MARK BRAMLEY INGO BARENSCHEE
Once upon a time—okay, right now—three automakers set out on a quest to offer passage to sports-car paradise. The fare, starting at about a quarter-million, is not cheap. Expectations are correspondingly high. The requirements necessary to reach this automotive Shangri-La are constantly shifting, like the coordinates of the island in Lost.
In this class, raw performance hangs just one rung below the mighty Bugatti Veyron. But mere speed is not enough to reach the Promised Land, nor is prodigious grip; high horsepower and sticky tires can be found in the lower realms. The perfect car will offer a combination of highly evolved engineering solutions, rare and fine materials, and the most critical element of all: bandwidth. The perfect car will force lesser machines to the side of the road, both through sheer presence and force of will, and also handle the everyday commute and the long-distance haul. After all, what good is the ultimate car if you can’t drive it anywhere, at any time?
Nothing less than the arrival of the McLaren MP4-12C led us to this question and, consequently, this three-supercar comparison test. The 12C is built around a central carbon-fiber tub, heretofore unheard of at this price and production volume. It also comes with a 593-hp, twin-turbo V-8; a trick adaptive suspension that routes damping fluid to all four corners; and a rear wing that pops up to help high-speed braking. Performance options above the $233,500 base price are limited to a sport exhaust ($5430), lightweight or super-lightweight forged wheels ($5140 for the latter, plus $1430 for the “stealth” finish), and $13,130 carbon-ceramic brakes. Throw in extra-cost paint and some optional trim items, and you get to our $303,690 as-tested figure.> MARK BRAMLEY
The McLaren’s natural enemy, thanks to a 45-year history of Formula 1 battles, is Ferrari’s 458 Italia. With sensuous curves and 562 horsepower screaming from its 9000-rpm V-8, the 458 is four-wheeled amphetamine. The only thing that kept the 458 from winning our November 2010 comparison test was a $270,790 as-tested price, high enough to lose major points in our results calculation. This time, the Ferrari is an eye-popping $332,032, which includes $28,000 of paint and $52,683 in carbon-fiber trim alone. (And dare we say that the paint is worth it?) Higher-priced competition this time around makes cost less of a factor. Judging by the long waiting list for a 458 (the full production run is essentially sold out), potential owners don’t seem to mind Ferrari’s pricing.
Porsche, whose 911 Turbo S took top honors in our last supercar comparison test, is represented here by the GT2 RS. In reductive terms, the GT2 equals a Turbo engine plus a GT3 chassis. RS trim brings 90 extra horsepower and an aggressive weight-saving program that includes a carbon-fiber hood and numerous aluminum suspension pieces. It is a 620-hp, rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive terror. A back wing resembling a pair of horns and a soul full of menace earned the GT2 the affectionate nickname “Beast.” Production is limited to 500, and the price tag is $245,950. Add in black paint for $3140 and delete the radio and air conditioning (both at no charge), and the total comes to $249,090. Our quest for perfection took us to Northern Wales, itself a sort of driving utopia with plenty of desolate winding roads. There we discovered which supercar represents the current state of the art.
We had suspected that the true intention of the GT2 RS was to kill its driver. Or if not that, then at least to bring about a state of euphoria from escaping a near-death experience. With all that power hanging behind the rear axle and full deactivation of all driver’s aids by pressing the “SC + TC Off” button, calamity would seem inevitable.
In our experience, however, the GT2 RS turned out to be quite docile. The massive (325-mm rear section width), track-ready Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires keep the back end glued, although the surge of power when the variable-vane turbochargers deliver all 23.2 pounds of boost produces lots of serpentine back-end writhing. This is the only rear-wheel-drive car in the world with torque steer.> MORGAN SEGAL
More surprising is that the RS is tolerable in city driving. The stiff suspension is compliant, the clutch takeup is progressive, and low-end tractability is ample. But it’s clear the GT2 RS is built for a different purpose than picking up Chinese take-out. The racing seats—real actual racing seats with removable cushions and a hole in the bottom for an anti-submarine belt—are the type that you fall into and climb out of. They’re very comfortable, albeit tight against the upper back of our wide American frames, and they eliminate some of the user-friendliness we associate with the familiar 911 interior. If you didn’t realize that this is not your everyday Carrera, your ears will tell you so within the first 50 feet. The lightweight polycarbonate that replaces the rear glass welcomes in every exterior noise, and the fender wells audibly report every piece of dirt thrown from the tire treads. On the highway, the din is such that it physically wears on you. Keeping the radio and air conditioning—standard items—is advised if your GT2 RS plans involve any minor amount of time away from a track.> MARK BRAMLEY
The true motives of the GT2 RS are revealed in its major controls, which are as heavy as the car itself is light (3085 pounds, 19 fewer than a VW GTI). The clutch, shift lever, and steering all seem counterweighted by anvils. This forces the driver to make deliberate inputs; you cannot master this car with half-measures.
We note that this is the only car of the trio with a manual transmission. Driver involvement is at the center of the GT2’s mission. Seventy-to-0-mph braking distances are essentially a tie here, and at 145 feet for the Porsche and McLaren (146 for the Ferrari), nearly the shortest we’ve ever recorded. The Porsche separates itself in brake feel, with a stiff pedal that is easy to modulate with an even application of pressure. The steering offers the most feedback and transmits the most information about available grip, which undoubtedly helped the GT2 RS achieve the best slalom speed.
Don’t read too much into the 3.3-second 0-to-60-mph time. Unaided by launch control or a self-shifting gearbox, the GT2 RS doesn’t leap off the line. At higher speeds, the McLaren and Ferrari’s advantage is negated—the Porsche’s 100-to-150-mph time of 7.8 seconds is equal to the MP4-12C’s and 0.7 second quicker than that of the 458.> MARK BRAMLEY
On the road, the GT2 RS’s capabilities seem endless. You can brake later, carry more speed through a corner, and dial in more throttle than seems sensible only to realize that the limit is still a long way away. Far from being terrifying, the GT2 RS’s vast supply of horsepower is easy to manage, provided you keep the tachometer to the right of the 4000-rpm mark at 12 o’clock. And despite the sustained high revs, the Porsche produces the best fuel economy, both in our observed 15 mpg and with EPA figures (16 mpg city, 23 highway) high enough to dodge a gas-guzzler tax.
The GT2 RS’s highly visceral driving experience comes at a cost. As mentioned, the interior is noisy and without creature comfort. On uneven road surfaces, the stiff ride reaches its limit and makes the RS wobble from the crest to the trough of every bump. Its singularity of purpose means the Porsche is forced to lap the roads around supercar Eden, unable to enter.
A second-place finish doesn’t mean we fail to see the glory of the 458 Italia. It is perhaps the closest man has come to creating an animal. The wail from the V-8 engine is ever-present, bouncing off stone walls that line the Welsh roads, creeping into your spine, spiking your heart rate. The interior is similarly animate (or at least used to be), with soft leather covering nearly every surface. The areas not trimmed in hide are clad in carbon fiber, at least on our test car, and the irony of this in a car made mostly of aluminum is not lost on us. Ever the Italian, the 458 is not above the carbon-fiber-everything fashion trend.
Below the superficial trim lies plenty of substance, be it from the 3.0-second 0-to-60 sprint to the quick steering (2.0 turns lock-to-lock) to the gearbox that swaps ratios as fast as you can pull the paddles.
A brief aside on those paddles, which are mounted to the steering column: Arguments exist for placing them on the steering wheel, as McLaren does, but Ferrari’s point is that you should not change gears while the wheel is turned. Plus, by moving all secondary controls to the steering wheel, there is no accidental activation of the wipers or turn signals. Our only complaint with this is that you need to cancel said turn signals after a lane change, as they lack a three-blink feature.> MARK BRAMLEY
But back to driving, which, given the way the 458 draws a crowd, might seem like a secondary concern. Is it not. The 458 goes down the road in a manner consistent with its engine note: frantic. The steering is hyper-responsive, reacting to mere twitches. As is the gas pedal, which spikes the revs with a wiggle of your toes and illuminates a set of LEDs atop the steering wheel as you approach the 9000-rpm redline. To say that the 458 is a thrill would be like saying Keith Richards enjoys a puff every now and then.
So where does the Ferrari come up short? Certainly not in ride, which is another shining example of what magnetorheological shocks have done for chassis sophistication. Our main complaint with the Ferrari is that, despite being only 1.1 inches wider than the McLaren, it feels like it’s spilling over both sides of the road. Part of this is the driving position—being seated at the outer edge of the car only heightens the sensation of breadth. Whatever the reason, the 458 feels ungainly on tight roads and anywhere there’s the possibility of oncoming traffic. The brakes, as supremely capable as those of any car on the road, increase stopping power more as a function of pedal distance than pressure; we prefer the pedal feel in the Porsche. Another minor note: As a consequence of its quick reactions, the Ferrari requires a delicate touch when making minor steering inputs. And, on second thought, $100,000 worth of options pushes the limits of good sense.> MARK BRAMLEY
This is not to say that the 458 Italia is anything short of spectacular. To many, the Ferrari is exactly what a classic supercar is supposed to be—loud and unrestrained and stunningly alive. But if the Ferrari lacks for anything, it’s civility.
Tales of McLaren Group boss Ron Dennis’s obsession with organization and precision are legion. In many ways, the MP4-12C is the roadgoing embodiment of his compulsions. Take the center-mounted tachometer: In most cars, a blip of the throttle sends the rev needle up and back like a ball tossed in the air, slowing at its peak. Not so in the 12C. Rev the twin-turbo V-8 in neutral and the needle sweeps steadily, stops abruptly, and goes back down at the same steady pace.
Next to the overly elaborate GT2 RS and the curvaceous Ferrari, the 12C is almost understated. The main attractions here are the dihedral doors, which pivot up and out after a light massage under their lips, which activates a sensor to open the latches. Ingress is easy—simply step in and sit down. Climbing out over the wide sill is tougher.
Get into the McLaren after driving the Porsche and Ferrari, and the differences are apparent—maybe only to a small degree, but the small things matter here. The seats fit perfectly. The range of steering-wheel adjustments for rake and reach will accommodate the most acrobatic of driving positions. The cowl height is low, which gives the 12C even better forward visibility than the two other cars here, although the Ferrari’s lower rear end provides a better view straight back. The McLaren is built around the driver. The seating position is farther inboard than in the Ferrari, which gives the 12C a narrower feel and lends the driver a better sense of the car’s placement on the road.> MARK BRAMLEY
Comfort and visibility also help make better use of the McLaren’s power, which propels it forward to the best acceleration times in the test. Its 13.9-second 0-to-150-mph time is half-a-second quicker than the second-place GT2 RS’s.
You wouldn’t know by the engine note, which is muted compared with the Porsche’s and Ferrari’s. Switching the drive mode to “sport” or “track” pipes more of the sound into the cabin, but it doesn’t change the fact that much of the noise is lost in the sound-damping turbochargers. The quiet highway ride is nice, but when you pay for 593 horsepower, you don’t want to hear them only at high revs.
The dial adjacent to the drive mode controls the chassis and the 12C’s trick suspension, dubbed Proactive Chassis Control (PCC). If there is a single key to the 12C’s brilliance, it is this. Through an interconnected system of hydraulic fluid and nitrogen, PCC allows for the separation of roll stiffness from suspension reactions at each wheel. In “normal” mode, it gives the 12C a ride like a family sedan’s. Turn the dial to “track,” and it’s nearly as stiff and unyielding as the GT2 RS. Even on the waviest of road surfaces, the McLaren stays vacuumed to the tarmac.
The 12C is a car of total coordination. The superior visibility grants the driver greater confidence, and the suspension compliance allows for full use of the brakes and engine. Add in linear power delivery, a smooth brake pedal, and predictable steering, and you have a vehicle that, however monstrously powerful, feels like an extension of yourself. Everything in the McLaren works exactly as expected, allowing you to adjust your speed in small increments and, ultimately, get from point A to point B quicker than in the two other cars.> MARK BRAMLEY
The 12C is maybe a millimeter short of perfect, though. At low speeds, the gearbox and brakes conspire to make creeping stops difficult to modulate. Over single-wheel bumps, an audible “thunk” resonates through the carbon-fiber chassis. Our prototype test car lacked a functioning infotainment system. We expect full production of the 12C to be of the highest quality (remember that McLaren handled the assembly of the jointly developed Mercedes-Benz SLR, and that Ron Dennis is relentless), but until we get our hands on an example, we’re holding on to our reservations.
By most indications, however, McLaren has elevated the supercar. The MP4-12C offers a range of capability not seen before. It’s the sort of car that can be driven across the country and straight onto the track, with no compromise on either end of that spectrum. For now, it’s as close as you can get to eternal automotive bliss.
Source : https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/comparison-test/a16642055/2011-ferrari-458-italia-vs-2011-mclaren-mp4-12c-2011-porsche-911-gt2-rs-comparison-test/Terima Kasih for visit my website