The Audi A3 has been named the 2014 World Car of the Year.
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The German brand’s premium small car took the gong over the sporty BMW 4 Series and the more affordable Mazda 3. The Audi was chosen among 24 entrants from all over the globe, which was then cut to 12, before the final three were selected.

Ulrich Hackenberg, board member for technical development of Audi, said in a speech at the Tsinghua University in China that the award was recognition of the new model’s advancements.

“We are very pleased about the Audi A3 being awarded World Car of the Year”, Hackenberg said. “Since its introduction in 1996, the A3 family has become a benchmark for drivetrain technology, lightweight construction, efficiency and mobile infotainment. With our best-selling A3, we have successfully established the new market segment for premium compact cars. This award is a great recognition for a truly convincing concept.”

Hackenberg also heads cross-brand research and development for the Volkswagen Group. Poignantly, the Audi A3 is based upon the same flexible MQB underpinnings as the new-generation Volkswagen Golf that claimed the crown in 2013.

While Audi nabbed the biggest prize, the BMW i3 snapped up the title of World Green Car of the Year and World Car Design of the Year.

In the go-fast stakes, Porsche’s 911 GT3 controversially took the title of World Performance Car of the Year despite a global recall for that car having been issued over fire fears. Porsche is replacing the engines of all 785 GT3 models affected, including five in Australia.

The World Luxury Car of the Year went to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.