Car-reviewing often involves making quick judgments. Which models, however, linger in the memory? This was the year of the Germans, as far as I’m concerned. Japanese automakers were hobbled by weather and earthquake-related problems and the Detroit Three are still trying to redefine their luxury-car divisions. German carmakers, meanwhile, are on a roll, with numerous exciting new models that range from Audi’s gorgeous new A7 hatchback to BMW’s hot-selling redesigned X3 compact SUV. I drove a few memorable non-German cars—the Maserati Gran Turismo convertible comes to mind—but six of my Top Ten for 2011 are Teutonic.

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