BMW 730LD IS CHAUFFEURS' FAVOURITE
The Professional Driver Car of the Year for 2011 is the BMW 730Ld – reclaiming the crown it won back in 2009.
As well as the overall Car of the Year Award, the BMW 730Ld also won the Chauffeur Car of the year category, fighting off off tough competition from the new Audi A8L, as well as from last year's Professional Driver Car of the Year, the Jaguar XJL.
A combination of passenger luxury, driveability and low running costs, plus the availability of an excellent manufacturer-backed chauffeur programme, clinched the top prize for the BMW 730Ld.
Professional Driver editor Mark Bursa, who chaired the judging for the awards, said: "The BMW 730Ld offers an exceptional mix of comfort, rear-seat luxury and driveability. Since 2009, the 7-series has been improved, with better fuel economy now above 40mpg combined. And crucially, it's part of a beefed-up manufacturer-backed chauffeur programme that makes it much more affordable for chauffeurs on a lease basis than either the Jaguar XJL or the Mercedes S-class."
Mark Bursa added: "It was a very close contest, with the new Audi A8L winning praise for its comfort and good looks, and Audi's chauffeur programme probably edges BMW's. Audi is the only manufacturer to offer a like-for-like licensed replacement car anywhere in the UK, not just in London. But this wasn't enough to take the top prize from the 7-series, which was simply the best car on the day."
With the highest total score, the BMW 730Ld finished ahead of the other three category winners to win the ultimate accolade of Professional Driver Car of the Year for 2011.
BMW's 530d Gran Turismo also won the Executive Car of the Year category for the second year running, ahead of the Jaguar XF and the new Audi A6, while the Skoda Superb made it three in a row in the Private Hire Vehicle of the Year category, fighting off a strong challenge from the Ford Mondeo once again, with the new VW Passat in third.
In the MPV of the year category, the Volkswagen Sharan edged out the Ford Galaxy in a close contest. The Galaxy won this category in 2009 and 2010. Last year's runner-up, the Mercedes-Benz Viano, finished third.
The Professional Driver Car of the Year Awards winners are selected by a panel of invited chauffeurs, private hire operators and motoring journalists. All shortlisted vehicles are evaluated thoroughly at a one-day judging event.
The Professional Driver Car of the Year Awards are sponsored by Proximo, which provides licensed replacement vehicles to the chauffeur and private hire industry.
Roll of honour
Professional Driver Car of the Year
Chauffeur Car of the Year
Executive Car of the Year
MPV of the Year
Private Hire Vehicle of the Year
More details are available from www.prodrivermags.com