The fireworks are cold, the confetti cartridges are spent, and the 2008 World Car of the Year Awards have come to an end. Based on standards of merit, value, safety, environmental responsibility, significance, and emotional appeal, the three finalists were the Volvo Ford Mondeo, Mazda2/Demio and Mercedes C-Class. Don't read any further if, for some reason, you don't want to know what the 2008 World Car of the Year is and you haven't seen the photo above: the Mazda 2/Demio. What we earlier called the squat hatch with the aggressive wedge shape and swooping beltline showed its well-proportioned rump (also our term, and Mazda, feel free to quote us) to worthy competition.

In the other categories, the BMW 118d with Efficient Dynamics took home the World Green Car of the Year Award. In what should have been a surprise to no one, the Audi R8 walked off with trophies from both categories in which it was entered: World Performance Car of the Year and World Car Design of the Year. Having taken the awards in both categories last year as well (with the RS4 and TT), Audi knowS how to get the judges on its side. Now if it can get one million buyers on its side this year, that will really be a trophy it can brag about.