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World Car Awards 2016: the winners

World Car AwardsAfter months of judging, the 2016 World Car Awards have been announced in a glittering ceremony at the New York Auto Show.

The elite of the world’s top auto manufacturers were in attendance, fingers crossed, to see if their model scooped one of the five prizes on offer – including the prestigious overall World Car of the Year Award. We were there too – here’s the winners, revealed.

73 judges pick from 23 cars

 

All cars in the 2016 World Car Awards were launched on at least two continents between 1 January 2015 and 31 May 2016. A 73-strong team of jurors choose an initial entry list of 23 vehicles, which was narrowed down to a shortlist of 10. More recently the ‘Top Three in the World’ list was released, giving the finalists that brings us to the New York Auto Show awards ceremony. So, without further ado…

World Performance Car 2016: the finalists

The headline-grabbing World Performance Car 2016 was fought between three high-power halo cars: the Audi R8 Coupe supercar, Honda Civic Type-R hot hatch and the Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe.

World Performance Car 2016: Audi R8 Coupe

Performance cars should be thrillers: desirable cars that are a joy to drive. The most powerful Audi ever built, the judges decided that the R8 Coupe is the car that provides the biggest performance buzz in 2016.

“We are delighted that the Audi R8 has been voted as the 2016 World Performance Car,” said Dietmar Voggenreiter, Board Member for Sales and Marketing at Audi AG. “The R8 is one of the strongest calling cards for the four rings and is the flagship car from Audi Sport. The first generation of the R8 paved our way toward becoming a premium brand and raised the aura of Audi to a new level. The new R8 will continue this success story and further accelerate the growth strategy of Audi Sport.”

World Luxury Car 2016: the finalists

In the running for World Luxury Car 2016 were the Audi Q7 SUV, BMW 7 Series sedan and Volvo XC90 SUV.

World Luxury Car 2016: BMW 7 Series

Luxury cars should push boundaries and set standards for high-technology features that can filter down to the rest of the range, believe the World Car Awards jurors. The BMW 7 Series, with no fewer than 25 all-new innovations, thus scoops the prize for 2016.

“We are delighted and honoured that the BMW 7 Series has been recognised as the World Luxury Car of the Year,” said BMW in a statement. “Since it launched last autumn, the response from both the media and our customers has been extremely positive. There can be no doubt that the new BMW 7 Series is an outstanding flagship for the brand, setting new standards in its class.”

World Car Design 2016: the finalists

The World Car Design 2016 is a two-brand race: the Mazda CX-3 crossover SUV and MX-5 roadster went up against the Jaguar XE mid-size sedan. Six famed design experts from around the world decided the overall winner – which was..?

World Car Design 2016: Mazda MX-5

The judges decided that Mazda’s reinterpretation of the classic MX-5 roadster deserves the overall World Car Design award for 2016. A car that looks way better in the metal than in images, the judge’s experienced eyes rated it top in 2016.

“While I accept this award on behalf of the company, I do so representing every Mazda employee, retail partner and customer around the world who has ever felt the joy of driving a pure roadster,” said Masahiro Moro, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations, and Managing Executive Officer, Mazda Motor Corporation. “We say ‘Driving Matters’ in our advertising, and we prove it in our cars.”

World Green Car 2016: the finalists

World Green Car 2016 was also a two-brand affair. The second-generation Chevrolet Volt range-extender hybrid was pitched against the Toyota Prius hybrid and Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell. Three very different technologies – which did the judges go for?

World Green Car 2016: Toyota Mirai

The judges went for easily the most innovative of the trio, the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell. The world’s first mass-production hydrogen fuel cell car, it’s a trailblazer that simply too significant and too much of a groundbreaker to ignore.

“Just as Prius changed the world nearly 20 years ago, the hydrogen-powered Mirai is ready to make history,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division. “With a range of over 300 miles per tank, a refueling time of under five minutes, and emissions that consist only of water vapor, Mirai is leading the world forward toward a more sustainable future.”

World Car of the Year 2016: the finalists

The overall World Car Award 2016 this year saw the Audi A4 Sedan, Mazda MX-5 roadster and Mercedes-Benz GLC mid-size SUV all go up against each other. This is the big prize all makers want to win: last year, it was Mercedes-Benz, with the C-Class. This year, it is…

World Car of the Year 2016: Mazda MX-5

To cheers throughout the room, Mazda’s MX-5 was crowned World Car of the Year 2016 at the New York ceremony. The glittering prize was received with immense delight by the project team, who’d flown in specially from Japan when they heard they’d been shortlisted… even becoming a Top Three in the World was big news – winning World Car of the Year is simply enormous for this proud, enthusiastic Japanese company.

“What a wonderful honor, to have the Mazda MX-5 named World Car of the Year,” said Masahiro Moro, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations, and Managing Executive Officer, Mazda Motor Corporation. “As our iconic MX-5 roadster approaches one-million units of production, this award is proof that it is as young, vibrant, fun and relevant as ever.” And now to the rest of the prizes in the World Car Awards 2016.

Nissan GT-R MY17

New York Auto Show 2016: all the key cars

All the big announcements and key cars of the 2016 New York Auto Show

Mercdes-AMG GT S

Mercedes-AMG GT R to debut at 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed

Mercdes-AMG GT SMercedes-AMG will launch a range-topping GT R halo car at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in June, AMG boss Tobias Moers has confirmed to us at the 2016 New York Auto Show.

The new  GT R will be “the highest-performance model we have ever done,” he added – with lap times faster than the Mercedes-Benz SLS Black Series.

‘The current GT S isn’t far off but it doesn’t beat the SLS Black. This car will.”

The range-topping GT R (trademark lawyers from Nissan will be watching very carefully the spacing of the letters and use of hyphens, we’re sure…) will have a full performance upgrade, with bespoke suspension, brakes, tyres and even more engine power.

There’s speculation it may also introduce a four-wheel steering system to the GT line: Moers says AMG engineers ‘punch above their weight’ for their ability to fully engineer custom chassis setups.

“The GT R will be an ambassador model for the brand,” he added, “although we will not take it to the level of Porsche with thigns such as limited availability (the 911 R is restricted to 911 vehicles, for example)”.

“We will also not sell cars for less than the cost of production,” he added…

The confirmation that Mercedes-AMG’s new halo car will launch at Goodwood is a major fillip for the motorsport festival, and AMG will be certain not to disappoint. Now its launch date is confirmed, watch this space for more news on the Mercedes-AMG GT R.

2016 Audi R8 Spyder

2016 Audi R8 Spyder V10 revealed in New York

2016 Audi R8 SpyderThe new Audi R8 Spyder V10 has been revealed at the 2016 New York Auto Show, ahead of the brand’s official press conference later this afternoon.

The new R8 Spyder is on full display on Audi’s New York stand, sitting alongside an R8 coupe and a racing R8 sportscar.

Gallery: Audi R8 V10 Spyder

Resplendent in bright yellow, the new R8 Spyder V10 has cleaner lines and a much more neatly integrated rear deck than the original. The strong rear haunches are more muscular and the entire car looks like one designed to be an open-top model from the start, rather than a later conversion.

The rear deck is particularly striking, with twin polished metal power bulges sitting within a carbon fibre panel. It’s flatter and bulges less than the original, giving the new R8 Spyder V10 a more open appearance.

The open appearance of the new car itself also took many by surprise: usually, car manufacturers leave world show debuts tightly under wraps until their press conference. Maybe the amount of leaks around the R8 Spyder over the past few weeks has encouraged Audi to take a different approach.

Come back later to Motoring Research for more on the new Audi R8 Spyder V10

Nissan GT-R MY17

570hp Nissan GT-R 17MY at the 2016 New York Auto Show

Nissan GT-R MY17Nissan has revealed a facelifted 2017 model year GT-R 17MY at the 2016 New York Auto Show. At first glance, it looks like a simple facelift, but there’s more at work here than first meets the eye – and we don’t just mean that striking new bright metallic orange colour…

Why has Nissan introduced the GT-R 17MY?

The current-shape GT-R is not the freshest car around: it was launched almost a decade ago, and Nissan hasn’t really evolved it much since. Because it’s looking unlikely we’ll get an all-new version much before 2020, the Japanese firm has thus taken the knife to the current car, to both make it look more modern and address customer demands for a bit more performance but a lot more comfort.

The 17MY Godzilla is still extreme, but it’s a bit more plush and cosseting along with it…

Nissan GT-R 17MY: in the metal at New York

The 17MY GT-R looks… familiar. That’s because it is – this is a facelift of a car that’s been around since 2007, remember. But saying that, there is enough in the metal to interest the performance car enthusiasts this car attracts so strongly, not least the introduction of Nissan’s new ‘V-motion’ matt-finish design signature grille. It’s bigger to provide more engine cooling, while an all-new bonnet boasts extra reinforcement to improve high-speed handling. Downforce-inducing front spoiler lip and bumper finish add yet more aggression to Godzilla.

There’s a lot more going on at the rear too. New bodywork improves airflow and there are now side air vents next to the quad exhausts. Nissan says this cleverly creates less drag without affecting downforce generation. Also check the greater use of matt black in the lower body, making the car look wider and more modern. Fancy new Y-spoke 20-inch alloys complete the facelift.

Inside the Nissan GT-R 17MY in New York

Nissan GT-R 17MY

In images, the Nissan GT-R 17MY doesn’t look like it’s been transformed, but believe us, it has. The dashboard and instrument panel are all-new (despite looking similar to the old one) and are now covered in in TAKUMI precision-stitched leather. The new fascia is driver-orientated and, interestingly, has a ‘horizontal flow’ to its shape that Nissan says gives a sense of increased stability for front-seat passengers.

Infotainment is all-new, paddleshifters are now mounted to the steering wheel and the number of buttons has been seriously reduced – from 27 in the old car to 11 in the 17MY variant. Oh, and both paddleshifters and ventilation control ‘sound’ better when used.

Even better infotainment

The gadget-packed infotainment screen of the old GT-R, with its multitude of functions, gauges and displays, was always a highlight. Nissan’s kept this feature-packed excitement but fitted a better, bigger eight-incou touchscreen that now has large icons on the display screen so it’s easier to operate.

There’s a new display command control on the carbon fibre centre console that further helps ease of operation.

Katsura Orange multi-layer paint option

Nissan GT-R 17MY

Nissan has introduced a new paint option for the 17MY GT-R: Katsura Orange, which can be seen on the NYIAS show car. A multi-layer paint finish, it gives a particularly rich and deep look that, with the GT-R’s enhanced front end and crisp black lower body sections, ensures it really stands out despite its familiar profile.

There are more colours inside as well: a new tan option joins red, ivory and black.

Engines: 570-horsepower for the TAKUMI-built 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6

Nissan has retained the familiar GT-R 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 that’s hand-built by a single TAKUMI master technician. Despite expectations, it hasn’t been power-boosted to the round 600-horsepower of the GT-R Nismo, but to a lesser (but still potent) 570-horsepower.

Nissan’s not released performance figures yet but says the boost will be felt most at mid- to high-range engine speeds, although the enhanced sound from a new titanium exhaust should be delivered all the time. The six-speed dual-clutch transmission is also now smoother and less noisy.

Tech: handling honed, ride smoothed

Nissan says suspension has been further honed and the bodyshell has been stiffened, which means the GT-R 17MY will be able to corner at higher speeds and be more stable through switchback transitions. It’s done this while improving comfort at the same time: ride quality is much smoother, reckons Nissan, whole new sound absorption materials mean the cabin is quieter at higher speeds.

It’s “the most comfortable model to date, with a new sense of elegance and civility that one would rarely find in such a high-performance supercar,” says GT-R chief product specialist Hiroshi Tamura. It is, he feels, “the ultimate GT that possesses amazing performance, newfound civility and a rich racing history”.

When does the Nissan GT-R 17MY arrive in showrooms?

The revised Nissan GT-R 17MY will be available in the autumn, says Nissan. Prices are to be announced but shouldn’t be too far removed from today’s levels – it’s not an all-new car after all…

Mazda MX-5 RF 2016

2016 Mazda MX-5 RF 'targa-top' wows New York

Mazda MX-5 RFMazda has revealed an alluring targa-top new MX-5 RF ‘Retractible Fastback’ hard-top variant on the eve of the 2016 New York Auto Show, wowing onlookers with its unexpected take on a second-generation folding hard-top MX-5.

Replacing the previous MX-5 RC, a model that in the UK accounted for the vast majority of sales, the new MX-5 RF is a much more unique proposition than its similar-to-the-roadster predecessor.

Mazda MX-5 RF 2016

Its key feature is a new fastback-style rear end, with voluminous flying buttresses and a fixed glass rear window. The hard-top roof sits above the occupants and, because the rear deck is retractible, can be electronically stowed above the load bay – with no loss of luggage space.

Mazda MX-5 RF 2016

The whole operation is swift and can be conducted at speeds of up to jogging pace: ideal for when the traffic lights turn green.

Mazda’s pitching the MX-5 as a more mature alternative to the racy roadster: as such, the likely-more-refined interior will be boosted by premium trims and upmarket spec levels. Mazda will, unlike the soft-top, also offer the RF with a six-speed automatic gearbox.

Both 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre petrol engines will be available.

Mazda MX-5 RF 2016

Mazda’s even developed some expensive-looking new colours for the MX-5 RF, including a three-coat Machine Grey finish that uses the same advanced paint techniques as the Soul Red colour.

The firm revealed the MX-5 RF at an event ahead of first press day for NYIAS 2016: Mazda’s press event is actually on the second day (24 March): Motoring Research will be there and bring you more news on the wonderful-looking new fastback MX-5.

Mazda MX-5 RF 2016

In the meantime, share your thoughts with us – and let us know what you’d like us to find out when the car’s revealed in New York.

Mazda MX-5 RF 2016

2016 Mazda MX-5 RF ‘targa-top’ wows New York

Mazda MX-5 RFMazda has revealed an alluring targa-top new MX-5 RF ‘Retractible Fastback’ hard-top variant on the eve of the 2016 New York Auto Show, wowing onlookers with its unexpected take on a second-generation folding hard-top MX-5.

Replacing the previous MX-5 RC, a model that in the UK accounted for the vast majority of sales, the new MX-5 RF is a much more unique proposition than its similar-to-the-roadster predecessor.

Mazda MX-5 RF 2016

Its key feature is a new fastback-style rear end, with voluminous flying buttresses and a fixed glass rear window. The hard-top roof sits above the occupants and, because the rear deck is retractible, can be electronically stowed above the load bay – with no loss of luggage space.

Mazda MX-5 RF 2016

The whole operation is swift and can be conducted at speeds of up to jogging pace: ideal for when the traffic lights turn green.

Mazda’s pitching the MX-5 as a more mature alternative to the racy roadster: as such, the likely-more-refined interior will be boosted by premium trims and upmarket spec levels. Mazda will, unlike the soft-top, also offer the RF with a six-speed automatic gearbox.

Both 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre petrol engines will be available.

Mazda MX-5 RF 2016

Mazda’s even developed some expensive-looking new colours for the MX-5 RF, including a three-coat Machine Grey finish that uses the same advanced paint techniques as the Soul Red colour.

The firm revealed the MX-5 RF at an event ahead of first press day for NYIAS 2016: Mazda’s press event is actually on the second day (24 March): Motoring Research will be there and bring you more news on the wonderful-looking new fastback MX-5.

Mazda MX-5 RF 2016

In the meantime, share your thoughts with us – and let us know what you’d like us to find out when the car’s revealed in New York.

Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe 2016

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe revealed in New York

Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe New YorkMercedes-Benz has launched a brand new model line on the eve of the 2016 New York Auto Show – an SUV-coupe rival to the BMW X4, the GLC Coupe.

Derived from the regular GLC, a mid-size SUV currently making waves in dealer showrooms globally (and in the running for the 2016 World Car of the Year overall prize), the sporty-look, squat-stance GLC aims to cash in on the global SUV boom by offering traditional two-door mid-size coupe buyers an on-trend new alternative that has the head-turning looks they’re used to but the extra functionality they’re increasingly seeking.

Bringing to production the GLC Coupe Concept seen at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, we took a closer look at the new GLC Coupe in New York.

Why has Mercedes-Benz introduced the GLC Coupe?

Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe 2016

SUV sales are skyrocketing; two-door coupe sales are flatlining. In years gone by, Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan drivers trading sideways into something a bit different may have looked at coupes. Much less so today: SUVs are where it’s at.

C-Class drivers are stepping into the GLC instead and so, for those who want something with a bit more sporting status (and are prepared to pay a bit more for the privilege), the firm’s now offering the GLC Coupe. It’s the coupe for those who want a coupe, but don’t want a Coupe. A cool-looking coupe on stilts, if you will.

Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe: in the metal at New York

The GLC is already a pretty, stylish SUV. Unlike the BMW X4, which has a few too many hints of X6 about it, the GLC Coupe works well, looks good, stands out. It’s more bespoke-looking than its bigger GLE Coupe sibling, and the lower, more muscular stance works well.

Inside the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe at New York

Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe 2016

Unsurprisingly, the GLC Coupe is structurally almost identical to the regular GLC. Same (very impressive) fascia, same infotainment systems, same rich detailing and array of trim choices.

The highlight is a superb pair of bucket seats, mounted lower than the regular car: an unexpectedly racy touch that makes it feel more like a coupe than you’d think. These are part of the AMG Line trim whose colour and trim choices are convincingly AMGesque.

It’s more than just a regular GLC with a swoopy rear

Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe 2016

Mercedes-Benz hasn’t cut corners with the GLC Coupe – the entire upper structure is new, not just the rear. 80mm longer than the regular GLC, it’s 40mm lower, with a stretched roofline enhanced by new and less steeply-raked A-pillars.

The windowline is thus shallower, emphasising the high-beltline, broad-shoulder side panels, while other bespoke details include a single-louvre diamond radiator grille and, at the rear, narrow split tail lights with central Mercedes-Benz star and sharp spoiler lip to mimic the brand’s coupe ID seen first on the S-Class Coupe. Even the licence plate has been relocated down into the rear bumper.

It’s practical (and the rear window repels rain, needs no wiper)

Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe 2016

As it’s a coupe with rear doors, it has to be practical. Otherwise, people will just stick with the GLC. The rear cabin is thus roomy enough for adults, even if they will have to duck a little to get in and out.

The trunk has a segment-best 491 litres’ capacity with the seats up, and 1,205 litres with them down. Oh, and there’s no rear wiper – because it’s unnecessary, says Mercedes-Benz. The shape keeps airflow unbroken until beyond the rear spoiler, so rainwater is both unable to hit the rear window, and soon blasted away once a standing vehicle gets moving.

Engines: four petrol, four diesel, plug-in hybrid and a hot AMG

Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe 2016

There are four petrol and four diesel engines, but things aren’t quite that simple (and not all are on offer from launch). The volume engines will be the 170hp GLC 220d Coupe and 204hp GLC 250d 4MATIC Coupe, alongside the 211hp gas-powered GLC 250 4MATIC Coupe.

Another petrol option, the 320hp GLC 350 4MATIC Coupe, is a plug-in hybrid that can do up to 22 miles in full EV mode, accelerate 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds yet emit from 59g/km on the NEDC test cycle. Topping the range from launch is the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 4MATIC Coupe, with 367hp and 0-62mph in less than five seconds. All but the GLC 350e 4MATIC have a nine-speed automatic; the hybrid has an eco-optimised seven-speed unit.

Tech: sports suspension – you choose how sporty

Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe 2016

All GLC Coupe have firmed-up sports suspension as standard. There are two optional systems above the standard passive setup: Dynamic Body Control has steel springs but adaptive dampers, and allows the driver to select the character of the vehicle via the Dynamic Select button (all GLC Coupe have this button but it only alters things like steering weight and gas pedal sensitivity in standard models).

A more expensive Air Body Control system (called ABC in M-B circles) will add continuously adjustable air damping for an even broader range of differentiation from comfort to sport. With this system, in sport mode, the body actually lowers 15mm over other modes.

When does the GLC Coupe arrive in showrooms?

Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe 2016

The GLC Coupe will be here soon: ordering opens in the summer and deliveries are scheduled to begin in the autumn. Not all engine variants will be available from launch, although the full rollout is expected to be complete by the end of 2016.

Some markets, but not the UK, will get a bold-looking EDITION1 launch variant, with AMG Line exterior, 20-inch AMG wheels and a choice of designo paint finishes.

 

Gallery: Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe

Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth

Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth sprints into New York

Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione AbarthFiat is showcasing a new 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth model at the 2016 New York Auto Show: with its Stateside 160-horsepower, it may not have any more grunt, but it does have a whole lot more attitude.

And a great name.

Intentionally aggressive, the new Elaborazione Abarth variant (also seen in EU-spec Abarth 124 Spider guise at Geneva earlier this month) gets unique front and rear bumpers, 17-inch gunmetal alloys and complementary exterior detailing, plus an optional hand-painted bonnet stripe in the trad matt black that marks out classic Abarth.

It also encouragingly has sports suspension with Bilstein monotube dampers, mechanical limited-slip differential and a sports-tuned exhaust with, wait for it, quad tips.

Brembo brakes and Recaro seats sit on the options list just for good measure.

U.S. buyers can also choose from just five colours: red, black, grey, white and posher pearl white.

“Our new Fiat 124 Spider is an iconic roadster that combines classic Italian styling with modern performance and technology,” said Olivier Francois, head of Fiat brand, FCA Global.

“The addition of our new 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth further enhances the driving experience and offers yet another head-turning, fun-to-drive vehicle to our customers.”

The first Fiat 124 Spider arrive in North American Fiat dealers this summer: presumably, the elaborate new Elaborazione Abarth will follow soon after.

Come back to Motoring Research’s coverage of the 2016 New York Auto Show soon for more images and views of the tasty-looking new U.S.-flavoured 124 Abarth.

 

Volkswagen Golf SportWagon Alltrack

Volkswagen Golf SportWagon Alltrack to grip NYIAS 2016

Volkswagen Golf SportWagon Alltrack

Volkswagen will reveal an all-wheel drive Golf SportWagon Alltrack at the 2016 New York Auto Show, in response to customer demand that they want a more gripping Golf.

Dealers and customers demanded the brand add 4MOTION all-terrain capability to its Golf SportWagon, said Volkswagen of America vice president of product marketing and strategy Joerg Sommer; it’s responded.

“We are excited to introduce the Golf Alltrack to met the active lifestyle needs of our customers.”

Review: Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Powered by a 170hp 1.8-litre TSI petrol engine (no diesel is available!), Volkswagen will launch it in DSG guise; a stick-shift manual will follow later.

Already on sale in Europe, including the UK, Volkswagen of America reminds us of the differences between the Alltrack and a regular Golf estate (which is called SportWagon in the U.S.): body cladding, raised ride height, sparkling alloy wheels and, of course, the latest Haldex-5 all-wheel drive system.

There’s even an off-road mode that adds hill descent control and maximises traction, for those keen to take their estate car (with cargo space on a par with compact SUVs) green-laning.

On sale in the autumn as a 2017 model, the Golf SportWagon Alltrack is a North American debut for the New York Auto Show; it’s perhaps not the most exciting new car the brand’s ever brought to market, but it’s very customer-friendly and, in the current times of emissions scandal fallout, that may be just what’s required…