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by Tim Beissmann

The three finalists for the 2011 World Car of the Year have been announced at the Geneva Motor Show, ahead of the official award ceremony at next month’s New York International Auto Show.

In alphabetical order, the finalists are: the Audi A8, the BMW 5 Series and the Nissan Leaf.

A group of 66 leading journalists from 24 different countries around the world selected the top three, initially starting with a list of 39 vehicles and then last month whittling that number down to 10.

To be eligible, the vehicles must be on sale on at least two different continents between January 1, 2010 and May 30, 2011.

The top three vehicles were also named for the other three award categories:

2011 World Performance Car of the Year:

  • Ferrari 458 Italia
  • Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
  • Porsche 911 Turbo


  • Can be a performance variant of an existing car
  • Must be available in units of at least 500 per year
  • Must be introduced and on sale in at least one major market between January 1, 2010 and May 30, 2011

2011 World Green Car of the Year:

  • BMW 320d EfficientDynamics
  • Chevrolet Volt
  • Nissan Leaf


  • Must be all-new or substantially revised and on sale or lease to the public in quantities of at least 10 in at least one major market between January 1, 2010 and May 30, 2011
  • Must satisfy at least one of the following:
    • Tailpipe emissions equal to or better than Euro VI, California PZEV, USA EPA Tier 2, Bin2, etc.
    • Fuel consumption equal to or lower than 4.0 litres/100km or CO2 emissions of 100g/km or less
    • Use of a major advanced power plant technology aimed specifically at increasing the vehicle’s environmental responsibility (e.g. hybrid, EV, etc.)

2011 World Car Design of the Year:

  • Alfa Romeo Giulietta
  • Aston Martin Rapide
  • Ferrari 458 Italia


  • May be a stand-alone entry provided the vehicle is on sale in at least one major market between January 1, 2010 and May 30, 2011

Last year’s winners, in the order listed above, were the Volkswagen Polo, the Audi R8 V10, the Volkswagen BlueMotion vehicles, and the Chevrolet Camaro.

The 2011 World Car of the Year winners will be announced in New York on April 21.

Feel free to make your predictions in the comments section below.