Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Citroen, Kia, Seat, and Volvo battle each other for the 2018th edition of the European Car of the Year (=COTY).
Selected from a long list of 37 new vehicles, all of which were launched this year, or will become available by the end of 2017, in five or more European markets, the finalists have proved themselves in various tests.
However, they will be further evaluated by the 60 members of the jury, from 23 countries, over the coming months, as they are responsible for picking one winner, which will be announced on the eve of the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, on March 5.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio
Presented last year, at the 2016 LA Auto Show, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio represents the brand's first SUV. It comes with a familiar design, and in its range-topping form it shares the 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 engine with the Giulia QV, which is rated at 505hp and 600Nm (443lb-ft) of torque.
Audi's flagship saloon, the A8, has been taken into its fourth generation, and despite having an evolutionary styling, inspired by the Prologue Concept, the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class rival is all-new, both on the outside, in the cabin, and beneath the skin. It's also the first car on the road to get Level 3 autonomous driving.
Underpinned by the CLAR platform, and with looks that could allow it to fly under the radar, the new generation BMW 5-Series proved itself worthy in various reviews, and it now wants to go home with the 2018 ECOTY award. It's lighter yet comes with a larger footprint than its predecessor, while adding new engines, and even an autonomous driving tech that allows drivers to relax behind the wheel, into the mix.
Citroen C3 Aircross
The French company's answer to the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur, Opel/Vauxhall Mokka, Ford EcoSport, and others debuted this summer wearing the Citroen C3 Aircross moniker. It has a funky crossover-ish design, unlike its MPV predecessor, and can be had with various personalization options, a feature that should help it attract a young audience.
With sexy styling and a rear-wheel drive platform, the Kia Stinger wants a piece of the BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe, and Audi A5 Sportback. In addition, the Korean GT undercuts the four-door A5 by more than $10,000, and it's $11,200 more affordable than the 4-Series GC, in the USA.
The fifth-generation Seat Ibiza has a Leon-inspired styling and the MQB A0 architecture, a combo that should allow it to become a strong challenger against the likes of the Renault Clio, Opel/Vauxhall Corsa, Ford Fiesta, and Peugeot 208. It was presented for the first time at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, and in its range-topping form, it has plenty of features, including a range of driver assistance systems.
Volvo's smallest SUV yet, which slots under the XC60 and XC90, is called the XC40. It sports a familiar design, inspired by its two larger siblings, and it's underpinned by the company's new modular vehicle architecture, CMA, which was co-developed with Geely. Production began this month in Belgium, and the first units will arrive to customers next year.