The 2012 Sharjah Auto Show this year had some surprise exhibits this year, but interestingly, there were very few surprises at the 2012 Middle East Motor Awards. I being one of the 17 judges for the awards, there was always the possibility that my favourites would not win, but it seems many of the other judges had similar opinions to me this time around. Organised by Muhammed Ali Sajjad of the Sharjah Expo, it’s worth noting that General Motors, Audi and a few other carmakers didn’t win anything, which goes to show that this is probably the only “real” car awards in the region, compared to all those fake “everyone’s a winner” awards held by local car magazines.
Best Small Sedan:
The Kia Rio Sedan beat out the expensive Honda Civic and the awkward Chevrolet Sonic for a well-deserved win.
Best Midsize Sedan:
The Volkswagen Passat beat out the Toyota Camry and the Peugeot 508, both good contenders, but ultimately, neither can beat the German-American for sheer space.
Best Executive Sedan:
The Lexus GS 350 beat out the great new BMW 3-Series and the flawed Jaguar XF, and the Japanese marque completely deserved it, especially for its F-Sport model.
Best Performance Sedan:
The BMW M5 beat out the Jaguar XF-R and the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, even with its ridiculous price.
The Honda CR-V won this segment easily, since the other two players, the Nissan Juke and the Mini Countryman, both put style over practicality.
Best Midsize SUV:
The Ford Explorer wins against the only other nomination in this category, the Honda Pilot, which was pretty much expected given how popular the revamped American is.
Best Premium Midsize SUV:
The Range Rover Evoque beat out the Mercedes-Benz GLK and the Audi Q3, so it’s basically the best in a trio of floozies.
Best Premium Large SUV:
The Mercedes-Benz ML-Class beat out the Lexus LX570, as the latter starts to show its age.
Best Performance SUV:
The Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG beat out the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, although this would’ve been a close one in our minds.
Best Sports Coupe:
The Toyota 86 beat out the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, both similar cars on paper but it really is hard to compare the two.
Best Premium Sports Coupe:
The Porsche 911 Carrera beat out the Bentley Continental GT V8 and the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe, three very different cars that sort of fall in the same segment.
Best Sports Convertible:
The Porsche Boxster takes the title against the BMW 6-Series Convertible and the Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class with an easy win.
Best Premium Sports Convertible:
The Porsche 911 Carrera Cabrio wins against the Ferrari 458 Spider and the Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster, largely because hardly any of the judges drove the other two.
Premium Luxury Coupe:
The Bentley Continental GT V8 gets more points over the Rolls Royce Phantom Coupe Series II and the Ferrari FF, and it’s our favourite too.
The Hyundai Veloster won against the Ford Focus and the Toyota Yaris, based on style alone.
Best Premium Hatchback:
The Volkswagen Scirocco R takes a well-deserved win against the overpriced Mini Cooper Coupe S
The McLaren MP4-12C took down the double-threat of the Ferrari 458 Spider and the Ferrari FF, and we approve, since we didn’t even vote for the other two.
Middle East Car of the Year
The McLaren MP4-12C took the win, as it had the most points out of all the category winners.
Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General of Expo Centre Sharjah, handed over the awards to the winning car manufacturers in the presence of H.E. Sheikh Marwan Bin Rashid Al Mualla, Chairman of the Emirates Motor Sports Federation.
Event photos by Faisal Khatib.