Even though this is the sixth edition of the wheels Car of the Year awards, the logistics aren’t any less nightmarish and the arguments are still as fiery as ever. Choosing our Coupé of the Year, for example, was decidedly tough. Sony backed the Jaguar F-Type with uncharacteristic fury. “The point of a coupé isn’t just on-track ability; the F-Type with its gorgeous looks and rumbustious engine note has an unparalleled emotional draw.”

Dejan, meanwhile, was convinced that the honour should rightly belong to the Lexus RC F. He felt the Jag was “too heavy” and the weight transfer “unpredictable when you’re really on it”. So, what makes our Coupé of the Year? Is it merely its ability to comprehensively decimate a racetrack? Is it the way it looks and sounds? Or is it about fun? The answer is simple. It has to have a little bit of everything.

Crossovers were an interesting tackle, too. Is it fair to compare a humble Dh80K Nissan X-Trail with a Porsche Macan that costs four times as much? It absolutely is, when you judge each car purely on its own merits, with an eye on what the rest of the segment has to offer. If it were about sheer performance the expensive car would mow down cheaper rivals every time. But since all the cars are assessed purely on the basis of what they have to offer for the price, this gives the underdog a fighting chance to take down its more powerful competitors.

The shortlisted cars are rated on tangible, real-world parameters such as technology, driveability, value, and styling, but it is how they make you feel that also matters a lot to us. As it does to every petrolhead. That said, it’s a fine balancing act between subjectivity and real-world abilities. The car that ticks the most boxes wins.

But it all starts months ago with a shortlist of 50 or so standout cars (new or substantially updated and currently on sale in the UAE). Then the debates begin and that number is halved. The remaining cars then undergo back-to-back testing until the worthy ones emerge.

The judges

Amit Benjamin

Group motoring editor of the English and Arabic editions of wheels. Makes the big calls.

Sony Thomas


Deputy editor, likes sensible cars, bar the occasional moment when a fast Jag turns up.

Fadi Takieddine

Editor, wheels Arabic and a motoring journo for seven years. New to the panel. Loves Italian cars.

Imran Malik 


Features writer, muscle-car aficionado and serial Trans Am buyer. A journo for 14 years, last five with wheels.

Dejan Jovanovic 


Features writer and walking encyclopedia of everything cars. Just don’t get him started on Porsches.

Jonathan Castle


Contributing writer and member of the CotY panel since the inception of the awards.

Kinan Alhabbal

Sub-editor, wheels Arabic, has a keen eye for detail when it comes to editing and cars.