The annual award, one of the most prestigious in the automotive world is voted for by the continent's top motoring journalists and the ultimate winner will be revealed as part of the Geneva Motor Show on March 5.
One-of-a-kind BMW i8 Concours d'Elegance Edition. Photo:AFP
The initial longlist of 32 cars new to European shores this year was announced on Tuesday and it will be cut down to size in December when a shortlist of 15 finalists will be named.
And for the moment at least, there's very good news for BMW as it is the only manufacturer to get five cars on the list -- the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, the BMW 2 Series Coupe, the BMW i8, the BMW X1 and the Mini Cooper.
The German car company has never won the award but after 51 years of often coming a close second or third, 2015 could be its year.
For now, in terms of numbers, its closest rival is Mercedes. It has managed four mentions including for the new super luxury, superfast S-Class Coupe, and while Porsche has also made the long list with the Macan it will be a controversial awards ceremony if either of those cars is named the year's winner.
That's because as well as economy, safety, enjoyment, innovation and excitement, cars are also judged in terms of affordability or value for money. Hence Rolls Royce, Bentley, Ferrari or Lamborghini have never won. That said, Porsche did scoop the title back in 1978 with the Porsche 928, but that was a long time ago.
The 2014 winner was the Peugeot 308 and 2013's winner, the equally sensible Volkswagen Golf, went on to win the ultimate world car of the year award announced at that year's New York International Auto Show.
The full list of nominations for the 2015 European Car of the Year:
BMW 2 Series Active Tourer
BMW 2 Series Coupe
Citroen C4 Cactus
Mercedes S-Class Coupe
Subaru WRX STI