The standout differences between the Corvette and the Carrera, likely the two most economically matched in this lineup, aren’t all that standout—they take a little bit of closer inspection. The awkward body language Sport Auto test driver Christian Gebhardt shows in the Chevy, particularly under braking, which suggests there’s something less than reassuring about the car. The steering movements aren’t quite as smooth or precise either; less-than-informative steering is a regular complaint with the first mid-engined Corvette. Considering the challenge of completely redesigning the car, that should get a pass.
The Porsche’s a more precise thing. Watch the steering and the way he adds tiny bit of lock to balance the car. The breakaway is more progressive and his slide through the very quick Mobil 1 kurve (5:03) is simply spectacular. Great confidence behind the wheel means Gebhardt pushes more comfortably. He also suffers less corner-exit acceleration (an issue with a few lengthy straights here) and that means a difference of 1.1 seconds, with the Porsche comfortably ahead. Even if the Corvette was quicker, I know which car I’d be more comfortable over the long haul. Concentration is key as a track day wears on.
The Audi isn’t quite in the same price range as the others. Sure, you could spec a Corvette with mink and diamonds and get the price somewhere near the Audi’s but it’s fair to say that these two aren’t exactly cut from the same cloth. Still, the Audi’s performance range and versatility makes it a well-chosen nominee for best daily-driven supercar.
Interestingly, the Audi’s a little friskier than the others. Due to an upshift with the car loaded, Gebhardt has to catch a slithering tail at roughly 110 miles an hour (6:53). Had it not been on such a long straight, the mild lift and bobble wouldn’t have made such a difference, but putting the power down cleanly here means a great deal. Again at 7:21, we see another little snap at speed. Though easily held, these nervous twitches can keep a driver from pushing quite as hard as they’d like to. At the end of this wild lap, it marks a time only 0.4 seconds faster than the bargain buy from Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Each of these beauties is remarkably quick around such a challenging track. The reasonably priced Corvette may have grunt, the Audi may have the exclusivity and the shriek, but it’s the Porsche which has the superior poise and traction. If we’re using these cars to set lap times and smoke tires at 100 miles an hour, I know which one I’d want to be in.