We just can’t seem to get enough of these three supercars and it seems that the world can’t either. We just recently spoke about Auto Express putting all three cars against each other on the race track, with AE coming away with the McLaren as the winner and the Porsche in second place, leaving the Audi R8 for last. However, Car and Driver has just recently put the supercar trio against each other, so let’s see how they fair this time.
In this test, C&D took the three supercars on a road trip through the twisty back country roads and highways of North Carolina and Virginia. This is a much more informative test than just throwing each car around a racetrack. On the track, you only learn a car’s limit handling. But on twisty roads, for a long time, you’ll find out how it drives in all manners of handling and really learn how to use its performance. Plus, these three cars are considered to be “Everyday Supercars”, meaning you can drive them everyday and on back roads without being uncomfortable or stressed.
Unfortunately for the Audi R8 V10 Plus, it again comes in third place. There was a lot for C&D to like, though. Its 5.2 liter naturally-aspirated V10 is a thing of joy. The noise it makes is sublime and easily the best of the trio. The way it revs to its 8,000 rpm redline feels wonderfully linear and refreshing in its turbocharged company. It was also an incredibly comfortable car to drive around town or on highways. Its adaptive suspension is excellent at soaking up bumps and its seats are superb. It’s almost a completely uncompromising supercar. Except that it’s almost too uncompromising, to the point of not being a very good supercar.
The Audi R8 V10 Plus is said to be a bit lifeless at the limit and isn’t as much fun to drive as the other two cars. Audi went too far the other way and made it too livable, too usable and too comfortable. Supercars are supposed to comprise at least a little bit of comfort for performance. And while the R8 has heaps of performance — having 610 hp, getting from 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds and being capable of over 200 mph — it isn’t as fun or inspiring to drive as the McLaren and Porsche.
In second place comes the McLaren 570S. On the track, the McLaren would probably take the victory, as evident by the Auto Express test recently. However, on the road, it’s just a bit too uncomfortable. It’s brilliant to drive, though. Its 3.8 liter twin-turbo V8 makes 562 hp and gets the 570S from 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds as well. It also has the best steering of the bunch, as it’s a hydraulic rack which gives it incredible feel and accuracy. Its tiny little carbon fiber chassis is fantastic to toss around and is easily the quickest car of the bunch around a track.
However, it’s just too difficult to live with all the time to put it in first place. The ride is stiff and harsh. Its seats squish your knees together and its pedal box is too narrow, squeezing your feet together. It’s also very loud on the inside and has very few creature comforts. This is clearly a car meant to be driven hard and only hard. But that’s what a supercar is for, so its comfort flaws can be overlooked.
The Porsche 911 Turbo S takes first, here. Not really surprising, considering it invented the idea of an everyday supercar. But the old dog’s still got it. The Porsche’s 3.8 liter twin-turbo flat-six makes 580 hp and gets to 60 mph in a blistering 2.6 seconds, obliterating the other two. It also stops the fastest, has the best skid-pad numbers and is the easiest car to drive quickly. But it’s also incredibly comfortable, with the best ride for a long journey. Its seven-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox is also the easiest to drive around town but also the fastest to shift when going quickly. It’s almost perfect in every way. Downsides? None, really. It’s a bit lifeless, in the sense that it does everything for you. But other than that, it’s pretty much perfect.
So while the Audi R8 V10 Plus is a superb car, and would honestly still be my choice in this test because of its engine and looks alone, the Porsche 911 Turbo S and McLaren 570S were just too much for it, according to Car and Driver.[Top Photo: Car and Driver]