The countdown is on. MOTOR's February 2016 issue hits newsstands on Thursday, January 7 with a massive 50-page feature on Performance Car of the Year 2015.
POLL NOW CLOSED. Stay tuned for the results!
What's in the running? Glad you asked. Find below our 11 contenders with a brief blurb on why it made the cut. Below that you'll find a poll where you can vote for the car you think will take the title. Or just vote for your favourite!
Who takes the title? Find out on January 7.
We’ll kick off proceedings with our cheapest and least powerful contender, Mazda’s new ND MX-5. But don’t write off the diminutive roadster on the basis of its lack of on-paper punch. This is one of the most enjoyable drivers’ cars of 2015, and all at accessible speeds.
Lexus RC F
From 2015’s lightest entrant to its heaviest. The Lexus RC F’s 1860kg weighbridge ticket raised a few eyebrows upon its release, but to be fair it never feels the best part of two tonnes, largely thanks to its clever chassis and snarling 351kW/530Nm 5.0-litre atmo V8.
Holden VF II Commodore SS V Redline
Also packing a snarling atmo V8 is the new Holden VF II Commodore. Originally this was a 10-car test, however Holden managed to get us a VF II weeks ahead of the official launch and put it in the running for PCOTY 2015. With 6.2 litres of LS3 under the bonnet, it’s the hottest Holden ever, but is it hot enough?
Ford Falcon XR8
Also in the running is its fellow Australian foe, the FG X Falcon XR8. Its underpinnings may be getting on a bit, but you can’t argue with nigh-on 400kW of supercharged V8 (yes, we know it’s rated at ‘335kW’, but c’mon) in a big four-door sedan for a shade over $50K. Can it stand up to the latest and greatest, though?
Mercedes-AMG GT S
And when we’re talking latest and greatest, AMG’s new sports car certainly fits the bill. Built to tackle the best Porsche can throw at it, the AMG GT S packs 375kW/650Nm of 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 into a low-slung, agile coupe that is faster than the old SLS gullwing for about two-thirds the price. One of the favourites.
Porsche 911 GT3
The best Porsche can throw at it, however, is very good indeed. It’s bigger, heavier and packed with more technology than ever before, but Porsche’s latest road-racer offers astounding performance on road and track. Stuttgart’s sports cars have an enviable record at PCOTY, but is the GT3 too focused for its own good?
Renault Sport Megane RS275 Trophy-R
Speaking of focused, cars don’t come much more built-for-purpose than the brilliant RS275 Trophy-R. With no rear seats, air-con or radio, as well as super-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, this lightweight Renault rewrites what is possible from a hot hatch – best front-wheel drive car ever?
Peugeot 208 GTi 30th Anniversary
The other French front-driver in the field is the feisty Peugeot 208 GTi 30th Anniversary. The standard car is a bit soft, but this special edition rights all the standard car’s wrongs and adds a healthy dollop of attitude for good measure. Will punch above its weight, but how far?
Jaguar F-Type Coupe R AWD
Yes, a Jaguar F-Type R appeared at last year’s PCOTY; no, we haven’t accidentally brought an identical car. It might look outwardly similar to the car that finished third in 2014, but under the skin this is a very different beast, with new steering and, crucially, all-wheel drive putting those 404kW/680Nm to even better use.
Mercedes-AMG C63 S
The previous-generation C63 was one of our all-time favourite cars, but this new version is even better. The new turbocharged engine – shared with the AMG GT S – is sublime, there’s more grip and precision but without losing any of its penchant for hooliganism. Can it scores AMG’s first PCOTY win?
And now we’re making history. BMW’s i8 is the first hybrid in PCOTY history. Funnily enough, the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius has failed to make the shortlist in previous years. The sleek and stylish i8 is a very different proposition and represents a very different take on the supercar theme. Has the future arrived?
POLL NOW CLOSED. Stay tuned for the results!
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