft.
For: Power dense, velvet NVH.
Against: Abolishes 5-valve cylinder head.
Sum-up: Who needs a V-6?

3.2L FSI DOHC V-6 (A6)

255 hp/243 lb.-ft.
For: Chesty torque.
Against: Grumbly when cold.
Sum-up: FSI is the real deal.

4.2L DOHC V-8 (S4)

340 hp/302 lb.-ft.
For: You've gotta ask?
Against: Single-digit mpg is possible.
Sum-up: Thundering.

BMW AG

3L DOHC I-6 (330i)

255 hp/220 lb.-ft.
For: Scrumptious NVH, 7K redline.
Against: Needs more beef in lb.-ft. dept.
Sum-up: Peerless once again.

DaimlerChrysler AG

3.2L DOHC turbodiesel I-6 (Mercedes E320 CDI)

201 hp/369 lb.-ft.
For: As fast as the gasoline V-6.
Against: Lame-duck layout.
Sum-up: Gotta love that torque.

5.7L OHV V-8 (Charger R/T)

350 hp/390 lb.-ft.
For: Your right foot will love you.
Against: Doesn't fit in the Caliber.
Sum-up: Deserves its success.

6.1L OHV V-8 (300C SRT-8)

425 hp/420 lb.-ft.
For: See above.
Against: Standard Hemi is so good.
Sum-up: Boisterous but pointless.

Ford Motor Co.

4.6L SOHC V-8 (Mustang GT)

300 hp/320 lb.-ft.
For: Great growl, great price.
Against: 5,750-rpm hp peak is stretching it.
Sum-up: Muscle for the masses.

General Motors Corp.

2L supercharged DOHC I-4 (Cobalt SS)

205 hp/200 lb.-ft.
For: Torque on demand.
Against: The fun's done at 5 grand.
Sum-up: Better Honda than a Honda.

2.4L DOHC I-4 (Pontiac Solstice)

177 hp/166 lb.-ft.
For: Probably isn't going to break.
Against: Reluctant to rev.
Sum-up: Wrong engine in the wrong car.

2.8L turbo DOHC V-6 (Saab 9-3 Aero)

250 hp/258 lb.-ft.
For: Giant midrange.
Against: Don't get the automatic.
Sum-up: Great fit for Saab.

3.9L OHV V-6 (Impala)

242 hp/242 lb.-ft.
For: VVT for OHV is nice.
Against: Sights set too low.
Sum-up: GM, bite the OHC bullet.

4.2L DOHC I-6 (Saab 9-7X)

291 hp/277 lb.-ft.
For: Throttle response is something special.
Against: We're still crying for a car application.
Sum-up: You guys sure it won't fit in the Solstice?

5.3L OHV V-8 (Chevy Monte Carlo SS)

303 hp/323 lb.-ft.
For: V-8 for V-6 money.
Against: DOD didn't help much.
Sum-up: King of the Wal-Mart.

6.6L OHV turbodiesel V-8 (GMC Sierra HD)

360 hp/650 lb.-ft.
For: That's 650 lb.-ft. to you, buddy.
Against: Not much “crossover” potential.
Sum-up: Top of medium-duty heap.

Honda Motor Co. Ltd

1.3 SOHC I-4/IMA hybrid (Civic Hybrid)

93 hp/89 lb.-ft.
For: Goes better than you think.
Against: Weenie factor.
Sum-up: A lot of thought went into this.

1.8L SOHC I-4 (Civic EX)

140 hp/128 lb.-ft.
For: Smooth is as smooth does.
Against: Noisy when extended.
Sum-up: Seems so common.

2L DOHC I-4 (Civic Si)

197 hp/139 lb.-ft.
For: Sound of that high-speed VTEC mode.
Against: Demands dentist-drill revs all the time.
Sum-up: Nobody does revs like Honda.

3L SOHC V-6/IMA hybrid (Accord Hybrid)

253 hp/232 lb.-ft.
For: No shortness of power.
Against: Can be herky-jerky.
Sum-up: Our favorite hybrid.

3.5L SOHC V-6 (Acura RL)

290 hp/256 lb.-ft.
For: Big-gun horsepower.
Against: Stiff price.
Sum-up: Loses some panache thanks to SAE rating.

Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd.

3.3L DOHC V-6 (Sonata LX)

235 hp/226 lb.-ft.
For: Gets the job done.
Against: Seems a little low on self-esteem.
Sum-up: Anonymous.

Mazda Motor Corp.

1.3L Renesis rotary (RX-8)

238 hp/159 lb.-ft.
For: 9,000-rpm redline, that metallic rip.
Against: Likes its fluids.
Sum-up: Character to a fault.

2L DOHC I-4 (MX-5)

170 hp/140 lb.-ft.
For: Lively throttle, doesn't mind revving.
Against: Not exactly unique.
Sum-up: Adequacy perfected.

2.3L DISI turbo DOHC I-4 (Mazdaspeed6)

274 hp/280 lb.-ft.
For: High power but not high-strung.
Against: Car it propels is a little too pudgy.
Sum-up: Performance beyond its price.

Nissan Motor Co. Ltd

3.5L DOHC V-6 (Infiniti G35 6MT)

298 hp/260 lb.-ft.
For: Giant midrange, sublime throttle.
Against: NVH superiority has eroded.
Sum-up: Still quite special.

Toyota Motor Corp.

2.5L DOHC V-6 (Lexus IS 250)

204 hp/185 lb.-ft.
For: Lot of tech packed in there.
Against: Sized more for Euro sensibilities.
Sum-up: Brilliant but misdirected.

3.3L DOHC V-6/HSD hybrid (Lexus RX 400h)

208 hp/212 lb.-ft.
For: Can't argue with the engineering.
Against: Not the breakthrough we expected.
Sum-up: Doesn't quite deliver.

3.5L DOHC V-6 (Avalon XLS)

268 hp/248 lb.-ft.
For: NVH second to none.
Against: You're just along for the ride.
Sum-up: White toast. But good white toast.

3.5L DOHC V-6 (Lexus IS 350)

306 hp/277 lb.-ft.
For: Stellar refinement, admirable economy.
Against: As usual, automatic only.
Sum-up: Pushes the bar way up there.

Volkswagen AG

2.5L DOHC I-5 (Jetta)

150 hp/170 lb.-ft.
For: Eager as a puppy…
Against: But you really want a draught horse.
Sum-up: 60 hp/L isn't cutting it.

3.6L DOHC V-6 (Passat 3.6)

280 hp/265 lb.-ft.
For: Ferocious midrange, has some soul.
Against: History's worst tip-in.
Sum-up: Not bad, not bad at all.

bvisnic@primediabusiness.com