2013 Automobile of the Year: These Are The 10 Finalists

Happy Automobile of the Year week! With just days to go before we release the identity of the 2013 Automobile of the Year, we thought it would be best to catch you up on the proceedings and let you know a little bit more about what went down earlier this month.

What Happened:

We took 28 of the best and brightest cars that were new for the 2012/2013 model years to our favorite western Michigan hideaway, Gingerman Raceway in South Haven. Over the course of three days (two driving just on public roads, one driving just on Gingerman's 2.1-mile road course), editors had the chance to drive each and every one of them and name a winner.

To make our jobs (slightly) easier, we also decided to name a "shortlist," 10 finalists that went from merely being nominated for 2013 Automobile of the Year to being on the final ballot when we chose a winner. We've revealed the final ten in the following pages, and provided a little bit of real-time insight as our editors climbed out of each car, snapped photos on Instagram, and tapped out quick responses on Twitter.

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BMW M5:

The BMW's prodigious thrust was enough to draw quite a few compliments--especially on track day. Even so, the mighty M5 fell to the Tesla Model S in a drag race--credit that car's instant-on torque and single-speed transaxle.  
Engine Twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter DOHC V-8
Power 560 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque 500 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm
Transmission 7-speed dual-clutch auto
Drive Rear-wheel
Base Price $92,095
As Tested $106,695

Cadillac ATS:

The ATS delighted many over our three days of testing, but we couldn't help but compare it to the mighty BMW 3 Series--the 2.0T to our Four Seasons 328i Luxury, the 3.6-liter to the 335i Sport Line in our tester fleet.  
Engines Turbocharged 2.0-liter DOHC I-4; 3.6-liter DOHC V-6
Power 272 hp @ 5500 rpm; 321 hp @ 6800 rpm
Torque 260 lb-ft @ 1700 rpm; 275 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
Transmissions 6-speed manual; 6-speed automatic
Drive Rear-wheel
Base Price $44,315; $47,590
As Tested $45,910; $48,190

Dodge Dart:

We actually had two cars with the same engine on hand during Automobile of the Year testing: one Dodge Dart, and one Fiat 500 Abarth. While the Abarth's friskiness drew a lot of smiles, we loved the Dart's everyday usability...and its status as the most compelling Chrysler small car we've seen in years.  
Engine Turbocharged 1.4-liter SOHC I-4
Power 160 hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque 148 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
Drive Front-wheel
Base Price $21,785
As Tested $25,065

Ford Focus ST:

Can a Focus with 252 horsepower still be a usable vehicle? We debated that ad nauseam all week...after fighting over the keys to this entertaining hot hatchback.  
Engine Turbocharged 2.0-liter DOHC I-4
Power 252 hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque 270 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
Drive Front-wheel
Base Price $24,495
As Tested $26,040

Ford Fusion (+ Hybrid):

We staged our own mid-size melee at Automobile of the Year testing, pitting the Nissan Altima against the Honda Accord and Ford Fusion. It was the Fusion's looks, ride and handling, and impressive hybrid that elevated it to the next round. But is it enough to steal the crown?  
Engines Turbocharged 1.6-liter DOHC I-4; Turbocharged 2.0-liter DOHC I-4; 2.0-liter DOHC I-4 with electric motor
Power 178 hp @ 5700 rpm; 240 hp @ 5500 rpm; 188 hp (combined)
Torque 184 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm; 270 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm; NA
Transmissions 6-speed manual; 6-speed automatic; Continuously variable
Drive Front-wheel; Four-wheel; Front-wheel
Base Price $24,495; $32,995; $27,995
As Tested $26,040; $37,670; $30,975

Honda Accord:

The second mid-size melee entrant: the venerable Honda Accord. We loved the Accord's handling and power from both I-4 and V-6 engines, as well as its simple, easy-to-understand interior and controls.  
Engines 2.4-liter DOHC I-4; 3.5-liter SOHC V-6
Power 185 hp @ 6400 rpm; 278 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque 252 lb-ft @ 4900 rpm; 274 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
Drive Front-wheel
Base Price $24,180; $33,140
As Tested $24,180; $33,140

Porsche Boxster S:

The Porsche Boxster S was all-new for 2013, but our feelings weren't: the car still shows remarkable poise, makes plenty of power, and slays more powerful cars on the track.  
Engine 3.4-liter DOHC flat-six
Power 315 hp @ 6700 rpm
Torque 266 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
Drive Rear-wheel
Base Price $61,850
As Tested $85,410

Porsche 911 Carrera S:

What would Automobile of the Year testing be without a brand-new 911? The blue C2S was a hit on track day, road driving...pretty much everywhere we put it. With 400 hp on tap, a beautiful interior and exterior design, and superb handling, we can see why.  
Engine 3.8-liter DOHC flat-six
Power 400 hp @ 7400 rpm
Torque 325 lb-ft @ 5600 rpm
Transmission 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Drive Rear-wheel
Base Price $97,350
As Tested $124,910

Subaru BRZ (and Scion FR-S):

One of the handful of Four Seasons cars that made it to Automobile of the Year testing, the BRZ was familiar to most of us but still shone through the pack thanks to its great chassis, workhorse engine, and point-and-squirt handling. Many remarked that it rewarded drivers on the track more than cars costing twice as much.  
Engine 2.0-liter DOHC flat-four
Power 200 hp @ 7000 rpm
Torque 151 lb-ft @ 6400 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
Drive Rear-wheel
Base Price $26,265
As Tested $26,265

Tesla Model S:

Automobile of the Year testing was actually the first time many staffers were able to drive or even touch a Model S, and most came away impressed with its speed and handling. The huge 85-kWh battery allowed us to treat the car like any other gas-powered one: we drove all day and parked it at night, plugged in to a 240-volt charger.  
Motor/Transmission Three-phase, four pole AC induction motor with copper rotor; single-speed transaxle
Power 416 hp @ 5000 rpm
Torque 443 lb-ft @ 0 rpm
Battery/Range 85-kWh, Lithium-ion unit; 265-mile range
Drive Rear-wheel
Base Price $93,570
As Tested $102,270
 

Engine Twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter DOHC V-8
Power 560 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque 500 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm
Transmission 7-speed dual-clutch auto
Drive Rear-wheel
Base Price $92,095
As Tested $106,695
Engines Turbocharged 2.0-liter DOHC I-4; 3.6-liter DOHC V-6
Power 272 hp @ 5500 rpm; 321 hp @ 6800 rpm
Torque 260 lb-ft @ 1700 rpm; 275 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
Transmissions 6-speed manual; 6-speed automatic
Drive Rear-wheel
Base Price $44,315; $47,590
As Tested $45,910; $48,190
Engine Turbocharged 1.4-liter SOHC I-4
Power 160 hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque 148 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
Drive Front-wheel
Base Price $21,785
As Tested $25,065
Engine Turbocharged 2.0-liter DOHC I-4
Power 252 hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque 270 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
Drive Front-wheel
Base Price $24,495
As Tested $26,040
Engines Turbocharged 1.6-liter DOHC I-4; Turbocharged 2.0-liter DOHC I-4; 2.0-liter DOHC I-4 with electric motor
Power 178 hp @ 5700 rpm; 240 hp @ 5500 rpm; 188 hp (combined)
Torque 184 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm; 270 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm; NA
Transmissions 6-speed manual; 6-speed automatic; Continuously variable
Drive Front-wheel; Four-wheel; Front-wheel
Base Price $24,495; $32,995; $27,995
As Tested $26,040; $37,670; $30,975
Engines 2.4-liter DOHC I-4; 3.5-liter SOHC V-6
Power 185 hp @ 6400 rpm; 278 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque 252 lb-ft @ 4900 rpm; 274 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
Drive Front-wheel
Base Price $24,180; $33,140
As Tested $24,180; $33,140
Engine 3.4-liter DOHC flat-six
Power 315 hp @ 6700 rpm
Torque 266 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
Drive Rear-wheel
Base Price $61,850
As Tested $85,410
Engine 3.8-liter DOHC flat-six
Power 400 hp @ 7400 rpm
Torque 325 lb-ft @ 5600 rpm
Transmission 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Drive Rear-wheel
Base Price $97,350
As Tested $124,910
Engine 2.0-liter DOHC flat-four
Power 200 hp @ 7000 rpm
Torque 151 lb-ft @ 6400 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
Drive Rear-wheel
Base Price $26,265
As Tested $26,265
Motor/Transmission Three-phase, four pole AC induction motor with copper rotor; single-speed transaxle
Power 416 hp @ 5000 rpm
Torque 443 lb-ft @ 0 rpm
Battery/Range 85-kWh, Lithium-ion unit; 265-mile range
Drive Rear-wheel
Base Price $93,570
As Tested $102,270
gerhard.sagl
I clearly hope, that the Tesla Model S will take the crown this time. First of all it is a fantastic car, it looks good and is perfectly fitting to the new achievements that should be a benchmark for all the automakers in the world. It would be a perfect message to the customers too to make it even more present in the media than it is already.

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