The end of the road.
That’s where four cars received World Car of the Year recognition.
The six-month journey concluded with the Mazda MX-5 declared the overall winner of the World Car of the Year competition, as well as World Car Design of the Year award.
In the other car-of-the-year categories announced at the New York International Auto Show, the Audi R8 Coupe was named World Performance Car of the Year, BMW 7 Series the 2016 World Luxury Car, and the Toyota Mirai the World Green Car.
To be eligible for the overall World Car award, the candidates must become available for sale on at least two continents during the period beginning Jan. 1, 2015, and ending May 31, 2016.
“What a wonderful honor to have the Mazda MX-5 named World Car of the Year,” said Masahiro Moro, president and CEO of Mazda North American Operations. “As our iconic MX-5 roadster approaches one million units of production, this award is proof that it is as young, vibrant, fun and relevant as ever.”
World Car Awards jurors, top-level automotive journalists, observed that “with the launch of its all-new MX-5, Mazda has thrown out the blueprint and gone back to basics. Shorter, lower, wider and – most importantly – lighter, the new MX-5 … [achieves] the promise of unparalleled ‘jinba ittai’ – a term meaning oneness between car and driver. And yes, it’s still one of the best driver’s cars around.”
The MX-5 was chosen from an initial entry list of 23 vehicles from all over the world, then a short list of 10, then three finalists that also included the Audi A4 Sedan/Audi A4 Avant and Mercedes-Benz GLC.
BMW 7 SERIES
“Since it launched last autumn, the response … has been extremely positive, with people especially appreciative of the way the 7 Series combines superb modern luxury with the outstanding driving dynamics BMW is famous for,” the automaker said following the announcement.
“This is the flagship model for the Bavarian car maker, and so it simply has to be the epitome of what the brand represents in terms of technology, design and performance,” according to the review by the World Car jurors. “The new 7 Series certainly delivers. It is very much the new face of BMW in the new family design – and yet it is a classic BMW all at once. It drives phenomenally well.”
The BMW 7 Series was selected from an initial entry list of eight cars from all over the world, then a short list of three finalists, which also included the Audi Q7 and the Volvo XC 90.
AUDI R8 COUPE
“Arguably, Audi’s LeMans-inspired R8 has been the most desirable, head-turning supercar of the decade,” said the jurors. “Yet, despite its racing car heritage and cutting-edge technology, it’s a surprisingly easy and manageable car to drive – fast or slow.”
“With its distinctive design, its driving dynamics and its closeness to racing, the R8 is one of the strongest calling cards for the four rings and is the flagship car from Audi Sport,” said Dietmar Voggenreiter, board member for sales and marketing at Audi AG. “The first generation of the R8 paved our way toward becoming a premium brand and raised the aura of Audi to a new level. The new R8 will continue this success story and further accelerate the growth strategy of Audi Sport.”
Chosen from an initial entry list of nine cars worldwide, the Audi R8 beat out other performance finalists the Honda Civic Type R and the Mercedes-Benz AMG C63 Coupe.
“Just as Prius changed the world nearly 20 years ago, the hydrogen-powered Mirai is ready to make history,” said Bill Fay, vice president and general manager of Toyota Division Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. “With a range of over 300 miles per tank, a refueling time of under five minutes, and emissions that consist only of water vapor, Mirai is leading the world toward a more sustainable future.”
The Mirai was chosen from an initial entry list of eight new vehicles, then a short list of three finalists, which also included the Chevrolet Volt and the Toyota Prius Hybrid.
The winners all found a gold trophy at the end of the long road to their World Car titles.