'Did you vote for the BMW?' That was the refrain that seemed to be running before the big announcement - the third annual Eurovision-style countdown at Geneva's Palexpo exhibition hall.

But Peugeot did it easily with its 308, simply beating everyone else on sheer all-roundedness of their effort. It represents good progress for the company, and was well supported by jurors on mainland Europe, whereas the electric cars that excited the Brits - the second-placed BMW with 223 points and the Tesla with 216 - didn't get much support elsewhere. Still, this was solid backing for new technology, which isn't going away.

BMW's management must have been a bit nonplussed however. Their cars have been ignored for the past half century by the jury of (currently) 58 jurors from 22 countries, not least because successive Bavarian managements have tended to scorn the award and make driving eligible cars difficult for the Car of the Year's jurors' timetable.

That sort of thing never goes down well with 58 hacks considered to be among the best in Europe. But this time they had a real go.

The other four contenders were well beaten, without being shamed. but notable was the fact that the Mercedes S-class, clearly the most accomplished car of all came last with 170 points. As a colleague put it, what do they have to do?

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