The VW Group has dominated the 2016 What Car? Car of the Year Awards, winning eight of 19 ‘best buy’ categories, including the biggest trophy of the night - the overall Car of the Year Award, won by the all-new Audi A4.
The What Car? Awards, now in their 39th year, hail the very best cars on sale in Britain, with the title’s team of expert testers assessing all cars to ascertain which are the finest money can buy.
A raft of 16 core test criteria, each with numerous layers of detailed investigations, include back-to-back testing on all types of road and at What Car?’s test facilities, a rigorous analysis of all ownership costs from purchase payments through to tax implications, mystery shopping to get the best prices and independent True MPG testing to find out which cars are the most economical in the real world.
None of the award-winning cars are affected by dual NOx and CO2 emissions scandals, because all of them are powered by the latest generation of petrol, diesel and hybrid engines, which have been recertified in recent months.
Jim Holder, editorial director of What Car?, said: "When we began the judging process, the VW emissions scandal was in full swing.
"However, our guiding principle is to recommend the best cars on sale today. We have tested all cars with our unrivalled rigour and scrutiny on a level playing field with all of their rivals.
"Regardless of the scandal, the VW Group still builds cars that rank among the very best on the road and, tested against our criteria covering all of the rational reasons that consumers choose one car over another, the results are clear to see."
Brands from the VW Group have always been strong contenders in the What Car? Awards – the VW Golf has won the overall COTY award four times since its inception in 1978, more than any other model, while VW as a brand is the most successful in the history of the main prize, with six wins to its name.
Meanwhile, Audi is the only car manufacturer to win the What Car? Car of the Year award more than once in the last 10 years – the A1, A3 and now the A4 have all scooped the main prize.
Dominique Boesch, Audi’s Head of Sales for Europe, said: "We at Audi feel enormously privileged to be recognised so conclusively with the coveted overall Car of the Year award, the strongest possible vote of confidence from What Car?.
"For the A4 to receive such an award is enormously meaningful for us and is a recognition of the advanced engineering and design that the A4 epitomises, which make it such a popular choice for UK drivers.
"We could not have hoped for a better result for a car that incorporates all the ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ genes that our customers will shortly experience in many more new models in our range."
The full results from the What Car? Awards, including all cars that received recommendations, can be found here.
"All VW Group brands face a huge journey in rebuilding public confidence in their products," concluded Jim. "We acknowledge that and accept that some car buyers will simply look to our runner-up recommendations as a result. Car buyers will always have varying priorities, and we will always be there to help make their journey as easy and fruitful as possible.
"The VW Group has long led the way in R&D spend and, at What Car?, we believe that the result of that investment is the number of class-leading products they are now selling and which we celebrated tonight at the What Car? Awards."