AS YOU read these words, it’s likely the MOTOR crew will be toiling away in tropical Winton, Victoria (sipping pina coladas, in beanies) as we find the best value new performance car on-sale in Australia today.
And what a field it is this year.
The past 12 months have seen an explosion of affordable metal and we’ve had to be ruthless to cull the field down to a manageable number – anything with a hint of performance pretence has been given the chop, which still leaves us with 19 hotties ready to face the Winton torture test.
Once again, we’ve split the field into two categories, $0-$50,000 and $50-$100,000, to give a more accurate representation of how each car rates against its peers, while there will also be an overall winner.
As ever, the first two cars selected for this year’s contest are our returning category champions, the Ford Fiesta ST (which also won overall) and the BMW M135i. The Ford’s incredible blend of price and pace has scored it back-to-back BFYB wins, but a recent price hike means it’ll have its works cut out to three-peat.
Especially as the performance bar has been raised higher than ever before thanks to the arrival of mega-hatches like the Audi RS3 and Mercedes-AMG A45, not to mention focused coupes like the BMW M2 Pure and Audi TT S. Then there’s the powered-up locals, including a pair of LS3-powered Holdens (a base SS ute and Redline sedan) and potent new Ford Falcon Sprint twins.
Also flying the Blue Oval flag are two Mustangs (one Ecoboost, one V8), while rounding out the rear-drive contingent (albeit at opposite ends of the spectrum) is 6.4 litres of Hemi V8 in the Chrysler 300 Core and Mazda’s 2.0-litre MX-5.
Completing the field are hot hatches from MINI (Cooper JCW), Renault (Clio Trophy RS220), Peugeot (308 GTI 250) and VW (Polo and Golf GTI). Sadly, the Focus RS won’t have arrived in time and HSV declined our invite, but it still leaves us with the most potent BFYB field ever and you can read the $0-$50K results next month with $50K-$100K appearing in our September issue.
1. FORD FIESTA ST 2. FORD MUSTANG E/BOOST 3. HOLDEN SS UTE 4. MAZDA MX-5 2.0 5. MINI COOPER JCW 6. PEUGEOT 308 GTI 250 7. RENAULT CLIO TROPHY 8. VW GOLF GTI 9. VW POLO GTI
1. AUDI RS3 2. AUDI TT S 3. BMW M135I 4. BMW M2 PURE 5. CHRYSLER 300 CORE 6. FORD MUSTANG V8 7. FORD XR6 SPRINT 8. FORD XR8 SPRINT 9. HOLDEN SS V REDLINE 10. MERCEDES-AMG A45