And so to our final, curtain-raising category preview ahead of this year’s Continental Tyres Irish Car of the Year awards which take place on 11 February. Our final category is one to get the pulses racing, as we cast an eye over the Continental Tyres Irish Performance Car of the Year shortlist, with five fab models in contention. Here we go!
First things first. Is there a more handsome car on the road than the new BMW M? The new M3 and M4 are simply gorgeous, from the big double front grille to the flared fenders and extra pillar. The powerful yet sleek silhouette gives the impression of a big cat about to pounce, an impression that’s confirmed by the incredible acceleration and precision handling. The interior is jam-packed with clever touches, while the new M posse comes with a range of powertrains. Hugely impressive.
Ford Puma ST
Ford’s first ever European performance SUV, the new Puma ST is a rip-roaring crossover/SUV that fuses the no-nonsense practical smarts of an urban SUV with the refined power of a performance car. Quite the combination! The new Puma ST packs 1.5 litres of turbocharged Ford EcoBoost engine so it’s seriously quick, not to mention lots of fun to handle. Beautifully engineered, lovely interior and great to look at – what’s not to like?
Peugeot 508 PSE
The PSE stands for Peugeot Sport Engineering and the new 508 is certainly that. A sleek, poised performance saloon, the Peugeot 508 delivers superb ride comfort and stunning cornering capabilities. Available with either petrol or hybrid powertrain, the 508 features a luxurious cabin that’s packed with technology and comfort-giving gadgetry (including massage seats!), giving Peugeot a great chance of honours in this year’s awards.
Toyota Yaris GR
Although the new Toyota Yaris GR looks tailor-made for Monte Carlo, it’s just as much fun on the roads of Ireland. This stunning little hot hatch features a 1.6 litre 3-cylinder turbo engine that makes it feel like, well, the real thing – light, powerful, and packing a serious punch. The Yaris GR is available with a whole range of set-ups, but at the heart of every one is a simply unforgettable driving experience.
Volkswagen ID.4 GTX
Billed as a GTI for the electric generation, the new VW ID.4 GTX is an all-electric, four-wheel-drive, high performance model that blends the comfort and sporty practicality of an SUV with the green credentials of the ID badge. Handling is beautifully composed, either around town or on the open road, while the battery offers excellent range wherever you’re planning on going. Seriously roomy on the inside and with a great array of tech, the new ID.4 GTX is another one to watch.
Which leads us to…
That completes our wrap-up of the 35 shortlisted models in this year’s awards. And best of all, there’s not long to wait! Stay tuned for the announcement of this year’s Continental Irish Car of the Year awards, coming very soon.