2014 Motoring Middle East Car Awards

Welcome to our inaugural car of the year awards – we pick 12 of the very best that we tested last year

By Shahzad Sheikh

2014 Motoring Middle East Car Awards

Forget all the other awards, this is the only COTY announcements you need worry about, because they are not based on constrictive and pointless categories, but instead are awarded on the basis of simple facts: which are the cars that stood out most for us as the best new releases, which are the cars we most wanted to keep or recommend to others, and which are the cars that we remembered long after handing the keys back.

So Imthishan and I sat down and drew up a list of all the cars either one, or both of us, had tested in the 12 month period leading up to the end of November 2014, and then we debated, bickered and fought, until we whittled it down to our ‘Distinguished Dozen’.

Find out how the judging process went in this exclusive behind-the-scenes video:

The 12 Winners!

So where we go – here are the 12 best cars of last year according to the 2014 Motoring Middle East Car Awards.

Well, there will be 12 one we’ve finished handing out all the trophies and announced them all – in NO PARTICULAR ORDER.  We’ll just post up the winners, as soon as we hand over the trophy to the winning manufacturer.

So keep checking back here to catch up with the winners, or follow us live on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube accounts!

 

Cadillac Escalade

‘Celebrity Must-Have SUV’

2015 Cadillac Escalade

This mighty machine has been massively improved for its latest incarnation. We like all the new line-up of full-size SUVs from the GM stable, but this stands out for its style and the quality and refinement of the interior. If you want to bling it up big style – go all out with Escalade. Review here.

Award received by Felix Weller, Sales & Marketing Director, Cadillac

 

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

‘Blue Collar Hero’

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Middle East road test

The argument over this car went along the lines of: ‘Yes?’. ‘Yes!’. This was a car that we’d both driven and instantly fallen in love with. In terms of performance, ability and practicality it really finally takes the fight to the Porsche 911, and we reckon beats it on value and styling. Review here.

Award received by Jeroen Barwegen, Sales & Marketing Director, Chevrolet & GMC

 

Audi RS6 Avant

Maddest Family Car on the Planet

2014 Audi RS6 Avant, fastest family wagon on the planet

Around 560bhp from an amazing V8, this Audi RS6 Avant or the RS7 are both equally sensational to drive. But the Avant is even more special in our view because it is the fastest Estate/Wagon on the planet right now – despite the fact that it is a perfectly practical and sensible family hold-all. It can cruise comfortably, or devour sports cars with the kids cackling hysterically strapped up safely in the back. It’s bonkers. And we love it. Review here. 

Award received by Trevor Hill, Managing Director, Audi Middle East

 

Volkswagen Beetle

Retro Done Right

2014 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0 TSI 210

The Love Bug is back, and we just couldn’t help grinning every time we drove the 210bhp 2.0-litre Turbo. It brightened up our day, not only through its colour, not just because it was fun to drive and adorable to look at, but because it is very sensibly priced for a German car. It’s a GTI with character. You can’t NOT love it. Review here. 

Award received by Thomas Milz, Managing Director, Volkswagen Middle East

 

Jaguar F-Type V8

Sideways Sensation

Jaguar F-Type V6S

It’s Good to be Bad says Jaguar, and the F-Type V8 is so very very bad, it’s so very very good! It only took a couple of corners to realise that this 495bhp nutter car, even with all the traction systems still on, is a mad ‘Sideways Sensation’. So that’s the title we gave it – fantastic fun! Review here. 

Award received by Salman Sultan, PR, Social Media and Events Manager, Jaguar & Land Rover Middle East

 

Lexus RC F

Just Gotta Have It!

Lexus RC F 2014 MME COTY

In the annals of Japanese Automotive History the Lexus RC F might well secure itself a space as a leader of the return of the desirable Japanese coupes – which used to be such must-have cars of the 1980s and 90s. The moment we drove this, we agreed on one thing it was a ‘just gotta have it’ car. Muscle, style, sophistication and bullet-proof build. How could it not win? Review here.

Award received by Saud Abbasi, General Manager of Lexus Al Futtaim Motors

 

Porsche 911 Targa

Flip You Lid!

7 reasons why the 2014 Porsche 911 Targa is THE best current Porsche

For me this is not just the best 911 you can buy, it’s the best Porsche period. The reason is simple, it reminds me of the golden era of the 911, the 70s and 80s when the Targa was just about the coolest car you could have. There have been Targas since, but not really (glass roofs don’t count). This thing is looks right, feels right, is obviously fantastic to drive and is extremely clever with a complex power-folding Targa top that uses only ONE motor. If you want a 911, this is the one to get. Review here. 

Award received by Altar Yilmaz, Sales Director of Porsche Middle East & Africa FZE

 

Moparized Jeep Wrangler

Go Anywhere!

2014 Jeep Wrangler Sahara two-door Moparized

We know the Jeep Wrangler is good (one of us even owns one) particularly as an all-round daily driver that is supreme off-road. But when I had this Moparized version fitted out with almost the full kit of off-road accessories offered directly from the manufacturer, it didn’t just feel good off-road, it felt like I could point it at any direction on this planet and it would simply go there (oceans permitting!). So there was simply only one title for it – the Go Anywhere Winner! Review here. 

Award received by Maher Abdalla, Director Of Service, Parts and Customer Care, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Middle East Regional Office

 

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

Most Bad Ass Car Ever

2015 cars driven at Chrysler’s proving ground

I haven’t driven this, but Imthishan has, and he’s been raving about it ever since he returned from the international press launch. Meanwhile I’ve just been salivating at the thought of driving it. By spectacularly updating the interior and putting a powerful enough motor in it to make it the Big Daddy of Muscle Cars, Dodge has not only given the Challenger a brilliant new lease of life, but has cleverly made it 707bhp beasty the car of the moment when it comes to the Pony Car Wars. This car rocks – just by blipping the throttle. We can’t wait to see it burning rubber on our roads later this year. Review here.

Award received by Muhammad Aslam, Director Of Marketing, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Middle East Regional Office

 

Alfa Romeo 4C

Get Up Early On A Friday 

Alfa Romeo 4C

It took 10 minutes – just that – to know this car had to get an award. Not only is it eye-poppingly gorgeous, it’s got the ingredients of a pure hard-core sports car – light weight, direct controls, low-centre of gravity and sensational mid-engined handling. It’s a raw and exciting drive that rewards you the more you put into it. It’s one of the most visceral and thrilling modern sport cars currently produced by any major manufacturer, and we’d frankly have this over a Ferrari or Lamborghini any day! Review here. 

Award received by Salvatore Pisani, Director Of Sales, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Middle East Regional Office

 

BMW X6

Made for the Middle East

2014 Sharjah Motor Show – report

A four-door coupe hatchback SUV – it defied categorisation but created a niche that’s being copied by rivals even today. For the second generation of the X6 BMW has turned up everything – styling, performance, handling and desirability. This is a great alternative to run-of-the-mill SUVs. But what makes this unique in our line-up of the Distinguished Dozen is that this car has been conceived and executed is as if it was specifically designed for the Middle East. Review here.

Award received by Johannes Seibert, Managing Director, BMW Group Middle East

 

Mercedes A 45 AMG

Thinks it’s a Rally Car!

Mercedes A45 AMG review

Here is the 12th and final winner completing our line up of the MME Distinguished Dozen. There are so many reasons to love this car, the AWD handling, the meaty hot-hatch looks, the fact that it produces an incredible 355bhp from just a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, and that its exhaust makes it sound like a mental rally car! We were especially impressed that this is Mercedes-Benz’s first ever attempt at producing a hot hatch, and they nailed it immediately. We genuinely love the A 45 AMG – we’re slightly less impressed with the Mercedes Middle East regional head office however (watch the video). Review here. 

Award received by…. er… yeah you’d better watch the video

[UPDATE 3rd March 2015] 

We never give up at Motoring Middle East – so we did indeed go back and stake out Mercedes HQ in Dubai to give them the trophy for the A45 AMG. We even borrowed a brand new Mercedes AMG GT S to storm the head office. But then they turned the tables on us!  Watch this now:

Well done to all the guys at Mercedes ME for being such great sports, and congratulations once again!

 

Why did we decided to do our own awards?

Watch the actual moment when we came up with the idea of doing the MME COTY in this video.

 

 

4 responses to “2014 Motoring Middle East Car Awards”

  1. Ali says:

    let me guess. The other winners will be from gmc, chrysler, dodge, jeep, alfa romeo, lexus, infiniti , mini and the rest from chevolet again.

  2. vidhyahanj says:

    Like too win Lexus car, bcoz it is my dream to drive it an love to drive it an also want in black color

  3. Vikas says:

    Hi Shahzad & Imtishan,

    If an award was given for the sheer number of laughs and entertainment value an awards process could generate, then you guys deserve kudos for this one. Could not stop laughing at the videos you put up.Jokes apart, great to see your personal picks for the best vehicles.

    Cheers
    Vikas

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