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As is tradition, Day Two of the 2012 New York Auto Show kicked off with the annual World Car of the Year awards. Global entries competed for honors in four different categories, and from the initial list of 34 contenders, the final four were selected this morning.

The big winner was the 2012 Volkswagen Up! subcompact, which takes home the honor of World Car of the Year, beating out its other finalists, the BMW 3 Series and Porsche 911. We've had a chance to drive VW's tiny runabout and, while it would be hard for the automaker to justify offering something this small in the United States (right now), we'd gladly welcome its tossable city dynamics and efficiency here on our shores. With a small bump in power, it could certainly show the Fiat 500 who's boss.

But the Up! wasn't the only car praised in New York this morning. The new 991-series Porsche 911 was named World Performance Car of the Year, besting other nominees like the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 and McLaren MP4-12C. Stiff competition, for sure, but you just can't match the 911's razor-sharp precision, not to mention that this new 991 model is easily the best 911 yet.

Moving on to a different sort of performance, the Mercedes-Benz S250 CDI BlueEfficiency took top honors for its eco-performance, securing the World Green Car of the Year award. In this segment, the other two finalists were the Ford Focus Electric and Peugeot 3008 Hybrid greenlings.

Lastly, the WCOY jury selected the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque for the World Car Design of the Year – not really a surprise, seeing as how the baby Range Rover has been praised for its styling ever since the day it launched. Our condolences to the Citroën DS5 and Volkswagen Up! – you guys just aren't pretty enough.

See all of the World Car winners in our attached high-res galleries, and stay tuned for more details about this year's awards later today.

Full disclosure: Author is a juror and co-chair of the World Car of the Year Awards.

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