The jurors for Europe’s prestigious car of the year award have spoken and these are the seven finalists that will battle it out for the crown.
The short list follows the initial announcement made earlier this year, when no less than 40 vehicles entered the competition, but 33 of them have been cut out, including Alfa Romeo’s Giulia, Infiniti’s Q30, Tesla Model X, Toyota’s Mirai, Ford’s Mustang, and Land Rover’s Discovery Sport.
In order to be eligible for the award, vehicles have to be on sale now, or before the year will end, in five or more European markets. The voting process has two stages and the big winner will be announced on February 29, 2016, on the eve of the Geneva Motor Show.
We’ll remind you that the winner for the 2015 award was VW’s new generation Passat, while in 2014, Peugeot took the title with its 308 compact hatch.
2016 European Car Of The Year Finalists:
Now in it’s fifth generation, the A4 has a slightly tweaked exterior design, but a heavily updated interior. It’s also lighter and larger and it carries an engine lineup made out of four- and six-cylinder petrol and diesel units, with outputs ranging between 150PS and 272PS.
The BMW 7-Series was officially unveiled earlier this year. Despite looking similar to its predecessor, it’s completely new and managed to lose up to 200kg (440lbs) in weight. The interior was heavily revised in the flagship sedan, which goes up against the Mercedes S-Class.
The Jaguar XE is the British company’s answer to the premium compact sedan segment which includes the aforementioned Audi A4. The sedan was unveiled last year in Paris and it reached dealerships this year.
The new-gen Mazda MX-5 takes the extremely popular roadster into the modern era with its Kodo design language, also featuring a lighter chassis, new technologies and a fresh engine lineup, though things won’t stop here.
Opel / Vauxhall Astra
The Astra K is shorter and lower than its predecessor, yet manages to pack more space inside, while it also underwent a diet losing up to 200kg (440lbs). It has an appealing exterior design and it takes on some of the biggest names in the segment like the VW Golf, Ford Focus and Renault Megane.
Skoda’s biggest saloon is aimed towards the Volkswagen Passat and the Ford Mondeo. It rides on the the group’s MQB modular platform and offers more space inside compared to its predecessor, while its engine lineup includes diesel and petrol units delivering between 120PS and 280PS.
The Swedish firm’s full-sized SUV is more premium than the model it replaces. It’s based on the SPA platform, which is also used on the new S90 / V90, and it has several four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, including a range-topping T8 Hybrid, with a 2.0-liter supercharged gasoline and an electric motor, for a total output of 400PS.