Autocar Awards 2006 - the winners
15 November 2006

Every year the Autocar Awards celebrate the biggest success stories of the past 12 months – and those who made them happen.

This year's awards ceremony took place at the spectacular Mercedes-Benz World at Brooklands on Tuesday night.

Highlight of the event was a speech by controversial BMW design director Chris Bangle, who discussed the thoughts behind both his current designs and the cars of tomorrow.

The evening started with Ford of Britain chairman Roelant de Waard collecting the Car of the Year award for the S-Max from Autocar editor-in-chief Steve Cropley.

"This is the first MPV where you can imagine the owner has a sex life," said de Waard, candidly. We have to agree, although it's probably having a sex life that leads to many owners having to buy an MPV in the first place…

Watch the video of the presentation here.

There were eight other awards, starting with the award for car ad of the year – as voted for by you, the readers of

Car advert of the year – Honda Impossible DreamThis brilliant two-minute film – from ad agency Wieden & Kennedy – symbolically recounts the life story of Soichiro Honda's life to the strains of '70s crooner Andy Williams.

Concept car of the year - Saab Aero XThe Aero X elegantly takes familiar Saab cues and shows how they can be incorporated into modern design.

Safety and technology award - Volvo Blind Spot Information SystemThis clever system uses cameras in the door mirrors to warn you of vehicles in your blind spot. It really works, is affordable and will no doubt soon become commonplace.

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Car company of the year – AudiAudi (and now VW) boss Martin Winterkorn came to collect this gong, which celebrated Audi's growth from small firm to world-beater with an ever-increasing range of ever-more-impressive cars.

Idea of the year – Kia's seven-year warrantyKia's badge might not excite buyers, but budget pricing mixed with good quality and now an unbeatable warranty certainly should.

Special achievement award – Sir Anthony BamfordJCB boss Bamford was the man behind this year's brilliant diesel world land speed record car, the JCB Dieselmax. Driver Wing Commander Andy Green, who drove the Dieselmax to its 350.029mph record, collected the award on his behalf.

Design of the year – Fiat PuntoTwo years ago Fiat was in trouble. Now its on its way to recovery, and the brilliant Punto – and its brilliant design – have played a massive part in this recovery.

Outstanding achievement award – Martin SmithSmith sprung to prominence as designer of the 1980 Audi Quattro, and he's been playing a massive part in car design ever since. He led Audi into the 1990s, before joining Vauxhall/Opel, where he was behind the teams that created the Astra, Meriva, Zafira and Corsa. Smith is now at Ford, where he has been the force behind Ford's new 'Kinetic deisgn' – as seen on the S-Max.

Motorsport award – GP2With super-close racing and crazy overtaking, GP2 is exactly what motorsport should be about.

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