It's often said that Porsche horsepower is a little more potent than other marques' horsepower. Perhaps having the motor so close to the driven wheels minimizes drivetrain losses, or maybe there's simply a bit of magic at work between the broad haunches of a Porsche. In any event, it's not unusual to see a fairly standard 911 hanging with cars which should be out of its league. Such is the case with the 991 C4S.
In terms of price and power, the Porsche is totally outclassed. The 450 horsepower its 3.0-liter flat-six is nothing to sniff at, but when in the company of an Audi R8 Performance, a Nismo GT-R, and a BMW M850i—with 620 horsepower, 600 horsepower, and 520 horsepower, respectively—it seems it'd be hopeless in a drag race. All four cars drive every one of their wheels, and all enjoy the rapid gearshifts offered by modern, paddle-shifted automatics. By minimizing the number of variables present, this test promises to be an intriguing demonstration of power and traction.
Interspersed between boyish enthusiasm and Muttley-esque snickering, we see some moments of brilliance from the underdog. The Porsche is easily the lightest car in the bunch at just a tick over 3,200 pounds. Compared to the others, it's a featherweight; nearly 1,300 pounds lighter than the portly BMW. The Porsche's light weight, coupled with its stellar traction, makes it the quickest off the line, only to be reigned in by the heavier, punchier cars towards the end of the quarter-mile drag.
The GT-R, which sports another 150 horsepower but weights ~700 pounds more, just pips it before the line by a mere tenth of a second. Considering the Porsche costs a little more than half as the Audi and Nissan which just outgunned it, it wasn't too bad a loss.
The results of the rolling race were too predictable, with the more powerful machinery streaking away, but if there's a consolation prize, the Porsche is the quickest to stop. Give them a race track with corners, and the results might further favor the 911. In terms of real world performance, the Porsche can hang with, and occasionally outperform the supercars. Not too shabby.