2017 wheels Car of the Year: Bigger and better

It was celebration time at the Waldorf Astoria on the Palm Jumeirah as we held our annual awards bash attended by the who’s who of the region’s motoring industry
By Imran Malik, Features Writer
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March 10, 2017
Johannes Seibert, managing director, BMW Group Middle East with two trophies and our Car of the Year, the M2
Johannes Seibert, managing director, BMW Group Middle East with two trophies and our Car of the Year, the M2(1/17)
Michelle Hogan, public relations manager, Volkswagen Middle East, accepts the award for the Best Hot Hatch from Amit Benjamin, group motoring editor, wheels
Michelle Hogan, public relations manager, Volkswagen Middle East, accepts the award for the Best Hot Hatch from Amit Benjamin, group motoring editor, wheels(2/17)
Janice Hinson, public relations manager of Audi Middle East, gets the trophy for the Best Luxury Saloon from Rajeev Khanna, commercial director, Gulf News
Janice Hinson, public relations manager of Audi Middle East, gets the trophy for the Best Luxury Saloon from Rajeev Khanna, commercial director, Gulf News(3/17)
Justin Weaving, regional network director of Jaguar Land Rover Middle East, is presented the award for Best Luxury Crossover from Abdul Hamid Ahmad, executive director of publications and editor in chief of Gulf News
Justin Weaving, regional network director of Jaguar Land Rover Middle East, is presented the award for Best Luxury Crossover from Abdul Hamid Ahmad, executive director of publications and editor in chief of Gulf News(4/17)
Firas Kandalaft, marketing manager, Bentley Motors Middle East, Africa and India, receives the award from Gary Hartstein, former F1 medical delegate and guest judge
Firas Kandalaft, marketing manager, Bentley Motors Middle East, Africa and India, receives the award from Gary Hartstein, former F1 medical delegate and guest judge(5/17)
Joseph Rogan, prestige director, Al Habtoor Motors, gets the award for Best Sportscar from Alex Hirschi, supercar vlogger and guest judge CotY 2017
Joseph Rogan, prestige director, Al Habtoor Motors, gets the award for Best Sportscar from Alex Hirschi, supercar vlogger and guest judge CotY 2017(6/17)
Suzan Kazzi, head of communications at Al-Futtaim Motors takes the Readers’ Choice award from R Ramanan, business service manager and controller of Mobil 1
Suzan Kazzi, head of communications at Al-Futtaim Motors takes the Readers’ Choice award from R Ramanan, business service manager and controller of Mobil 1(7/17)
Lee Newton, marketing director, Porsche Middle East, was pleased with winning two trophies, one for Best Sports Saloon and the other for Best Convertible
Lee Newton, marketing director, Porsche Middle East, was pleased with winning two trophies, one for Best Sports Saloon and the other for Best Convertible(8/17)
Abdallah Madhoun, regional sales and marketing manager of Chevrolet Middle East Operations, with the Best City Car award
Abdallah Madhoun, regional sales and marketing manager of Chevrolet Middle East Operations, with the Best City Car award(9/17)
Marketing manager SJ Youn, from Kia Motor Corporation, regional headquarters of Middle East and Africa, and Samee Akbar Mitkar, marketing manager, Al Majid Kia, with the Best Family Saloon award
Marketing manager SJ Youn, from Kia Motor Corporation, regional headquarters of Middle East and Africa, and Samee Akbar Mitkar, marketing manager, Al Majid Kia, with the Best Family Saloon award(10/17)
Andreas Bueckmann, director of sales and marketing, Daimler Middle East with the award for the Best Executive Saloon, and Philip Mayling, head of sales, Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars, Mercedes-Benz Cars Middle East
Andreas Bueckmann, director of sales and marketing, Daimler Middle East with the award for the Best Executive Saloon, and Philip Mayling, head of sales, Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars, Mercedes-Benz Cars Middle East(11/17)
Sadiq Al Hamed, senior account executive Asdaa PR, and Rasha Ghanem, group account director Asdaa PR at Ford Middle East, with the Best CUV award
Sadiq Al Hamed, senior account executive Asdaa PR, and Rasha Ghanem, group account director Asdaa PR at Ford Middle East, with the Best CUV award(12/17)
Ismail Sethi, Nissan Middle East product marketing manager SUVs, CUVs, trucks, with the award for the Best SUV
Ismail Sethi, Nissan Middle East product marketing manager SUVs, CUVs, trucks, with the award for the Best SUV(13/17)
Hossam Hosni, vice president of Ferrari and Maserati at Al Tayer Motors, with the Best GT award
Hossam Hosni, vice president of Ferrari and Maserati at Al Tayer Motors, with the Best GT award(14/17)
Zantelle Van Der Linde, marketing and PR manager, Lamborghini Middle East and Africa, was very happy with the Best Supercar award
Zantelle Van Der Linde, marketing and PR manager, Lamborghini Middle East and Africa, was very happy with the Best Supercar award(15/17)
Mukesh M Mansukhani was chuffed to get the My Wheels of the Year award
Mukesh M Mansukhani was chuffed to get the My Wheels of the Year award(16/17)
Veteran motoring journalist and guest judge Gautam Sharma, marketing assistant at Gulf News Adonica Rodricks, wheels features writer Imran Malik, deputy editor Sony Thomas, Amit Benjamin, Arabic editor Fadi Takieddine, web content editor Kinan Al Habbal, junior marketing assistant Umair Ahmed, senior account group manager Mariam Hozefa, and relationship manager for magazine sales at Gulf News Umera Haji
Veteran motoring journalist and guest judge Gautam Sharma, marketing assistant at Gulf News Adonica Rodricks, wheels features writer Imran Malik, deputy editor Sony Thomas, Amit Benjamin, Arabic editor Fadi Takieddine, web content editor Kinan Al Habbal, junior marketing assistant Umair Ahmed, senior account group manager Mariam Hozefa, and relationship manager for magazine sales at Gulf News Umera Haji(17/17)

Every year we strive to outdo our previous Car of the Year awards ceremony and it’s safe to say we’ve raised the bar yet again. This year’s event, held at the glorious Waldorf Astoria on the Palm Jumeirah, had all of the key players of the UAE’s motoring industry in attendance, with members of the public joining us in the celebrations for the first time. We also played a fascinating video that we created in-house starring the wheels team and a clutch of well-known guest judges introducing the whole selection process, and introduced a brand new award along with the existing categories.

Our Car of the Year accolade, as you know, went to the BMW M2 after it had scored 15 points (head to wheels.ae for a breakdown of the votes) and it also scooped the Best Coupé award. Taking to the stage to collect both trophies was a very delighted Johannes Seibert, managing director, BMW Group Middle East. He was more than happy to pose for photos with the nimble two-door that made a surprise entry driven by guest judge and supercar vlogger Alex Hirschi.

He wasn’t the only one up on stage twice on the night; the Panamera Turbo and 718 Boxster convertible also won awards for Porsche and Lee Newton, marketing director, Porsche Middle East was all smiles with the haul.

The Readers’ Choice is always a well-contested affair and it was the Toyota Fortuner that emerged as the people’s favourite and Suzan Kazzi, head of communications, Al-Futtaim Motors, was only too happy to collect the trophy.

This year, we gave wheels readers a second chance to have their say and this time it was to select their favourite My Wheels Car of the Year. With some fabulous rides featured in the magazine such as John Raby’s awesome Cadillac and Fares Makarem’s fabulous C7 Corvette, it was Mukesh M Mansukhani’s 1967 Ford Mustang that won the prize. With thousands of you voting for your favourite, you can rest assured that this new category will feature again next year.

 It’s been a chaotic few months getting the event together, but it wouldn’t have been possible at all without Mobil 1 stepping in as our main sponsor. A massive thanks to them, all of our guests and, of course, you, our readers who inspire us to do this.

Next year’s bash will have to be extra special to top this one and preparations are already under way. But hey, we’re wheels — you can expect more magic from us then.

Roll of honour

1- City car of the year
Chevrolet Spark

2- Hot hatch of the year
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport

3- Family saloon of the year
Kia Cadenza

4- Executive saloon of the year
Mercedes-Benz E-Class

5- Sports saloon of the year
Porsche Panamera Turbo

6- Luxury saloon of the year
Audi S8 Plus

7- Crossover of the year
Ford Edge

8- Luxury crossover of the year
Jaguar F-Pace

9- SUV of the year
Nissan Patrol Nismo

10- Luxury SUV of the year
Bentley Bentayga

11- Coupé of the year
BMW M2

12- Convertible of the year
Porsche 718 Boxster

13- GT of the year
Ferrari GTC4 Lusso

14- Sportscar of the year
McLaren 540C

15- Supercar of the year
Lamborghini Huracan Spyder

16- Readers’ Choice
Toyota Fortuner

17- My wheels of the year
Mukesh’s 1967 Mustang

18- Car of the year
BMW M2