There are many publications, organizations and companies that hand out awards to the automotive industry for its various technical and design achievements, but few are so lauded as the winner of the International Engine of the Year competition. Judged by a panel of 62 of the world's top automotive journalists from around the globe, the engine that comes out on top - or tops in its class - can lay claim to being the best there is. For a year, at least.

The reigning International Engine of the Year is BMW's 3.0L twin-turbo, found in cars like the 335i and more recently the 135i. Clinching the victory over Volkswagen's 1.4L TFSI and Porsche's legendary Boxer in 3.6L trim, the BMW unit won with its combination of six-cylinder size and weight and V8-like performance.

This year's nominees include the new Mitsubishi Evolution X's 2.0L twin-scroll turbo mill, Subaru's first boxer diesel and Nissan's 3.8L twin-turbo monster from the GT-R. Others up for awards include the 5.0L V10 from Audi, Fiat's 1.4L turbo, and Volvo's 3.0L turbo from the V70. General Motors' supercharged 6.2L from the ZR-1 and Cadillac CTS-V are up for top honors, while the 1.8L child of a Chrysler-Mitsubishi-Hyundai joint effort is also on the list.

A pair of new contenders from BMW is also among the nominees: the 4.0L V8 from the new M3 and the 2.0L diesel from the 123d in the running.

In addition to the grand-champion International Engine of the Year winner, awards are given in 11 different categories, with Best New Engine of the Year, Best Fuel Economy and Best Performance Engine being the overal winners, and the remaining eight categories the class competition for engines ranging in size from below 1L to above 4L in roughly half liter increments.