The Car of the Year shortlist has been announced. It's a piece of news I would normally register with a sigh, before returning to more important work.

This year, though, it matters more to me than usual because I’ve been appointed as one of the competition’s 58 judges. This august institution currently considers the Peugeot 308 to be at the industry’s apogee and it has never anointed a BMW.

The shortlisting works as follows: all of the new cars that went on sale in at least five European markets during 2014 and that are likely to sell in volumes of more than 5000 a year automatically make the longlist.

Each judge nominates their preferred seven from those, and the most-nominated models make the shortlist.

This year they’re the BMW 2-Series Active Tourer, Citroën C4 Cactus, Ford Mondeo, Mercedes-Benz C-class, Nissan Qashqai, Renault Twingo and Volkswagen Passat. I put three of those on my list.

From these seven cars the winner will be chosen, but a rather more complicated scoring system exists hereon. Each judge is allocated 25 points to distribute, largely as they choose, with a 10-point maximum allowed on any one car.