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Who's In The Running For European Car Of The Year

Jul 11, 2008
Thirty years after the first 'M' model BMW, it's 300,000th vehicle has been delivered.

The BMW M1 Coupe was the first off the production line to sport the blue 'M' badge, becoming iconic of stylish motoring ever since. Although only 445 M1's were ever made, they set the standard for what was to follow. M model BMW's have always been a hot favourite and account for around one per cent of BMW's total sales worldwide.

There are several vehicles in the range now including the BMW Z4 M Roadster, the BMW M5 Saloon and the BMW M6 Coupe and convertible so if you fancy one of the world famous M models you have plenty of choice.

The successful line of M models now sees the BMW M3 taking over with an engine that has virtually doubled in size since the original from 1986 and now has a 4lt V8 knocking out 420bhp. The majority of the 4,000 M3's built so far will be on sale throughout the US.

The shortlist for the 2009 European Car of the Year has been released and BMW make an impressive placement with the X6 performance rated better than the Porsche Boxster. The Jaguar XF has also made the shortlist as has the Ford Kuga with all its hatchback style handling yet low emissions. The luxurious Chrysler Grand Voyager and the eight seater Hyundai i800 are on the list as large MPV's.

Not just any old car can make it on to the shortlist now matter how good it is. The vehicle has to be available in at least five countries and should be expected to exceed sales of 5,000. Last year's winner was the Fiat 500 with the Mazda 2 in second place and third place being held by Ford Mondeo - which surprises me somewhat as I have a Ford Mondeo which, I'm now told should have been re-named as a Ford Gaffa due to the fact that there's always gaffa tape on it somewhere!

Former title holders have included the Ford S-Max, the Renault Clio, Toyota Prius, Fiat Panda (!) and the Renault Megane. With such a wide variety of competition, BMW are holding up well.

Auto Trader currently have a BMW X5 for sale that was previously owned by Liverpool football star Steven Gerrard so if you want to snap up a new car with a little provenance, there you have it. It comes complete with a 4.8 litre V8 engine, churning out 360bhp and 369lb/ft of pulling power. It will take you from 0 to 60mph in 6 seconds and averages 20.9mpg - although it's possible that has changed in light of the escalating fuel prices! You also get the full kit - panoramic roof, sat-nav, TV, DVD system, climate control and parking sensors.

Gerrards BMW is not expected to hang around long. Last year his Range Rover HST was up for sale and went within thirty minutes of the owner's identity being leaked. He then replaced that with an Overfinch Range Rover - at a whooping 80,000 pounds - so let's hope he got a good price for the old one! So, that's two Range Rovers and a BMW in eighteen months! Some people change their socks less frequently!
About the Author
Vehicle expert Catherine Harvey looks at how BMW have come to be in the running for Car of the Year again.
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