Sixth generation, fifth triumph: the new BMW 3 Series has won the 2012 “Golden Steering Wheel” award presented by “Auto Bild” and “Bild am Sonntag”. The latest version of the sports sedan came out top among mid-range and top-range automobiles, thereby winning this important international automobile award for the fifth time in the history of the model. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, was there to receive the coveted trophy at a festive gala in Berlin yesterday.

Third place in the “Convertibles and Coupés” category went to the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé. BMW was also awarded the “Golden Advertising Steering Wheel”. The jury voted the current BMW xDrive marketing campaign winner of this prize, which was presented to BMW AG Chief Sales Officer Ian Robertson. All in all this made BMW the most successful manufacturer in this year’s “Golden Steering Wheel” competition.

For over thirty years now, the BMW 3 Series has regularly been listed among the winners of the “Golden Steering Wheel”. In fact no other model has received the award more frequently than the BMW 3 Series, currently in its sixth generation. The success series began in 1978, with further awards following in 1991, 1994 and 1998. At the same time, the BMW 3 Series has become the world’s top-selling premium automobile. “I believe the success of the BMW 3 Series lies in the fact that it is the founder of the class of sporty mid-range sedans and perfectly epitomises the character of BMW with its dynamic performance, efficiency and aesthetic appeal,” explained Norbert Reithofer after receiving the award.

The new BMW 3 Series Sedan has been on sale worldwide since February 2012 and offers not only impressive athletic flair and efficiency as is typical of BMW but also a level of ride comfort which has been further optimised as compared to its predecessor model – as well as increased space. Sporty, elegant lines and a reinterpretation of the front view including a striking visual connection between the twin headlights and the BMW kidney grille give the BMW 3 Series an unmistakable appearance. The current model program includes five petrol and five diesel engine versions as well as the BMW ActiveHybrid 3. The intelligent all-wheel drive system xDrive is available for four models. The new BMW 3 Series Touring has now also been launched.

The “Golden Steering Wheel” is awarded each year to the most impressive new models on the automobile market. The selection procedure includes a readers’ vote and assessment by a jury consisting of racing drivers, technicians, magazine editors and celebrity testers, who this year scrutinised a total of 44 candidates. The “Golden Steering Wheel” was awarded for the 37th time this year, making it one of the most tradition-steeped and renowned automobile prizes in Europe.

The candidates for the “Golden Advertising Steering Wheel” were likewise subjected to a demanding selection procedure in 2012. In addition to a reader survey and the celebrity jury’s vote, the verdict of communication experts and well-known advertising specialists was also incorporated in the decision-making process. Both the public at large and the experts finally chose the “xDrive Mountain” campaign deployed by BMW to highlight the benefits of the electronically controlled all-wheel drive system xDrive. As Ian Robertson said at the award ceremony: “This emotional campaign enabled us to achieve a significant increase in the number of vehicles fitted with the intelligent all-wheel drive system BMW xDrive. We are very pleased to see how successful the campaign has been.”

The “xDrive Mountain” is a fictitious place where the seasons change every day and where adverse weather conditions prevail all the time. TV commercials, print advertisements, posters and online appearances were used to show how BMW models fitted with xDrive tackled the varying conditions on “xDrive Mountain” as well as providing outstanding driving pleasure.