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Performance Car of the Year 2020 preview

By Chris Thompson, 23 Oct 2019 Performance COTY

Performance Car of the Year 2020 preview feature

The foremost fast car gong is set to be awarded soon, here’s what you need to know

Testing for Performance Car of the Year 2020 has already been carried out by the team here at MOTOR, but we won’t know which car takes home the trophy until we put all the numbers and judges scores together.

In the meantime, here’s a look at what you need to know before the announcement is made in early 2020.

The cars of PCOTY 2020

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Q

Italian do-it-all machine aims to get the kids to school quickly. But can it hold its own against proper ‘cars’? And no, this isn’t the first time we’ve had an SUV at PCOTY…

Engine: 2981cc V6, DOHC, 24v, twin-turbo
Power: 375kW @ 6500rpm
Torque: 600Nm @ 2500-5000rpm
Drive: AWD
Weight: 1830kg
0-100km/h: 3.8sec (claimed)
Price: $149,900 

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Clayton’s converted beast from the States. Is its supercharged V8 enough to overpower the competition, or just its rear tyres?

Engine: 6162cc V8, OHV, 16v, supercharged
Power: 477kW @ 6400rpm
Torque: 881Nm @ 3600rpm
Drive: RWD
Weight: 1807kg
0-100km/h: 4.3sec (tested in 08/2019 issue)
Price: $163,100 

Genesis G70 3.3T

Hyundai’s (uh, we mean Genesis’) 3 Series rival is plush, but is it actually a performance car? Hopefully its Stinger GT underpinnings help it out.

Engine: 3342cc twin-turbo V6, DOHC, 24v
Power: 272kW @ 6000rpm
Torque: 510Nm @ 1300-4500rpm
Drive: RWD
Weight: 1762kg
0-100km/h: 4.92sec (tested in 08/2019 issue)
Price: $79,950

Lexus RC F Track Edition

Lexus takes its V8 coupe back to basics with more carbon, less weight, and a mechanical diff. Is old school still cool enough for PCOTY?

Engine: 4969cc V8, DOHC, 32v
Power: 351kW @ 7100rpm
Torque: 530Nm @ 4800-5600rpm
Drive: RWD
Weight: 1715kg
0-100km/h: 4.3sec (claimed)
Price: $165,690

Lotus Exige Sport 410

Speaking of old school! The Exige helps its driver as little as possible, and that makes for an engaging drive, but does this track special have the skills to pull off a PCOTY podium… or a win?

Engine: 3456cc V6, DOHC, 24v, supercharged
Power: 306kW @ 7000rpm
Torque: 420Nm @ 3000-7000rpm
Drive: RWD
Weight: 1108kg
0-100km/h: 3.72sec (tested in 10/2019 issue)
Price: $159,990

Mercedes-AMG A35

The cheapest AMG model is also the cheapest car at PCOTY. But this ain’t Bang For Your Bucks, so the A35 will have to be impressive to top the likes of its stablemate…

Engine: 1991cc inline-4cyl, DOHC, 16v, turbo
Power: 225kW @ 5800rpm
Torque: 400Nm @ 3000-4000rpm
Drive: AWD
Weight: 1480kg
0-100km/h: 4.7sec (claimed)
Price: $67,200

Mercedes-AMG GT63 S

…and the A35’s stablemate is an absolute beast on paper. It’s also the fastest four-door car MOTOR has ever tested (which we discovered in our August 2019 test). Can two tonnes make it to the top rungs of the PCOTY ladder?

Engine: 3982cc V8, DOHC, 32v, twin-turbo 
Power: 470kW @ 5500-6500rpm 
Torque: 900Nm @ 2500-4500rpm
Drive: AWD
Weight: 2045kg 
0-100km/h: 3.16sec (tested in 08/2019 issue)
Price: $349,900

Porsche 911 Carrera S

Porsche’s consistency when it comes to building some of the best sports cars in the world has nabbed it plenty of PCOTY titles, but it needs to work hard to keep on top of the game. Does the 992 Carrera S fill the brief?

Engine: 2981cc flat-6cyl, DOHC, 24v, twin-turbo
Power: 331kW @ 6500rpm
Torque: 530Nm @ 2300-5000rpm
Drive: RWD
Weight: 1515kg 
0-100km/h: 3.5sec (claimed)
Price: $265,000

Renault Mégane RS Trophy-R

We discovered just how much the Trophy-R costs while we were out in the field (literally) during our PCOTY testing. It’s a pricey track-stripped hatchback, but it’s also rather capable as proven by its Nürburgring record. Is it in with a PCOTY chance?

Engine: 1798cc inline-4, DOHC, 16v, turbo 
Power: 220kW @ 6000rpm
Torque: 400Nm @ 3200rpm
Drive: FWD
Weight: 1306kg
0-100km/h: 5.4sec (claimed)
Price: $74,990

Toyota GR Supra GTS

Toyota’s BMW-powered sports car revives a legendary name (we can likely thank FnF for that) and has divided fans, but our first drive in Oz showed us it’s a good thing. But in the fight to be the best performance car, it’s up against strong competition.

Engine: 2998cc inline-6cyl, DOHC, 24v, turbo 
Power: 250kW @ 5000-6500rpm
Torque: 500Nm @ 1600-4500rpm
Drive: RWD
Weight: 1495kg
0-100km/h: 4.3sec (claimed)
Price: $94,900

The Judges

Dylan Campbell

MOTOR Magazine’s fearless leader likes to be kept at a temperature above 30 degrees Celsius, so the sunshine during PCOTY testing was a nice change for him. Creatively logical, possibly a lizard-person, says he’s quit coffee in favour of tea.

Scott Newman

Our Dep. Ed.’s Instagram handle is @addictedtosliding. ‘Nuf said. Has a dog named after a breakfast food, bursts into song occasionally, loves a cola or choccy milk (which doesn’t seem a good mix when drifting).

Louis Cordony

MOTOR’s staff journalist liked judging PCOTY 2019 so much he came back for another go. Unnecessarily fashionable, owns a cart, can put away enough food for three, keen on kombucha and weird green smoothies.

David Morley

Morley’s one of the most respected and experienced motoring journos in Australia, and can cut a confident statement down with a single deadpan quip. Lives and breathes all cars new and old, mechanically handy, probably drinks engine oil and/or WD-40.

Tim Robson

Former MOTOR boss man Robbo has come back to the judging panel after being a spectator last year. Dips his toe into anything motorsport-related whenever possible, drinks about 17 long blacks per day.

The Driver

PCOTY 2020 has a slightly different format in terms of judging this year – the driver we’ve used for our lap times isn’t on the panel. He is, however, our ticket to getting reliable lap times from each car.

Michael Almond is our man this year, based in Adelaide and currently competing in the Australian Porsche Carrera Cup, Almond has several podiums and a win under his belt alongside his achievements in the series over the past few years.

Having been involved in a variety of other categories from TCR to the Production Car series, and a few tilts at GT and enduro racing, Almond’s consistency behind the wheel is exactly what we need to draw proper lap times from each PCOTY contender.

The Location

The Bend Motorsport Park was so good for PCOTY 2019 we decided to go back. It also means we’ve got the Adelaide Hills and the Barossa Valley on our doorstep for access to some of the best driving roads in Australia.

Lap times and performance testing happens before judges are free to use the track to get all their more extreme driving out of the way before the 10 cars are convoyed out to a nice section of twisty road to see what each contender is like in the real world.

Which car do you reckon deserves the PCOTY 2020 gong? Let us know in the comments below!