From the dry lake bed of El Mirage, California, we present these pinnacles of automotive achievement; cars that affirm that, for all the hand-wringing about the coming electrified future, the dinosaurs and the mammals are playing together quite nicely. For the first time ever, we have an electrically powered car on the list, the Chevy Volt. You may have heard of it. But we haven’t forsaken its antipode, the Cadillac CTS-V.

Nor have we left off significant events of the past year—the coming technologies, the best performers, and our pitiless look at this year’s winners and losers.

Was it all perfect? No. But perfection is a funny thing—just ask Toyota. It is elusive. Slippery. None of the winning cars is ultimately perfect, but each one is as close as you can get for less than $80,000. They all fulfill their intended missions; they all make you feel smart; and they all practically grab you by the lapels and pull you in for a drive. More important than actual perfection may be that these cars are constantly evolving toward that impossibility.

The Nominees

Nominees consist of all-new cars, 2010 10Best winners, cars that were not available for the 2010 competition, and those with significant updates. All cars must fall under our base-price cap of $80,000 and be on sale in January 2011.

Acura TSX wagon* • Audi A8 • Audi S4 • BMW Z4 sDrive35is • BMW 3-series/M3 • BMW 5-series • BMW 5-series GT • BMW 740i/Li • Buick Regal • Cadillac CTS/CTS-V • Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport • Chevrolet Cruze • Chevrolet Volt • Chrysler 300* • Dodge Charger* • Ford Fiesta • Ford Fusion hybrid • Ford Mustang/Mustang GT/Shelby GT500 • Honda Accord • Honda CR-Z • Honda Fit • Hyundai Elantra* • Hyundai Equus • Hyundai Sonata • Infiniti G25* • Infiniti IPL G Coupe* • Infiniti M37/M56 • Jaguar XJ/XJL • Kia Forte 5-door • Kia Optima • Lincoln MKZ hybrid • Lotus Evora • Mazda MX-5 Miata • Mazda 2 • Mazda 3/Mazdaspeed 3 • Mercedes-Benz E-class cabriolet and wagon • Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec • Mercedes-Benz F-Cell* • Mini Cooper Countryman • Nissan Juke • Nissan Leaf • Porsche Boxster/Boxster Spyder/Cayman • Porsche Panamera V-6 • Saab 9-5 • Scion tC* • Smart Fortwo Electric Drive* • Subaru Impreza WRX/WRX STI • Toyota Avalon • Toyota Corolla 2.5* • Volkswagen Golf/GTI • Volkswagen Jetta • Volvo S60

*These cars met our eligibility requirements but were not available for evaluation.



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