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Opinion: 2019 Performance Car of the Year winner explained

By Chris Thompson, 01 Feb 2019 Features

Opinion 2019 Performance Car of the Year winner explained feature

Think the winner is too expensive to win PCOTY? Here’s why you’re wrong

This again?

About 12 months ago, when the Honda Civic Type R was revealed as Performance Car of the Year, MOTOR’s corner of the internet (and our email inbox) exploded into a text-based tussle.

‘It’s too cheap/slow/ugly,’ and ‘how is this better than a Porsche/GT-R/E63?’ were common themes of ‘discussion’. But MOTOR stands by its decision. The Civic met our PCOTY criteria more closely than the other cars present.

So imagine our lack of surprise when, within minutes of our PCOTY 2019 announcement hit the digital airwaves, cries of ‘it’s too expensive’ and ‘how are we supposed to afford one of these?’ broke out.

MOTOR opinion: Give the Civic Type R a chance

Yes, the 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS is incredibly expensive. The minimum you’d be paying before on-roads for the modern Widowmaker is a not-insignificant $645,000. The specific GT2 RS we took to PCOTY was worth $729,930 on-road.

A $730K road car is insane to us as mere mortals, but so is its performance capability. The PCOTY issue (Feb) of MOTOR is yet to hit shelves, so here are some facts to help make this easier to swallow.

In every performance metric, the Porsche came out on top. This should be no surprise.

We tested lap times at The Bend Motorsport Park, 0-100km/h times, quarter-miles, brake testing, and acceleration from 80-120km/h. The Porker blitzed them all.

In fact, it was more than half a second faster to 400m than the next-closest contender, and its trap speed was 14km/h faster.

The PCOTY formula also takes into account the car’s price, yes, but it’s a small part of the equation and something as fast as the GT2 RS can outrun its own showroom sticker in the PCOTY process. Keep in mind Bang For Your Bucks is our annual value-based award.

It’s happened in the past too, similarly outrageously expensive vehicles have won the PCOTY title due to their sheer ability, though in the past that ability has been against a lower bar.

In 2002, the Porsche GT2 we took to PCOTY was able to hit 100km/h in 4.14 seconds. It was the fastest car present that year, but this year it would have been bang-on middle-of-the-pack for that metric.

Back then the GT2 wore a $399,000 sticker price, before options and on-roads. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) says that’s a smidge more than $588K in 2018 dollars.

Given a modern GT2 RS can be had for $645K before on-roads, that’s not a massive leap.

Similarly, the Lamborghini Gallardo that took out the top spot in 2004 ran a 5.55sec 0-100km/h, slower than a VF II Commodore SS-V Redline. It cost $399,346 back then, which the RBA puts at $559,974 in 2018 money.

Former MOTOR Ed Michael Taylor wrote in that same issue (in his editorial, page 7 if you’ve got the issue stored somewhere):

“We always cop stick about this time of the year. The award should have gone to something everybody could afford, like a Kia Rio; there are better cars out there than that; you blokes have got to be kidding, I’m not going to waste my money on your rubbishy rag any more.

“What most of these letters actually mean is, some people think we’re belittling them or invalidating their purchase by not picking the car they’ve bought. Not so.

“Everybody’s entitled to an opinion, but the only opinions that are based on fact and hard, grafting, expert and applied testing are those of the seven [that year – five this year] judges who’ve made the controversial calls.”

And that’s the thing. If DC, Scott, Morley, Louis, and one Rick Kelly hadn’t driven the cars for a week back to back with notepads in their pockets, there might be room to complain. But they did, so there’s not.

If you have the means to wrangle five experts and spend a week in the Adelaide Hills and at The Bend with a couple of million dollars-worth of cars, go for it. Then we can discuss the winner of PCOTY 2019.

Otherwise, as MT put it more than 14 years ago:

“You’re entitled to know the best performance car out there. That’s what we’ve given you.”

Keep an eye out for the February 2019 issue of MOTOR Magazine, on sale Feb 7.