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BMW continues its indomitable ways with the 3-Series by taking home the trophy for the 2006 World Car of the Year Award presented by the Midway Group. World Car jurors initially chose 27 candidates, which were later whittled down to three: the BMW 3-Series, Mazda MX-5 and Porsche Cayman S.

The WCOTY Award is only one year old, as the inaugural award went to the Audi A6 last year. It’s given away at the New York Auto Show, which unofficially represents the end of the auto show season until the following fall.

Other COTY winners for 2006 include the Porsche Cayman S for World Performance Car, the Honda Civic Hybrid for World Green Car and the Citroen C4 for World Car Design of the Year. 

Check out the full press release regarding the World Car of the Year Awards after the jump…

AND NOW THERE IS ONE….

BMW 3-SERIES DECLARED
2006 WORLD CAR OF THE YEAR

April 13, 2006 - For Immediate Release
At a press conference presented by the Midway Group and hosted by the New York International Auto Show at the Jacob Javitz Centre in Manhattan, New York, the BMW 3-Series was declared the 2006 World Car of the Year.

The BMW 3-Series was chosen from an initial entry list of twenty-seven (27) candidates nominated by the World Car jurors.

In selecting the winner a jury of 46 international automotive journalists considered a variety of parameters; then individually reviewed, evaluated, and voted on the World Car of the Year entrants by secret ballot.   The international accounting firm KPMG tabulated the ballots to first determine the finalists, and finally the winner.

Jurors observed that there has been considerable proliferation of models from BMW, from entry-level 1-Series hatchbacks to 500 hp M-Series supercars, but the heart of the BMW mystique lies, as it has for decades, with the 3-Series: sound, sensible and sporty sedans, coupes, convertibles and wagons.

Jurors felt that tradeoffs between performance and practicality; between style and seriousness are more perfectly balanced with the 3-Series than is the case with any other make. Variants include all-wheel drive models for difficult winters, ultra-high performance M models, and highly efficient four- and six-cylinder diesels.

Without changes from their basic specifications, the BMW 3 Series does the job as though specifically designed for local conditions.

The top three contenders for the second annual World Car of the Year in addition to the BMW 3-Series were the Mazda MX-5 and the Porsche Cayman S.

“We are delighted to receive this recognition of the 3 Series,” said Tom Purves, Chairman and CEO of BMW of North America.  “It is often more difficult to replace an acknowledged segment leader than to introduce a new car.  Based on awards like this and the reaction by customers, the fifth generation 3 Series is a worthy successor”.

Today’s world is truly a global village – especially within the automotive industry.  National borders are effectively non-existent in terms of where vehicles and their components are designed, engineered, developed, built, and sold. The World Car of the Year Awards, of which the Audi A6 was the inaugural winner in 2005, reflect the truly global nature of the 21st-century automotive business and, at the same time, recognizes and rewards automotive excellence on a global scale.
Announcing the annual World Car of the Year awards at the New York show is a fitting finale to the auto show season that begins each fall with either the Paris or Frankfurt motor shows.   Next, it’s on to Tokyo in alternating years.  The Detroit show takes centre stage in January while Geneva claims the spotlight in March.  Finally, in April, the season reaches its exciting climax at the New York International Auto Show.

Three additional specialty awards were handed out during the same press conference.   The Porsche Cayman S was declared World Performance Car; the Honda Civic Hybrid won the honours for World Green Car; while the Citroen C4 earned the World Car Design of the Year award for 2006.

Graham Johnson, co-chair of the World Car of the Year steering committee, announced the addition of the new specialty awards last October.  “Performance, design, and environmental responsibility are all key elements in the success of a vehicle on a global scale,” he said, “so we believe it is appropriate that we recognize exceptional achievement in those specific areas with their own awards.”

A panel of international experts in each of the environmental and design fields was chosen to assist the jurors by developing the short lists of finalists from the array of eligible candidates in each of those categories.  However, the 46 member jury themselves determined the top three finalists in the World Performance Car category.

The World Car of the Year Awards program is initiated by, organized by, and conducted by, automotive journalists from around the globe.  A non-profit association guided by a steering committee of journalists from Asia, Europe, and North America administers the awards program.  WCOTY is intended to complement, not compete with, existing COTY awards by raising consumer awareness of regional Car of the Year award programs as well as the World Car of the Year.


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  • 20 Comments
      • 9 Years Ago
      It looks boring. When are they going to make it look "faster?"
      • 9 Years Ago
      BMW has poorly designed interior cabin compare to lexus. I wouldn't want to spend megacash just to have nice handling alone. The interior cabin must be luxurious and quiet. BMW should take lessons from Lexus in designing the cabin. BMW is highly overprice piece of metal on wheels.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Whats qualifies a vehicle as a "World Car"? Wouldn't it have to be available all over the globe, unlike the Citroen C4?
      • 9 Years Ago
      Boring as a bag of cement, and significantly more expensive than the last iteration. How does this make it a car of the year? Those two things are VERY important in COTY considerations. Top Gear, refused to even look at this car due to its boringness and unsuitability.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Alexander - I would agree with you in the fact that I personally don't like the current BMW interior designs, but I would not say they are low quality. They are also fairly quite (although not Lexus hushed). That said, I would take the Audi A4 or Lexus IS interior in a heartbeat.

      The "megabucks" paid for the 3 buys you a lot more than handling - that part I disagree with. BMW inline-6 engines have always been awesome and, forgetting the styling (interior or exterior) which is silly to discuss, the car has A LOT too offer. Have you driven one?
      • 9 Years Ago
      Comparing the IS/G35 to the BMW is like comparing Outback to Ruth's Chris. Outback may be appealing due to the price but Ruth's Chris is much more satisfying.
      • 9 Years Ago
      As an owner of a G35 6MT Sport Coupe. I can tell you that the 3 series is the ultimate driving machine for a reason. My Infiniti is fast, but a rough ride indeed. BMW created the segment, and continue to reign as kings. Now if I only could afford a BMW....
      • 9 Years Ago
      No surprise here. I haven't always been a fan of the 3-Series in the past, but the current car has an unbelievable chassis. There are only a couple of cars I'd feel confident driving quickly along an unfamiliar, challenging road, and this is one of them. (Mazda's RX-8 is the other.) High limits aren't sufficient--plenty of cars have those. What the 3 provides is the sort of connection between car and driver that driving becomes thoroughly intuitive.

      My review of the 325 and 330: http://www.epinions.com/content_182323482244

      It'll be interesting to see how the turbo six works in this car. Unless boost lag is virtually nonexistent, they'd have been better off with a larger six.
      • 9 Years Ago
      comment for Corey, If you can afford a G35 coupe why do you think a 3 series is so out of reach? if you can afford 35 what's 42 ???
      • 9 Years Ago
      I disagree.
      • 9 Years Ago
      As with any out-of-warranty car, regardless of make, find a reliable, trust-worthy, auto shop. Never go to a dealership for out-of-warranty service. This includes the Asian imports (unless you like upgrading to the latest and greatest breadmobile before the warranty expires).
      • 9 Years Ago
      Don't be hatin' the 3 series, it's a great car. It's great until you have to pay to get one fixed anyway. On the way home from your test drive stop by the service facility and get an estimate on a standard 4 wheel brake job on an out of warranty car. I'd tell you what it is but you wouldn't believe me.
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