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Bloomberg TV Autocar India Awards 2015 Preview

After a noticeable slump, the automotive industry came back with a bang in 2014, a point that really hit home as we were tallying up our contenders for the 2015 Bloomberg TV Autocar Awards. Most years, our selection criteria – only brand new models (no facelifts or updates), and only those that have been homologated for India – end up ruling out the majority of cars launched in the year for a shot at the top honours, and that was true this year as well. Despite this, however, the parking lot at our annual jury evaluation round was filled with 22 contenders this year!
The length of the list is trumped only by its variety – budget hatchbacks, mid-size sedans, a limousine, an MPV, a retro icon, four different kinds of SUV and even a pair of performance cars, to name only some. Not an easy task picking a definitive winner then, which is why our jury of industry experts had its work cut out.  
The Jury:
Hormazd Sorabjee –Editor, Autocar India
Shapur Kotwal – Deputy editor, Autocar India
Renuka Kirpalani – Editor, the Autocar Show
Narain Karthikeyan – Professional racing driver
Manvendra Singh – India’s foremost automobile historian

The ConTenders:
New Honda City
The Honda City has been in India for 16 years and three generations, with each iteration being a big step forward from its predecessor. This fourth-generation car, however, has played it quite safe, not straying too far from the last car’s winning formula. A big change though is the addition of a much-needed diesel engine option, which has put the City back into contention. Can it replicate the resounding success of its forebears this time around?

New Mercedes-Benz S-class
Mercedes-Benz’s flagships have always been exceptional cars, and this one is no different. Like its predecessors, the new S-class sets a new benchmark in luxury. Acres of space, superb sound insulation, faultless quality and loads of technology make for a serene motoring experience. And with local assembly for the first time in India, Mercedes has managed to keep the price competitive too.

New Hyundai Santa Fe
Another car that’s gone ‘local’ is the Hyundai Santa Fe. The new-generation car still offers the seven-seat practicality, and might 194bhp diesel engine as before, but the look and feel is much more upmarket than ever before. It’s also packed with all the equipment you could ask for. However, with prices nearing Rs 30 lakh, should you choose the Hyundai badge over a more luxurious one?

BMW 3-series GT
The BMW 3-series GT is a sort of jack of all trades in the BMW line-up – packing the space of a 5-series and the high-riding practicality of an SUV into the footprint of a 3-series. It’s a true crossover in every sense of the word, but is it perhaps a niche too far? And above all else, does it deliver driving pleasure like any good BMW should?

Maruti Celerio
Generally speaking, a small car from Maruti is always big news. The Celerio replaces both the A-star and the Zen Estilo, and goes up against mid-range hatchbacks like the Hyundai i10 and Chevrolet Beat. Suzuki gave the car a design that would appeal to a majority of small car buyers – clean and safe. The car also brings an AMT auto gearbox to the line-up, to reach out to a wider variety of customers.

Jaguar F-type coupé



    The Jaguar F-type is the first grounds-up two-seater sportscar from the company in decades, and the spiritual successor to the legendary E-type. It’s also a gorgeous looking modern performance car that can hold its own against the best in its segment. Its cabin may be lacking that ultimate level of quality that German carmakers do so well, but one bark from any of its supercharged engines through the beautifully tuned exhausts and all is forgiven.
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