Female nudity in association with the magazine has polarised readers. The magazine took an online poll at the end of 2008, the results of which found that more than 80% of readers wanted to keep the cover girl.
Less common are new car road tests. Recent examples have included the Mazda RX-8, Mini Cooper John Cooper Works (JCW), and BMW 135i.
This is not to say that NZ Performance Car solely focuses on power, but power figures are part of a more holistic approach considered when modifying a car.
The extent that a car is required to be modified has steadily increased since the first issues. While 300 hp was considered to be a huge amount of power when the magazine started, 300 kW may not even secure a spot as a feature car, unless the rest of the car is outstanding or unusual.
The magazine's focus has evolved from initially covering all high performance cars, including Australian V8s, to Japanese import cars, and more recently import car culture and associated activities (BMX, FMX, interviews with local and international musicians, etc.).
Issue 1 of the magazine was bundled free with NZ Classic Car issue 66 (June 1996), and featured a Series 4 Mazda RX-7 on the cover.
As Parkside Media's second title, it has eclipsed the success of NZ Classic Car. NZ Performance Car has evolved with the times, promoting the import drag racing scene, building the drifting scene and supporting modified car events such as Auto Salon and dB Drag Racing.
NZ Performance Car is a monthly automobile magazine and website, and is the biggest selling automotive and men's lifestyle magazine in New Zealand.