Mike Stevens | Mar 4, 2011

The World Car Of The Year Awards have come around again, and last year's winner - the Volkswagen Polo - stands ready to hand the crown over to its successor.

Other winners in 2010 were the Audi R8 V10 in the Performance category, the Volkswagen BlueMotion line-up for the Green award, and the Chevrolet Camaro for the best design.

Now, after weeks of deliberation, the top three finalists for the 2011 WCoTY awards have been announced at the Geneva Motor Show this week. They are the 2011 Audi A8, the BMW 5 Series and the all-electric Nissan Leaf.

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Finalists for World Green Car of the Year have also been announced, with the list whittled down to the Nissan Leaf again, along with the Chevrolet Volt (coming to Australia as the Holden Volt in 2012) and the BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Edition.

The remaining three World Performance Car of the Year finalists have also been announced, with the Ferrari 458 Italia, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG and the Porsche 911 Turbo battling for top enthusiast drive in 2011.

Lastly, the World Car Design of the Year finalists were confirmed at Geneva this week, a trio made up of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, the Aston Martin Rapide and the Ferrari 458 Italia.

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To be eligible for the award, the candidates must hit the market on at least two continents between January 1 and May 30, 2011, with a minimum production rate of 500 vehicles.

The contenders may also be variants of existing vehicles the meet the same criteria.

The World Performance Car of the Year must meet the same criteria, while also demonstrating a specific and over sports or performance orientation.

Voting is carried out by a panel of 66 experts and journalists from around the world, its members haling from 24 countries.

The winners of the seventh annual World Car of the Year awards will be announced at the New York Auto Show on April 21.

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