Republican U.S. senators who see nothing but failure when considering a government loan to General Motors Corp. clearly know nothing about engines.

If they did, they would give GM the props it deserves for engineering, manufacturing and selling a stellar direct-injection gasoline DOHC V-6 that rivals the world's finest 6-cyl. engines.

For the second-straight year, the 304-hp 3.6L “high-feature” V-6, which first appeared in the Cadillac CTS, finds itself on the Ward's 10 Best Engines list for its dazzling throttle response, competitive fuel economy, laudable low-end torque, impressive specific output (84 hp/L) and effortless power delivery.

And once again, this V-6 continues to run on regular unleaded fuel, which most engines of this caliber are not designed to do. When gas prices rise again, which they inevitably will, this factor, alone, is bound to clinch a few sales in GM showrooms.

This V-6 is a perfect fit for Cadillac, proving that a quiet idle and smooth, everyday cruising can go hand-in-hand with a throaty exhaust note and neck-snapping torque at just about any engine speed.

“With engines like this, who really needs a V-8?” one judge asked. If any gearheads win election to the Senate, maybe they'll ask the same question.

Engine type: 3.6L DOHC 60° V-6

Displacement (cc): 3,564

Block/head material: aluminum/aluminum

Bore × stroke (mm): 94 × 85.6

Horsepower (SAE net): 304 @ 6,400 rpm

Torque: 273 lb.-ft. (370 Nm) @ 5,200 rpm

Specific output: 84 hp/L

Compression ratio: 11.3:1

Assembly site: Flint, Michigan

Application tested: Cadillac CTS

EPA city/highway (mpg): 17/26