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by Tim Beissmann

The finalists for the World Car of the Year have been announced at the Geneva motor show, and the top three could barely be more different.

The pint-sized Volkswagen Up! hatchback will take on the sixth-generation BMW 3-Series executive sedan and the new Porsche 911 sports coupe.

The three finalists were narrowed down from a shortlist of 10 cars that included newly launched models like the Audi Q3, Chevrolet Volt and the Ford Focus.

The winner will be announced at next month’s New York auto show after the votes of 66 automotive journalists from 25 countries – including two from Australia – are tallied.

Small cars have dominated in recent years, with past winners including the Nissan Leaf (2011), Volkswagen Polo (2010), Volkswagen Golf (2009) and the Mazda2 (2008). The previous-generation BMW 3-Series took home the award in 2006.

On top of its overall World Car of the Year nomination, the 911 is also a finalist in the World Performance Car of the Year category. This is the sixth year in the past seven that Porsche has had a finalist in the performance class, and follows victory for the Cayman S in 2006.

The 991-series Porsche 911 goes up against the Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 and the McLaren MP4-12C in the race for the 2012 award. Shortlisted sports cars that were culled at the final hurdle include the BMW M5, Ferrari FF and the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe Black Series.

The Ford Focus Electric, Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY and Peugeot 3008 Hybrid will go head-to-head for the World Green Car of the Year award, while the Citroen DS5, Range Rover Evoque and Volkswagen Up! are in the running win the World Car of the Year design award.

Who do you think deserves to win? Let us know in the comments section below.

2012 World Car of the Year finalists:

  • BMW 3-Series
  • Porsche 911
  • Volkswagen Up!

2012 World Performance Car of the Year finalists:

  • Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4
  • McLaren MP4-12C
  • Porsche 911

2012 World Green Car of the Year finalists:

  • Ford Focus Electric
  • Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY
  • Peugeot 3008 Hybrid

2012 World Car of the Year design finalists:

  • Citroen DS5
  • Range Rover Evoque
  • Volkswagen Up!



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