• Cayman is 2006 New Zealand Car of the Year

    New Zealand’s most respected automotive award has been won by the Porsche Cayman.

    It’s the first time a Porsche has taken the title, which is voted for by members of the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild.

    The Guild’s membership represents professional motoring journalists from all the main newspapers, car magazines, periodicals and publishing groups in New Zealand, as well as radio and television stations, and several websites.

    The very diversity of the New Zealand Car of the Year title’s voting base has helped it become an institution since its investiture in the late ’80s.

    The New Zealand Car of the Year honour has been won by sports cars before, with Honda’s S2000 being a past winner and last year’s award going to Mazda’s MX-5, which in original form also won the 1990 title. However, most recent New Zealand Cars of the Year have been family vehicles like the Mazda6, Honda Accord Euro, Ford Mondeo and Nissan Maxima. If anything the Cayman’s relative lack of affordability could have counted against it, competing as it was with vehicles priced from the low twenty thousand dollar bracket.

    Guild members assessed the Cayman – along with the other finalists – in terms of value for money, as well as the way it looks, drives and handles and fulfills the purpose for which it was designed. Each voter was able to allocate up to 100 points for each finalist, with areas like build quality, safety accoutrements and environmental issues also able to be taken into consideration when scoring.

    It appears that the Guild’s voters felt that the Cayman’s quality of engineering, its performance and the extent of the car’s driving talent transcended its price sticker, for the mid-engined flat-six coupé put even its closest competitor in the shade, winning by one of the widest margins in the NZ COTY’s history.

    The Cayman has been summed up by one New Zealand motoring journalist as being “the car to buy if you want Porsche driving fun leavened with sensible everyday values”.

    In many ways the Cayman S now probably beats off its iconic 911 sibling, and it has been said that the Cayman S is but a limited slip differential away from being as close to perfect as any sports car there is. Automotive conspiracy theorists even opine that it hasn’t got one because then it would be quicker around the Nürburgring than a Carrera – and that would never do, not when it’s priced at up to $65k less!

    To commemorate the Cayman’s taking of the New Zealand Car of the Year title, the Peter Greenslade trophy – named after the former Press motoring editor, a founding member of the guild and one of the instigators of the award – will be passed on to Porsche distributors European Motors Limited by the NZ Motoring Writers’ Guild president, Jacqui Madelin.

    At the Detroit Auto Show this week, the Cayman’s New Zealand success will also feature at Porsche’s Tuesday Cobo Centre press conference.

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