Road And Track's 2016 Performance Car Of The Year Is...A Hybrid?

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This is the new world order. Get used to it.

Automotive awards from the media may mean less to American consumers nowadays than in the past, but they still hold weight. Even if consumers don’t care all that much about which car wins which crown you can bet your ass that manufacturers do. One of those crowns that still carries weight is Road and Track’s Performance Car of the Year award. This year nine cars were in the running, the 10th was a McLaren 570S that crashed during testing, and the winner was—drum roll please—the Acura NSX!

The NSX beat out a very qualified field which included the following cars: Audi R8 V10 Plus, BMW M4 GTS, Corvette Grand Sport, Jaguar F-Type SVR, Lotus Evora 400, Mercedes-AMG C63 S, Nissan GT-R Nismo and Porsche 911 Turbo S. The fact that the hybrid Acura took first place is kind of surprising. However, the consensus was that the eco-friendly powertrain contributed to driving enjoyment instead of detracting from it. "For the first time in a hybrid automobile of any price or capability, technology has been placed firmly in the service of emotional involvement rather than in place of it,” wrote Road and Track’s Jack Baruth. He also called the NSX a better version of the Porsche 918 Spyder.

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Surprisingly, at least to us, was the fact that the Lotus Evora finished in second place. Even more shocking is that it received two first place votes (out of 10 votes total) and was called “perhaps the finest over-the-road enthusiast vehicle available for sale at any price” by the outlet. In third place was the Corvette Grand Sport, which was one of two manuals in the running for the top spot, the Lotus being the other one. Road and Track was thoroughly impressed by the newest member of the ‘Vette family, saying that, “Not since 1984 has an automobile with the crossed-flags badge so thoroughly defied convention and stereotype.” That's some high praise right there.

If you take into account the fact that the NSX is built in Ohio that makes two American cars in the top three. Last year the Ford Mustang GT350R took home first placr. It’s looking like a pretty damn good period of time for American performance cars, folks. Lead image by Richard Pardon for Road and Track.

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