The finalists for the 2014 World Car of the Year (WCOTY) awards have been announced, along with a brand new category.

Infiniti Q50

Now in its 10th year, and with 12 finalists, the 2014 WCOTY awards will see four German, three US, three Japanese and two French brands battle it out for the top prize.

With the likes of Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Citroen, Ford, Infiniti, Jeep, Lexus, Mazda, Peugeot and Skoda all earning nominations, Volkswagen – the winner of four of the past five WCOTYs (2009 Golf, 2010 Polo, 2012 Up!, 2013 Golf) – is out of contention.

Decided by a jury of 69 international automotive journalists from Asia, Europe, and North America, along with 10 additional experts, this year’s awards feature a luxury car category for the very first time.

Created to acknowledge higher-priced premium models that sell in more limited numbers around the world, the luxury list includes marques such as Bentley, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Range Rover and Rolls-Royce.

Alfa Romeo 4C

Ranging from attainable sports cars such as the Alfa Romeo 4C (pictured above), Ford Fiesta ST, Mercedes-Benz A45 and CLA45 AMGs and the Volkswagen Golf GTI, the performance car crown could equally go to more exclusive propositions as the Audi RS6 Avant, Ferrari 458 Speciale and Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Roadster.

At the other end of the scale, the green car finalists comprise the most efficient models offered by manufacturers and include the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, BMW i3, Honda Accord Hybrid, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Volkswagen XL1.

Focusing on styling, the car design award features five of the main game’s entrants along with the new fourth-generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Volkswagen’s XL1.

The top three finalists for each category will be revealed at the Geneva motor show on March 4, before the final winners are announced at the 2014 New York auto show on April 17.

World Car of the Year

Audi A3

BMW 4 Series

BMW i3

Cadillac CTS

Citroen C4 Picasso

Ford Fusion/Mondeo

Infiniti Q50

Jeep Cherokee

Lexus IS

Mazda 3

Peugeot 308

Skoda Octavia

World Luxury Car of the Year

Bentley Flying Spur

BMW X5

Cadillac ELR

Cadillac Escalade

Maserati Ghibli

Maserati Quattroporte

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Porsche Macan

Range Rover Sport

Rolls-Royce Wraith

World Performance Car of the Year

Alfa Romeo 4C

Audi RS6 Avant

BMW M6 Gran Coupe

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Ferrari 458 Speciale

Ford Fiesta ST

Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Roadster

Mercedes-Benz A45/CLA45 AMG

Porsche 911 GT3

Porsche 911 Turbo

Volkswagen Golf GTI

World Green Car of the Year

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

BMW i3

Honda Accord Hybrid

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Volkswagen XL1

World Car Design of the Year

BMW i3

Cadillac CTS

Citroen C4 Picasso

Mazda 3

Lexus IS

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Volkswagen XL1