About a month ago, we brought the news that MotorTrend had named the 991 C4S the 2013 BDC champion. This was met with a little consternation, as there was a notable car left out of the competition in the form of the new C7 generation Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. There were also some grumblings that there were no cars from Ferrari included in the test. While both issues transpired due to the manufacturers failing to provide cars for the test, that has now been rectified.
MotorTrend’s solution? Hit the reset button, eliminate the competitors that have already been beaten by the mighty Porsche, and bring in two new contenders for a tag-team free-for-all. Nearly two months after the original competition, Chevrolet agreed to supply a brand new Stingray, and while Ferrari wouldn’t give MT a 458 Spyder to test, they did hand over the keys to the new F12 Berlinetta. The Porsche, this time, faced some stiff competition, as the Ferrari has gobs more power, and the Corvette has been praised as the best ever.
Again, the same paths were trod as in the last iteration of this test, a predetermined road route, a quarter mile track, and Laguna Seca Raceway serving as the test beds. On the road, the testers immediately fell in love with the steering of the Corvette, and the superpower V12 engine in the F-car, but the Porsche was a clear standout, inspiring confidence and a sense of immediate and repeatable cornering.
At the drag strip, the Ferrari’s 731 horsepower shone bright, pulling its more-than-2-ton weight down the quarter mile in 11.3 seconds. The C7 Corvette managed a 12 second flat quarter mile pull, making the most of its 460 horses, with a 3.7 second sprint to 60 in the process. The mighty C4S, lightest of the bunch, was also the least powerful at only 400 horsepower. With AWD helping start line traction, the Porsche lit up to 60 in 3.9 seconds, and powered through the quarter in 12.3, only slightly behind the Corvette.
As has been proven over the last 50 years in Corvette vs. Porsche comparisons, it isn’t the straight line speed that makes the Porsche a winner, it’s the combination of all aspects. While the Corvette has gradually gotten closer in terms of performance, it is still lagging behind in driver confidence, perhaps the most important aspect of a “driver’s car”. What good is cornering speed if it feels like you’re riding on a knife edge and too scared to repeat the effort?
The Ferrari was stated as feeling “bigger” and “heavier”, with others saying it was “kinda hairy out there. I’m not confident behind the wheel”. Much of this is down to the car’s massive weight detriment, but some of it can be attributed to the less racy tires. The Corvette, similarly, took some getting used to on the road. On the track, the Ferrari felt out of its element, being too heavy, and not stiff enough to fully extract the most out of the car. The Corvette’s “Track” mode made the suspension too stiff, too prone to oversteer, and too difficult to judge. Switching the car to “Sport” mode made up for a lot of these transgressions, and pro-driver Randy Pobst was satisfied with the car, but not enough to put it above the 911.
While the Ferrari and the Corvette were both faster around Laguna Seca than the C4S, the guys at MT have stated what we’ve known all along; that the 911 is more about HOW you drive the car, rather than how quickly the car will carry you. The little yellow car had the best brakes. It was also credited with the best suspension tuning, with comments like “confidence in spades”, “utterly nonsensical speeds through the corners”, and “immediately able to go flat out”. One Mr. Lieberman even went so far as to say “I believe the 991 iteration of the 911 has the best suspension damping in the history of the production car. That’s high praise.
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