MOTOR's Performance Car of the Year is changing for 2022

This year sees PCOTY go large with a new award for more accessible cars

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It’s a perennial issue when it comes to MOTOR’s Performance Car of the Year crown. Award the trophy to something relatively accessible, such as the Honda Civic Type R in 2018, and many readers can’t countenance how a Honda can beat a Porsche. Go high, as we did last year with the stunning Mercedes-AMG GT-R Pro and others will question the victor’s relevance.

The answer, it seems, was staring us in the face all the time. Seasoned MOTOR readers will remember Bang For Your Bucks with some fondness, where more affordable cars got to face off and a real world champ would emerge.

Well that formula is back, albeit tweaked and incorporated into the PCOTY framework.

The winners of both Performance Car of the Year and Sports Car of the Year 2022 will be announced on Tuesday, March 29.

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For 2022 there are two awards: a Sports Car of the Year award, in this instance for cars priced up to $100,000, and a Performance Car of the Year award for the more expensive machinery.

Both of these awards are judged not against the cars gathered, but against the time-honoured PCOTY criteria of performance, dynamics, accessibility, liveability, value and X-factor. Last year was the fastest and most powerful PCOTY field to date. We’re not about to issue too much in the way of spoilers here, but this year’s field was something really special, for both PCOTY and SCOTY.

As much as we’ve loved Winton and its nearby high country roads, this year we took a break from the Benalla Motor Club and decamped south. Our home for the track element of the event was none other than Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, so we took a big measure of the brave pills and made sacrifices to the weather gods for benevolence.

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Just as important as the flat-out track action is the road section and for this we pulled a bit of a takeover on Wheels magazine’s turf. They’re normally pounding the roads around Korumburra in West Gippsland cow country but this year our colleagues across the aisle were bashing the bitumen over in the Brisbane Ranges, so we became temporary tenants of the Wheels test route.

The Sports Car of the Year event was contested between 10 contenders. The pre-event favourite was probably the Hyundai i20 N, but it faced tough competition from a sibling, the i30 Sedan N, the versatile Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk8, the revised Ford Focus ST and a couple of rear drive coupes in the shape of the new 2.4-litre Subaru BRZ and the Ford Mustang Mach 1. Throw in the Skoda Octavia RS, the BMW 128ti, the deranged Toyota GR Yaris Rallye and the lissom Mazda MX-5 GT RS and you have one heck of a field.

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Star billing for PCOTY goes to Porsche’s long-awaited 992 GT3, but even that couldn’t hold a candle to the amount of attention garnered by the Corvette C8 and the Lamborghini Huracán Evo Fluo Capsule. It’s a vintage year for Porsches, with the Boxster 25 Years and the Taycan Turbo S also making the start list. BMW’s monster M3 gets to cosy up with the Alpina B3 while the beautiful and charismatic Jaguar F-Type P450 rear-wheel drive rounds out the field.

Keep your eyes peeled for the winner's reveal, taking place on Tuesday March 29. And make sure you don't miss next month’s bumper-sized magazine for two epic competitions, a tall stack of amazing photography from the best in the business, some beautiful writing and heaps of data. You’ll get that depth of coverage from no other Aussie outlet. Don’t miss out!

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