The new BMW 3 Series has been named ‘2006 World Car of the Year’ at a presentation during the New York International Auto Show. A jury of 46 international automotive journalists reviewed every new car available around the world and, in an exhaustive selection process, narrowed them down to three - the BMW 3 Series, Mazda MX-5 and Porsche Cayman S. At the ceremony, the 3 Series was awarded the prestigious World Car of the Year honour thanks to its balance of ride, handling, performance and interior space.

Graham Johnson, co-Chairman of the World Car of the Year steering committee said: "The new 3 Series delivers a balance of traits that only a few cars on the market offer. BMW’s compact executive doubles up as a family car during the week and a sports car at the weekends. This unique double-act, twinned with the 3 Series’ exceptional levels of refinement, meant the BMW was a clear winner."

The World Car of the Year accolade follows a number of UK awards bestowed upon BMW’s new 3 Series model range.

In January 2006, the BMW 320d ES was awarded the What Car? Car of the Year 2006 accolade as well as the Compact Executive category. At the awards, Steve Fowler, Group Editor of What Car?, commented: "The BMW 3 Series emerged as a clear winner. We’d expected BMW’s Compact Exec contender to be good, but we didn’t expect it to be this good. No other car is as great in so many ways as the 3 Series."

The What Car? Car of the Year award came at the same time as BMW scooped a clutch of top honours at the Fleet Excellence Awards - the voting of which is drawn from the 30,000 plus readers of Fleet Week and Fleet Management. Proving that BMW offers products that appeal to the business user as well as private buyers, the 3 Series won the coveted ‘User Chooser Car of the Year’ overall prize alongside its category win.

Tristan Young, Editor of Fleet Week, said of the winning car: "Available from under £20,000, the 3 Series range provides choice for any business and its drivers, offering seven different engines and four specification levels. A class-leading combination of fuel economy, emissions and performance irrespective of model, cements its appeal to the all important company car driver audience."

The top honours given to BMW by the World Car of the Year jurors, What Car? and Fleet News and Fleet Management come hot on the heels of a host of other awards. Since its launch in March 2005, both Auto Express and Test Drive magazines have awarded the 3 Series their Best Compact Executive car of 2005. Last year culminated in the 3 Series being awarded the coveted Scottish Car of the Year award – the first time BMW had ever won the principal ‘gong’ north of the border.

Published : 15/04/06 Author : Melanie Carter

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