2015 Audi A3 wins World Car of the YearMon, 21 Apr 2014 00:00:00 -0700
The World Car of the Year awards were announced last Thursday at the New York auto show. Porsche, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz all took top honors in different classes. It seems 'ze Germans know what makes judges tick.
The 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 won World Performance Car of the Year. It's the third time Porsche has held the honor.
“To be chosen as the winner of the World Performance Car by this global jury is extremely rewarding,” said Detlev von Platen, president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America. “Each generation of the 911 GT3 epitomizes our vision of the ultimate purebred, track-ready sports car. And our newest iteration is no exception.”
The latest GT3 delivers 475 hp from a 3.8-liter boxer six, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Sixty mph comes up in just 3.3 seconds, while top speed it limited to 195 mph. The GT3 costs $131,395, including destination.
The 2014 Mercedes S-class won the award for World Luxury Car of the Year, and we can't find any reason to disagree. The luxury yacht offers a boatload of features – a surprising amount of them fun-to-drive ones, even for an enthusiast. We tested the S550 at Michigan International Speedway last year and found it to be as calm around the track as it is on the highway.
Both World Car Design of the Year and World Green Car of the Year went to the BMW i3. The all-electric i3 goes on sale this quarter in the U.S. market, with an MSRP of $41,350. It uses a 22-kWh battery, good for about 90 miles on a single charge. It's a stumpy-looking thing. We're not sure about giving it design of the year. We think the i8 would have been a better choice.
Finally, for World Car of the Year, the judges picked the Audi A3. The jurors said, “It might borrow styling hints from its bigger brothers, but the A3 still offers classic, chiselled contours and even better interior trim levels. With a superb choice of engines and four body styles, the Audi A3 range packs a hefty premium punch in the small luxury segment. Audi should be complimented for making this A3 ride like no other A3. All the old shimmer over rough surfaces has gone, replaced by a silky-smooth ride that approaches limousine quality.”
We drove the 2015 A3 last month and found it to be fun, but also a compromise. It lacked the spirit that brought customers to the brand over the past 10 years. Ours didn't have the sport package, which we guessed would have helped in the “fun” category.
Vehicles for WCOTY are selected and voted on by a 69-person jury panel from 22 countries. “Each juror was appointed by the World Car Steering Committee on the basis of his or her expertise, experience, credibility and influence. Each juror typically drives and evaluates new vehicles on a regular basis as part of their professional work.”
By Jake Lingeman