Now in its second year, the 2017 Australian Motoring Awards (AMAs) was a night of glitz, glamour and record-breaking results.
More than 200 automotive industry luminaries gathered at Melbourne’s Crown Palladium for the announcement of the coveted 54th Wheels Car of the Year, as well as the WhichCar Style Award, Motor’s Performance Car of the Year and 4X4 Australia’s 4x4 of the Year.
Australian actor and comedian Shane “Dunny Man” Jacobson hosted the night, with Hollywood superstar Eric Bana making a special guest appearance at what has fast become one of the most anticipated automotive award events on the Australian calendar.
The WhichCar Style Award was the first presentation, with Belle editor Tanya Buchanan and automotive designer Paul Beranger announcing the sleek and sophisticated Audi A4 had taken the honours.
“We’re very proud of the car,” Audi Australia’s managing director, Andrew Doyle, said when accepting the award.
“What it’s achieved already since it’s been on the market, [and] what it’s giving the customers in terms of performance, efficiency, technology, design, quality and of course, style. We’re really thrilled about [the award].”
This meant back-to-back victories for Mazda (The MX-5 won the 2016 COTY) and the CX-9 was only the second SUV to win the celebrated COTY.
“The CX-9 is such a convincing blend of eye-catching design, genuine practicality and performance, all with a sprinkling of driver appeal,” Wheels acting editor Alex Inwood said.
“The CX-9 blitzes the category for interior comfort and versatility, despite being smaller (and more than 130kg lighter) than the model it replaces,” Wheels senior journalist Nathan Ponchard wrote in the COTY 2017 issue of Wheels (on sale now).
But the night isn’t all about WhichCar and Wheels, and two other awards shared the night’s spotlight with history-making announcements.
4X4 Australia’s 4x4 of the Year went to the Toyota Land Cruiser 79 Double Cab GLX, finishing a solitary point ahead of the Volkswagen Amarok V6 in what was one of the tightest battles for top spot in the award’s history.
“This is actually the first time in the history of the award that a ute has won the accolade,” said 4X4 Australia editor, Matt Raudonikis.
“Our judges were won over with the Land Cruiser’s all-round ability and go-anywhere attitude. There’s nothing that could stop this car, so it’s a worthy winner of this esteemed award.”
The Porsche 911.2 911 Turbo S won Motor’s Performance Car of the Year in what was the car maker’s 13th time accepting the prize, more than any other manufacturer.
And for the first time ever, in what was arguably the strongest PCOTY field ever, a Ferrari was one of the contenders. The Ferrari 488 GTB only narrowly missed out on top spot, trailing the Porsche by just 6.5 points.
But alas, there can only be one winner.
“I feel both humbled and honoured to be here this evening to accept what is, in fact, our 13th Performance Car of the Year award,” said Porsche Managing Director Sam Curtis.
“This year’s award is particularly gratifying for us at Porsche when you consider the calibre of finalists.”