You have to hand it to CAR magazine. Few gather such motley groups such as these and find a common thread through them all. Not many put a Lamborghini Huracan on the same stage as a Renault Megane. Because the cars featured here are both the spiffiest versions of the mentioned models, they find similarities which help them stand out as formidable members of their annual Sports Car Giant Test.
When you stage a Lamborghini Huracan Evo, a Toyota Supra GR, a Renault Megane R.S. Trophy-R, and a McLaren 600LT Spyder against one another, any remaining entrant must be well-bred. Interestingly, CAR decided to take two different Porsches along for their annual trip to Northern Wales for this heralded trip. Many eagerly await this yearly comparison of focused machines from different backgrounds, so seeing as Porsche is the only marque to have two models fielded here, you might suspect they and their readers have some preference for Stuttgart products.
Proving Power Unimportant
While the supercars provide the most power, they’re not necessarily the most focused of the bunch. It’s the hot hatch from Renault and the mid-engined masterpiece from Porsche which are arguably the best barroom brawlers. Their agility, purity, lightweight composition, and stellar weight distribution make these two the cars which put the driver at the forefront of the driving experience. Additionally, the Cayman GT4 sports a 4.0-liter with 414 horsepower, which means it’s far from a momentum machine. It still retains the disappointing ratios, but the added displacement makes it usable and involving at any speed.
With tactile surfaces and detailed messages through its inputs, the Cayman GT4 punches above the position its power would suggest it occupies. We know how these cars are confidence-inspiring, and how their short wheelbase and compact size helps you wring its neck along an uneven backroad. With all these assets, this welterweight brawler proves that outright power doesn’t determine the ideal driving experience.
A Sophisticated Cruiser
The focus and involving nature of the Cayman GT4 isn’t for everyone. Those who don’t lust for a wild weekend cruising canyons and drinking strong coffee might opt for a slighter softer option from the Porsche lineup. The 992 Carrera S is heavier, plusher, and much more practical. Because this is the softest machine in this company, this doesn’t make ears bleed, joints creak, and sphincters tighten. It provides a reassuring, smooth, and sophisticated ride which still staggers the initiate and stuns the experienced driver.
It’s by no means a lightweight car, but it still defies its 3,400 pounds thanks to incredible traction and a benign balance. It changes direction as you’d like, but the slightly vague steering is an unfortunate byproduct of its compromised nature. If you can get used to the chilled and mildly restrained feel—which is overcome by the 443 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque across the near-entirety of the rev range—there’s plenty to enjoy. While the 992 Carrera S might not get up on its toes quite like its svelter little brother, it does a stellar job of excelling on both the sedate drive to the supermarket and the scenic route blitz on the way home.
How do these two fare against the McLaren, Lamborghini, Renault, and Toyota? Watch and find out. You might be surprised.