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Sports & Performance Cars of the Year

A Brook 220204 PCOTY SCOTY 2022 Subaru BRZ Porsche 911 GT 3 7

On the face of it there isn’t much to link the Porsche 911 GT3 and Subaru BRZ. Price, power, speed – on all accounts the two are vastly different.

However, look a little deeper and some similarities begin to appear.

The Porsche is the ultimate evolution of the brand’s ultimate sports car. Honed and refined with decades of development.

Over at Subaru, the BRZ hasn’t had the same lengthy time to grow into its bones, but this second-generation model has focused on, you guessed it, evolution instead of revolution.

The changes have been incremental, considered, and measured. Resulting a car that improves in all the areas the previous generation fell short.

A Brook 220204 PCOTY SCOTY 2022 Subaru BRZ Porsche 911 GT 3 24

As the winners of our Performance Car of the Year and Sports Car of the Year awards for 2022, both tell an interesting story about the state of modern performance cars.

The landscape within which modern performance cars must perform has changed dramatically since PCOTY first launched in 1996 (won by the Porsche 993 Turbo, no less). Modern performance cars need to justify their existence in a boardroom long before they ever make it to the showroom. When they finally make it on sale, they face more competition than ever before, and customers who demand they be able to perform better than at any other point in history

While sitting at opposite ends of the price spectrum, both of our winners are unashamedly focused on appeasing enthusiasts. They don’t feign any dual-purpose, instead achieving with grace a singular goal of being the best drivers’ cars in their respective price brackets.

A Brook 220203 PCOTY SCOTY 2022 Porsche 911 GT 3 8

At the top end of town you get a car capable of driving to a race track, lapping all day nearing production car lap record pace, and then tootling home without issue. The GT3 is more focused and poised than ever, but simultaneously advancements in damper technology and engineering know-how have made it more poised on the road and surprisingly liveable.

Our Sports Car of the Year winner proves that you don’t need six figures to get that same experience. Supercar owners would do well to add a BRZ to their garage, as a reminder of what a purist driving experience is really like. Thrills minus the prohibitive price tag.

Neither of our winners even have turbochargers, a remarkable feat in the modern era of emission constraints. But they are all the better for it, both revving with vigour and exhaling authentic sounds.

A Brook 220203 PCOTY SCOTY 2022 Subaru BRZ 2

Both cars also move with less power compared to rivals. The GT3 fights against machinery with 400-500kW, sometimes more, but can still run rings around the opposition by deploying what it has more effectively. Such is its power-down ability that the track-ready 911 feels like it has a 100kW more than the spec sheet suggests.

The BRZ too, while increasing in power this generation, is outgunned by modern front-drive hatches. Yet it thrills not with outright speed, but balance and feedback. Communicating with the driver they forge a greater connection between man and machine.

We haven’t had a hybrid win Performance Car of the Year before, and 2022 marked the first time a full EV had ever contested Australia’s ultimate performance car award.

A Brook 220204 PCOTY SCOTY 2022 Subaru BRZ Porsche 911 GT 3 9

But the inevitable progress of the automotive world means that electrified drivetrains will claim top honours in time, if only because they will be the lone cars eligible.

Do not mourn the end of solus internal combustion performance cars. Rejoice in the fact they are better than ever. And find consolation in the way both Subaru and Porsche have evolved their products into a more fulfilling whole – mindset that will carry over into our electrically assisted future.

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29 MAR 2022         Cameron KIRBY