Within a week or two, 58 motoring journalists in 22 countries around Europe will decide which of seven finalist cars, from an eligible crop of 30-odd, most deserves to be Europe’s Car of the Year (COTY) for 2014.

This year’s runners, already nominated from a preliminary vote, are the BMW i3, Citroën C4 Picasso, Mazda 3, Mercedes S-class, Peugeot 308, Skoda Octavia and Tesla Model S.

Six of the jurors in this 50-year-old competition are British-based (I’m one) and every year with the help of cooperative motor manufacturers we get the final seven together at Silverstone to drive them on tough surrounding roads, and punt them on the circuit to investigate quirks at the limit of grip.