All right: V-8 challenging power and torque. Supreme refinement delivered the old-time Toyota Motor Corp. way. And an innovative fuel-injection layout that still has some competitors asking why they didn't think of it.

Or, perhaps, “How could we ever afford that?” This, too, is part of the Lexus mystique × how Toyota's premium division can continue to deliver top-shelf engineering and manufacturing for virtually every component, from hood release to fuel injector to trunk latch, yet remain price competitive.

All these aspects, and many more, make Toyota's 3.5L DOHC V-6 a unique and singularly satisfying engine experience. We continue to call it the thinking man's V-6.

As it earns its third consecutive 10 Best Engines award, judge Byron Pope sums up the Lexus-exclusive engine's execution: “Good luck beating this in any category.”

ENGINE SPECS

Engine type: 3.5L DOHC 60° V-6

Displacement (cc): 3,456

Block/head material: aluminum/aluminum

Bore × stroke (mm): 94 × 83

Horsepower (SAE net): 306 @ 6,400 rpm

Torque: 277 lb.-ft. (376 Nm) @ 4,800 rpm

Specific output: 87 hp/L

Compression ratio: 11.8:1

Assembly site: Kamiga, Japan

Application tested: Lexus IS 350

EPA fuel economy, city/highway (mpg): 18/25