Performance car performers

18:07, Oct 22 2012
The Toyota 86 will in New Zealand in August.
The Toyota 86 will in New Zealand in August.
The Toyota 86 will in New Zealand in August.
Inside a Toyota 86.
The Toyota 86 will in New Zealand in August.
The Toyota 86 will in New Zealand in August.
The Toyota 86 in TRD form.
The Toyota 86 in TRD form.
The Toyota 86 in TRD form.
The Toyota 86 in TRD form.
The Toyota 86 sports car in GT form.
The Toyota 86 sports car in GT form.
The Toyota 86 sports car.
The Toyota 86 sports car.
The Toyota 86 sports car.
The Toyota 86 sports car.
Inside the Toyota 86.
Inside the Toyota 86.
Toyota GT86.
Toyota 86 Badge: Graphic says it all.
Toyota GT86.
Tight in the rear: Unless you're a laptop or briefcase.
Toyota GT86.
Cabin environment: Plastics, bad. Alcantara upholstery and driving position, good.
Toyota GT86.
Winged blunder: The car looks so much better without its plastic add-ons.
Toyota GT86.
Dress-up kit: You can order a full set of aerodynamic aids. We wouldn't.
Toyota GT86.
Driving position: Perfect place from which to conduct a car, and well upholstered too.

It was another sizzling year on the performance-car category of the AMI Insurance NZ Autocar Car of the Year - across a range of price points.

Honda surprised early on with its fun hybrid (yes, truly), the CR-Z, a little dart of a thing.

But Toyota kind of trumped everyone with its much hyped 86. The most exciting thing from Toyota in recent memory, the front-engined, rear-drive sportster redefined inexpensive sporting fun.

Also small and strictly twoseat only, Mini's kart-like Coupé scalded.

Heading upscale a little, BMW added a hot 2.0-litre turbo variant to the 1 Series lineup for Golf GTI money, and also debuted the tech-fest that is the new M5. It quickly became the fastest rear-drive car we'd ever tested, posting a 4.3-second 0-100 kmh run, only to be upstaged by the new 911 Carrera, which quite literally has us stunned – and then the much cheaper new Boxster proved equally impressive, if not better.

Also updated for 2012 were the Mercedes C63 AMG, Renault Mégane RS265 and a new SLK55 AMG from Mercedes.

Though we haven't yet driven it, the Focus ST will just make the cut-off date, and our breath is bated.

* Autocar and Stuff motoring readers also have a chance to choose their best vehicle and win a $500 Z card at the same time. Simply Click here to enter and you could win enough fuel to keep you motoring through summer.

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The Porsche 911.
PERFORMANCE: The Porsche 911.

NZ Autocar