Audi America president Scott Keogh, with the trophy after the A3 was named World Car of the Year.

New York Motor Show - The Audi A3 has been named 2014 World Car of the Year, with the BMW 4 Series and the Mazda 3 as the losing finalists - from 12 semi-finalists and an initial nomination of 24 cars.

The World Car of the Year jury, an international panel of 69 motoring journalists from 22 countries, didn't disclose the final scoring but said that it had been, as always, a close and contentious decision.

The jurors commented: "It might borrow styling hints from its bigger brothers, but the A3 still offers classic, chiseled contours and even better interior trim levels. With a superb choice of engines and four body styles, the A3 range packs a hefty premium punch in the small luxury segment.

"Audi should be complimented for making this A3 ride like no other A3. All the old shimmer over rough surfaces has gone, replaced by a silky smooth ride that approaches limousine quality."

This is not the first time in the 10 year history of the World Car of the Year awards that the honours have gone to the Fellowship of the Four Rings; the A6 was the winner of the inaugural award in 2005 - although it is perhaps more telling that the A3 is based on the same MQB platform as the Golf 7 that won the 2013 title.

Previous World Car of the Year winners:

2005: Audi A6

2006: BMW 3 Series

2007: Lexus LS460

2008: Mazda2

2009: Volkswagen Golf 6

2010: Volkswagen Polo

2011: Nissan Leaf

2012: Volkswagen Up

2013: Volkswagen Golf 7


World Performance Car of the Year: Porsche 911 GT3

Runners-up: Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, Ferrari 458 Speciale.

This award was somewhat controversial, as the winning car is subject to a recall that will replace the engines of all the 785 cards affected; some cynics said it should have been renamed Hot Car of the Year, due to the winner's demonstrated penchant for setting itself alight.

Jurors' Comments:

"Essentially race-engineered cars are Porsche's original bread and butter. The latest 911 GT3 is 100 percent at home on any track, with finely balanced handling - even with the engine theoretically in the 'wrong' place."

World Luxury Car of the Year: Mercedes S-Class

Runners-up: Bentley Flying Spur, Range Rover Sport.

Jurors' Comments:

"Mercedes-Benz dominates the big luxury sedan market worldwide and the challenge of the sixth-generation S-Class was to be even better than the previous model.

"They did it by creating a car so far advanced in this segment that competitors pretty much have ceased trying to go head-to-head with the S. The exterior is completely new and the interior is spectacular on a whole new level".

World Design Car of the Year: BMW i3

Runners-up: Mazda3, Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Jurors' Comments:

"Unlike other BMW cars, the i3 has a boxy shape, which suggests roominess and efficiency, but still retains BMW's typical dynamism thanks to large-diameter wheels and very short overhangs.

"The i3 expresses the sub-brand's own character with unique design features, including the black bonnet and the side window graphics that extend over the rear pillar.

"The interior is more surprising and attractive; it marks a radical leap of car interior design, spreading a calm yet rich feeling, as in a modern living room."

World Green Car of the Year: BMW i3

Runners-up: Audi A3 Sportback g-tron, Volkswagen XL1

Jurors' Comments:

"Radical in looks, construction, and powertrain, the BMW i3 is one of very few clean-sheet-of-paper cars designed from the ground up for efficiency, with the different needs of the new century's megacities in mind.

"From its last-kilometre navigation system to take drivers from car to destination, to the shipped-around-the-world carbon-fibre body shell without a B-pillar, the BMW i3 pushes boundaries on many fronts."