Middle East Car Of The Year 2019: Bentley Bags Biggest Prize

The biggest MECOTY event yet, the fifth annual regional awards yielded not one but two Continental winners, with the ultra-luxury Bentley taking the Jury COTY, while the affordable populist Renault Duster claimed the Public COTY prize.

Beating the competition including both its own Volkswagen group Audi A8 cousin and unrelated Lincoln Continental Presidential American namesake, Bentley Continental GT bag the big prize at the sixth annual Middle East Car of the Year (MECOTY) awards in Abu Dhabi. The first vehicle from the luxury British maker to win the top overall jury award, the Continental GT was joined by the Bentley Bentayga, which beat the Rolls Royce Cullinan and Mercedes-AMG G63 for the Best Midsize Luxury SUV category prize

A big night for Audi as well, the German premium carmaker walked away with four prizes for five cars entered including both Best Large Luxury Sedan and Middle East Car of the Year runner-up positions for the Audi A8, and three more category wins for the A7 executive sportback, Q8 SUV coupe and RS5 performance coupe models. The wider Volkswagen group meanwhile scored a further three awards including two SUV categories for the Volkswagen Teramont and Touareg, and Best Supercar for the sensational Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster over the Ferrari 488 Pista and Porsche 911 GT2 RS for a total of nine category awards.

The biggest MECOTY since the inaugural 2014 event, this year featured 35 categories in addition to the top overall jury award and public vox pop award. The other big winner this year was Lincoln and its Ford parent company, which won a total of six prizes, including The Lincoln Continental, which claimed an overall runner-up position and Best Midsize Executive Sedan prize over the Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E350, while the Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition won an SUV award each and the F150 beat General Motors’ Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra sisters for the top truck honour.

Ford again took prizes for the Mustang GT and Tourneo Custom, which prevailed over the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and Mercedes-Benz V-Class in their respective Performance Coupe and Premium MPV categories. However, and in a sign of attainability trumping glamour and performance for car buyers, both Mustang GT and Corvette ZR1 came in runners-up to the very affordable, practical and sensible Renault Duster compact SUV, which won the non-jury online voting Public car Of The Year award. A big winner at MECOTY 2019, Renault’s Zoe also won the Electric Vehicle special award, while the thoroughly well-rounded and exceptionally impressive Renault Megane RS scooped the Performance Hatchback prize.

Also doing well, Jaguar Land Rover took the new Midsize Executive Estate prize with the Jaguar XF Sportbrake, and Sub-Compact Premium and Midsize Performance SUV awards for the Jaguar E-Pace and Range Rover Sport SVR. Also of note was the Peugeot 308’s prize for Best Hatchback. The Aston Martin DB11 Volante meanwhile scored a Luxury Convertible victory against the Ferrari Portofino and Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabrio, but missed out on the Luxury Coupe prize in favour of the night’s unexpectedly big winning Bentley Continental GT.

Held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre Motor Show and organized by Custom Events L.L.C., MECOTY is the Middle East’s sole independent automotive awards. Evaluating the best of the region’s recently launched, available and eligible cars, MECOTY’s now enlarged 19-member jury panel includes specialized print, online and TV motoring media and journalists representing the UAE, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar. Comprising a broad range of opinion and expertise, the jury panel’s scoring and voting process is based on ten criteria assessed through jury evaluation test drives.

MECOTY 2019 Highlights

Middle East Car of the Year & Best Luxury Coupe: Bentley Continental GT

Other nominees: Aston Martin DB11, Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe

As luxuriously opulent inside and well-equipped as expected of a powerful high-end grand touring coupe, the new Bentley Continental GT is also distinctly sharper looking car than its predecessor. Incorporating an advanced superformed aluminium body and new rear-drive based and biased four-wheel-drive platform with the engine set further back for a longer bonnet and wheelbase, the new Continental has classic proportions and detailing at once traditional in feel yet distinctly contemporary. For improved comfort and handling, it features electric motor driven adaptive anti-roll bars.

Best Large Luxury Sedan & Middle East Car of the Year runner-up: Audi A8

Other nominees: Mercedes-Benz S560, Cadillac CT6 V-Sport, Lexus LS500 S

A high tech tour de force and futuristic luxury flagship pointing at Audi’s future the A8 sets a high bar for competitors. Built using a lightweight aluminium frame, the swift, smooth and safe A8 debuts a standard 48v mild hybrid system that doesn’t interfere with the drive-line but improves efficiency. With many more optional tricks and tech up its sleeve, the A8 features the world’s most advanced AI autonomous driving system, electric motor powered suspension, four-wheel-steering, self-parking and more.

Best Midsize Executive Sedan & Middle East Car of the Year runner-up: Lincoln Continental Presidential

Other nominees: Audi A6, Mercedes-Benz E350

Alluding to Lincoln’s past glory days in US Presidential service, the modern Continental Presidential represents the American luxury maker’s finest and most decisive modern comeback. With luxury experience and passenger comfort at forefront, the extensively-equipped Presidential boasts fine leathers and materials and a spacious, serene and stylish cabin. Beyond its luxury emphasis, the Continental Presidential’s powerful twin-turbo V6 engine, tidy handling and tenacious four-wheel-drive road-holding make it an effortlessly swift and thoroughly composed and committed car to be reckoned with.

Public Car of the Year (non-jury): Renault Duster

Runners-up: Ford Mustang GT, Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

The people’s car among modern SUVs, the Duster is not the first or only affordable SUV. However, its global success on its versatility and value as a practical and popular high-riding family SUV combining just right features and functionality, just right compromise between off-road ability and on-road manners and comfort and just right compact yet spacious size. Introduced last year in its second generation, the new Duster is evolutionary, and features an improved interior and refinement, and sharper styling and steering.

Complete list of MECOTY 2019 awards

Middle East Car of the Year (jury award): Bentley Continental GT

Runner-ups: Audi A8, Lincoln Continental Presidential

Best Sub-compact Sedan: Toyota Yaris

Other nominee: Hyundai Accent

Best Compact Sedan: Kia Cerato

Other nominee: Ford Focus

Best Compact Premium Sedan: Kia Stinger

Other nominees: Infiniti Q50, Mercedes-AMG C43, Genesis G70

Best Midsize Sedan: Toyota Camry Grande Sport

Other nominees: Honda Accord 2.0T Sport, Chevrolet Malibu Sport, Mazda 6

Best Midsize Executive Sedan: Lincoln Continental Presidential

Other nominees: Audi A6, Mercedes-Benz E350

Best Midsize Executive Sedan Coupe: Mercedes-AMG GT Four-Door

Other nominee: Porsche Panamera Turbo S

Best Midsize Executive Sportback: Audi A7

Other nominee: Mercedes-Benz CLS350

Best Midsize Executive Estate: Jaguar XF Sportbrake

Other nominee: Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

Best Midsize Luxury Sedan: Lexus ES300 HE

Other nominee: Kia K900

Best Large Luxury Sedan: Audi A8

Other nominees: Mercedes-Benz S560, Cadillac CT6 V-Sport, Lexus LS500 S

Best Sub-Compact SUV: Mazda CX-3

Other nominees: Renault Duster, MG RX5, Hyundai Kona

Best Sub-Compact Premium SUV: Jaguar E-Pace

Other nominee: BMW X2

Best Compact SUV: Mazda CX-5

Other nominees: Nissan X-Trail, Hyundai Santa Fe, Borgward BX7, GMC Terrain, Toyota Rush

Best Compact Premium SUV: Cadillac XT4

Other nominees: Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Infiniti QX50, BMW X3

Best Compact Performance SUV: Mercedes-AMG GLC63

Other nominee: BMW X4

Best Midsize SUV: Volkswagen Teramont

Other nominees: Jeep Wrangler, Chevrolet Traverse LTZ, Toyota Prado

Best Midsize Premium SUV: Volkswagen Touareg

Other nominee: Volvo XC90 Excellence

Best Midsize Premium SUV Coupe: Audi Q8

Other nominee: Mercedes-AMG GLE Coupe

Best Midsize Performance SUV: Range Rover Sport SVR

Other nominees: Lamborghini Urus, Porsche Cayenne Turbo

Best Midsize Luxury SUV: Bentley Bentayga

Other nominees: Rolls Royce Cullinan, Mercedes-AMG G63

Best Large SUV: Ford Expedition

Other nominees: GMC Yukon

Best Large Premium SUV: Lincoln Navigator

Other nominees: Infiniti QX80, Cadillac Escalade

Best MPV: Honda Odyssey

Other nominees: Chrysler Pacifica

Best Premium MPV: Ford Tourneo Custom

Other nominees: Mercedes-Benz V-Class

Best Truck: Ford F150

Other nominees: Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra

Best Hatchback: Peugeot 308

Other nominees: Ford Focus, Nissan Micra

Best Premium Hatchback: Mini Cooper

Other nominee: Mercedes-Benz A250

Best Performance Hatchback: Renault Megane R.S.

Other nominee: Ford Focus ST-Line

Best Performance Coupe: Ford Mustang GT

Other nominee: Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

Best Premium Performance Coupe: Audi RS5

Other nominees: BMW M240i Coupe, Mercedes-AMG C43 4Matic Coupe

Best Premium Performance Convertible: Mercedes-AMG E55 Cabrio

Other nominee: BMW 4-Series Convertible

Best Luxury Coupe: Bentley Continental GT

Other nominees: Aston Martin DB11, Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe

Best Luxury Convertible: Aston Martin DB11 Volante

Other nominees: Ferrari Portofino, Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabrio

Best Supercar: Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster

Other nominees: Ferrari 488 Pista, Porsche 911 GT2 RS

Best electric Vehicle: Renault Zoe

Other nominee: Chevrolet Bolt

Public Car of the Year (non-jury): Renault Duster

Runners-up: Ford Mustang GT, Chevrolet Corvette ZR1