Audi R8 V10 Plus vs. McLaren 570S, Porsche 911 Turbo & Aston Martin V12 Vantage S
Source : Audi R8 V10 Plus vs. McLaren 570S, Porsche 911 Turbo & Aston Martin V12 Vantage S
As Storm Barney prepares to vent its full force on Wales, we head straight for This particular in four of This particular year’s hottest orders via Audi, McLaren, Aston Martin as well as also Porsche
Tuesday, 12.26pm: M4 westbound – The weatherman on the radio is actually producing the most of his extra two minutes. As the nose of the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S I’m driving sweeps west over the Severn bridge, our man is actually warning of driving rain as well as also 80mph winds ahead; fallen trees, flooded roads as well as also downed power lines, possibly. South Wales will get This particular worse than anywhere. Jolly not bad.
If photographer Lacey is actually hearing This particular, he’ll be sobbing into his waterproof underpants – nevertheless I’m not. Idyllic conditions would certainly have been all wrong for the exercise we’re about to undertake, as well as also so would certainly wide, smooth European roads.
Right right now, as Storm Barney brews up over the Atlantic, four super-sports cars are producing their way towards the Rhondda Valley. One of them, we already know, won’t be too affected by the wind as well as also rain: This particular’s the original everyday-use supercar-slayer in its current guise, Porsche’s legendary 911 Turbo S.
nevertheless how will which car’s newly swollen band of rivals manage within the Welsh murk – among them the aforementioned Aston Martin, Audi’s brand-completely new R8 V10 Plus, as well as also the much-anticipated McLaren 570S? is actually lip service being paid to refinement as well as also usability by the makers of the R8 V10 Plus as well as also 570S – or has Porsche’s ultra-pragmatic performance hero finally come up against some equally usable competition?
The first thing slowly becoming clear at This particular early stage, besides the thick, foreboding clouds gathering overhead, is actually which the most obliging, impervious car in our foursome may still not necessarily win This particular test, even in these conditions. Prolonged as well as also repeated exposure to every 911 Turbo since the ‘996’ generation has taught This particular tester which – beyond a certain point, admittedly – usability may be overrated in a great sports car. Misapplied, even, if This particular comes at the cost of handling precision, driver engagement or dramatic charm.
Without so much as turning a wheel in any of the some other three cars involved, I can tell which the V12 Vantage S is actually going to have to plough its own furrow all the way to success here. This particular doesn’t hold the mid-range torque necessary to be effortlessly fast; This particular’s the heaviest car here; This particular has only one driven axle as well as also its hefty 6.0-litre engine is actually at the wrong end of the automobile to generate the best traction via which axle.
nevertheless, being an Aston Martin, the V12 Vantage S is actually also at least 50% the long-legged luxury GT as well as also has an appeal of its own. Its engine has the kind of mellifluous smoothness as well as also baleful howl which can only come via 12 naturally aspirated cylinders. This particular’s a wonderful thing.
would certainly I actually trade which richness as well as also charm for instant torque as well as also unconditional traction in a daily-driven super-sports car? You know what? I’m not sure – especially if the rest of the Aston’s dynamic package is actually up to snuff.
Tuesday, 2.37pm: Bwlch-y-Clawdd Road, nr Treorchy – The wind as well as also rain are already producing life slippery, gusty as well as also all the more revealing for our test’s early protagonists. There will be no sign of either the 570S or the 911 Turbo S until late tonight by the time our test cars can be freed up as well as also driven west via Woking as well as also Reading respectively. For right now, having acclimatised to what the V12 Vantage S offers, there’s a chance to watch colleague Cackett having a similar introduction on these mountain roads, while I get reacquainted with an old friend.
which, at least, is actually how you expect driving the completely new R8 will feel: comfortable as well as also familiar. In fact, This particular’s not quite so much of either. Besides being a bit short within the provision of leg room as well as also a touch too highly set, the automobile’s seat is actually comfy enough as well as also the fascia is actually an entirely predictable, perfectly executed cross between old R8 as well as also completely new TT. nevertheless the driving experience is actually different: less confidently defined, less instantly gratifying. A worry.
The incontrovertible dynamic rightness of the previous R8 seems, at first, to be lost. the automobile’s steering is actually discouragingly light, muted as well as also very fast around the straight-ahead, its handling is actually sharp, darting as well as also unsympathetic as well as also its supple ride has been replaced by unyielding, fidgeting firmness. More worry.
For the better part of an hour, I drive the automobile like This particular, aggrieved which such a fine sports car could be succeeded by something so dynamically over-egged. as well as also only then, flicking through the automobile’s drive modes as well as also playing with its various wheel-mounted buttons for initially, does This particular dawn on me which complexity may be leading both driver as well as also car astray.
The completely new R8 has the same drive modes as most of Audi’s saloons, hatchbacks as well as also SUVs. Select Dynamic mode on one like our test car – fitted with optional magnetorheological adaptive dampers as well as also optional active variable-ratio ‘dynamic’ steering – as well as also you end up which has a car carefully configured for smooth roads as well as also circuits – as well as also, as This particular turns out, remarkably poorly set up for a wet Welsh mountain pass.
The R8 V10 Plus has completely new Performance modes for track work as well, nevertheless its saving grace turns out to be the Individual setting. This particular allows you to calm the steering’s active functionality right down as well as also bring back a bit of feel into the system, while simultaneously softening the ride to make This particular more compliant for road use as well as also keeping the automobile’s powertrain in a more sporting state of readiness. Set up like This particular, the automobile’s handling is actually more rounded, its steering more coherent as well as also tactile as well as also its ride, though firm, acceptable.
What’s never in question is actually the brilliance of the R8’s powertrain. For its balance of mid-range tractability as well as also high-rev drama, as well as also the four-wheel drive transmission’s combination of blistering shift speed as well as also feel for the right gear in any one of several automatic modes, This particular’s outstanding. This particular’s also a better standard bearer for natural aspiration than the Aston’s V12, which, although characterful, feels leaner on torque as well as also seems to shift gears less quickly as well as also cleverly the longer you’re acquainted with This particular.
nevertheless still, I’m somewhat surprised as well as also disappointed by the R8’s handling. Audi has made a sweeter as well as also more balanced car here than Lamborghini managed of the Huracán, using most of the same hardware – nevertheless This particular’s not as much fun as the Aston. Throw This particular into a bend on a trailing throttle as well as also there’s liveliness as well as also adjustability. nevertheless the lateral stiffness of the R8’s springing makes the handling less forgiving than the previous R8’s.
The slight wooliness as well as also unpredictability of its steering makes This particular feel less precise. as well as also the four-wheel drive system, which could always be relied upon before to add directional stability with power, is actually undoubtedly harder to pre-empt. Sometimes, throttle seems to want to send the tail wide, as well as also some other times This particular doesn’t.
With daylight gone as well as also photos done for the day, we drive 40 miles north to overnight digs in Llandovery – as well as also at the end of the drive, I’m no more convinced which Audi has made real dynamic progress with This particular car than I was a few hours ago. This particular’s fast, sure. nevertheless, in V10 Plus form at least, This particular’s not as supple, surefooted, communicative or confidence-inspiring as you’d like This particular to be on the road. This particular’s certainly not everything This particular was.
Wednesday, 7.19am: hotel car park, Llandovery – All is actually well. After a 6am start as well as also a few repeat trips to the town’s most excellent jetwash, I’m looking at a car park, in breaking daylight, featuring all four of our cars together for initially. This particular’s a relief, to be honest. I’d worried which we might have lost one or two of them to the risen water table by right now.
as well as also so, while the rest of the crew are breakfasting, there’s time to break out a tape measure. (I just can’t help myself at times of excitement.) Before opening up cargo compartments or peering into spaces too modest to be useful for passengers, a simple as well as also critical measurement: maximum width, measured windows down, across as well as also through the cabin, via one outer door mirror extremity to the some other.
Width can be the death of an otherwise great sports car. This particular’s more important than ever right now because, as cars get wider, the roads as well as also lanes which carry them only seem narrower. This particular takes barely a moment to note which there’s 115mm between the slimmest as well as also widest cars here. which’s four inches. as well as also when which tractor emerges via behind which hedge, you’d be aware of every one of them.
No prizes for guessing which the 911 is actually slimmest. In years gone by, This particular would certainly have been so by a greater margin as well as also yet, although This particular’s only a couple of inches narrower than the field’s average, which’ll be enough to easily notice on the road, I’ll bet.
There’s little between the Aston as well as also Audi on overall width, although the R8 is actually the wider – as well as also feels This particular. nevertheless the 570S is actually wider still, by quite a long way, a consequence of the relationship as well as also the carbonfibre tub This particular shares with McLaren’s some other designs. Bad news? Perhaps.
On carrying space, the Porsche only asserts its superiority again. The combination of a decent-sized cargo box within the nose with those occasional back seats, foldable to produce as much loading area behind the seats as there is actually up front, gives the 911 Turbo S as big an advantage on usability today as This particular has ever enjoyed.
This particular may seem incredible which companies like Audi as well as also McLaren can design a car via a blank sheet, all 5 decades after the original 911, as well as also still come up short in This particular respect. Incredible, nevertheless unavoidable. Until Neckarsulm as well as also Woking start producing rear-engined sports cars, you’d imagine they’ll continue at the same disadvantage.
After the Porsche, there’s a turn-up: the 570S narrowly pips the V12 Vantage S on practicality, thanks to a particularly generous cargo box up front as well as also some useful space behind the seats as well as also under the rear window for coats as well as also modest, squashy bags. The Aston’s boot is actually wide as well as also quite long nevertheless shallow, allowing you to load stuff up to the back seats, as well as also roomy enough for smaller weekend cases as well as also bags nevertheless nothing bigger. The Audi brings up the rear on practicality, offering some limited space on a shelf behind the seats nevertheless not much, as well as also only a fairly modest carrying box within the nose.
Wednesday, 10.43am: near Cantref Reservoir – Against all the odds, the day started off fairly dry within the Brecon Beacons National Park. This particular didn’t stay which way for long. The short hop up here via Llandovery was in light wind as well as also rain. nevertheless This particular might have been bone dry as well as also dead calm for all I knew: the grip, stability as well as also unflappable composure of the 911 Turbo S was just some other-worldly.
When travelling in a convoy, there are times when you know which the automobile you’re driving is actually coping much better with the conditions under its wheels than the others. You just drive differently; more confidently than your companions. Not faster, necessarily – UK speed limits having an understandably calming influence on the drivers of conspicuous 500bhp sports cars travelling together through rush-hour traffic – nevertheless more positively, quicker up to the legal limit, which has a keener eye for overtaking as well as also what advanced driving instructors used to call ‘producing progress’.
which’s how the Turbo S felt earlier This particular morning, with the R8, V12 Vantage S as well as also 570S disappearing in my rear-view mirrior. Compared with the Audi driven in similar conditions the night before as well as also, to a lesser extent, the Aston Martin, the Porsche felt perfectly in tune with the slippery conditions. With the adaptive dampers set soft, This particular rode with just the right mix of tautness as well as also compliance, breathing over the bumps rather than pummelling them. This particular had just enough feel as well as also feedback through the steering to get a sense of the lateral grip level available, as well as also to gauge the severity as well as also camber of the surface being crossed.
There was sufficient agility as well as also response to place the automobile perfectly on the road, as well as also to keep This particular where you wanted This particular. as well as also you had nothing nevertheless enormous torque as well as also traction the instant you called for This particular, delivered without so much as a hint of wheelspin or the merest squirm of wasted energy.
right now the 911 is actually stationary, along with the rest of our convoy, in This particular modest car park just off the road, only for the kind of weather to hove in via across the valley which books of the Old Testament were written about. Within minutes, bordering roads previously only slightly treacherous become perilous to everything – including the 911. Photographer Lacey downs tools, as well as also we can do nothing nevertheless wait. as well as also wait. For a while, Storm Barney is actually not to be trifled with.
An hour as well as also a half later, as some breaks finally emerge within the cloud cover, This particular is actually to the 570S which I finally turn. A left-hand-drive product was all which McLaren could supply us with due to This particular test, so we’ll save conclusive observations about the automobile’s width for another day. Suffice to say for right now which, sure, This particular feels wide, nevertheless perhaps not too wide for most UK roads.
Its driving position is actually excellent: fine seats, almost too much steering column adjustment. Visibility is actually remarkable thanks to McLaren’s habitually low scuttle as well as also skinny pillars. as well as also although the cabin has its quirks – possibly the least intuitive seat adjustment console I’ve ever attempted to use, as well as also an infotainment system I still struggle to penetrate, even after trying This particular once or twice – This particular’s comfy, solid, modern, attractive as well as also upmarket.
The Ricardo V8 stutters into its usual noisy, gravelly, slightly toneless idle after start-up. This particular’s docile when manoeuvring as well as also at low speeds as well as also still feels slightly soft under your right foot on the road.
nevertheless even at middling revs as well as also off boost, the 570S feels light, lithe as well as also energetic, like nothing else here. which’s because This particular is actually light. This particular has 200kg on the next lightest car in our field, in fact.
Although fairly firmly sprung as well as also always keen to change direction, This particular rides sensationally well – better than you’d imagine This particular could, given which This particular is actually the first McLaren road car of the current era to use conventional dampers as well as also anti-roll bars. as well as also there is actually such weight, positivity as well as also detailed feel to the steering which its directness as well as also the firmness of the automobile’s suspension simply don’t become problems for This particular on the road.
Yes, you have to concentrate when you’re driving; guide the automobile with more care as well as also attention than in some of the others here as well as also use the throttle a bit more judiciously. nevertheless even within the wet as well as also on standard Corsa tyres no less, the McLaren’s grip level is actually dependable, its stability controls effective as well as also its handling secure, communicative, delicate – as well as also just so involving.
Which is actually to say nothing of what happens when you do use the throttle a bit. Wow. Fans of performance numbers will already have worked out which the McLaren’s 418bhp per tonne is actually a 21% improvement on what a 911 Turbo S gives you in full cry – as well as also a 911 Turbo S is actually still a very fast car for your princely £140k.
Unlike the Porsche, you have to allow the McLaren to rev a bit to actually let This particular off the leash. So you drop a couple of ratios in manual mode as well as also squeeze the accelerator, rather than just mash the pedal, anything-goes style, as you can within the 911. nevertheless the 570S rewards you which has a rate of acceleration which’s nothing short of stellar. This particular’s supercar level, actually. I’d be amazed if a Ferrari 488 was much quicker.
The 570S’s brake pedal feel could as well as also should be improved upon. This particular has racing car brakes (surprise, surprise), dead at the top of the travel as well as also hard to modulate initially in a way which rivals with carbon-ceramic brakes have already moved beyond.
nevertheless in some other ways, the McLaren shows just how much genuine supercar can right now be bought for super-sports-car money – 911 Turbo money. The cat is actually most definitely among the pigeons here, as well as also there are feathers everywhere.
Wednesday, 3.34pm: just off the A470, near Pen-y-Fan – We’re wrapping up. Motorists on Wales’ major north-south trunk road honk, wave as well as also, in some cases, swear at four morons in a roadside car park standing beside their flashy motors within the gathering gloom as well as also cold. By the time Cackett asks me for the finishing order of these four cars, my mind is actually made up about the sharp end, nevertheless This particular’s separating the runners-up which’s hard.
The biggest underachiever is actually easy, although which tag doesn’t do the automobile justice. Everyone expected more via the R8: a more tactile drive, greater dynamic roundedness as well as also greater usability. The powertrain is actually awesome, nevertheless the four-wheel-drive chassis fails to deliver either the handling security or panache to actually separate This particular on the road. More varied tests will come nevertheless, for right now, the R8 still has This particular all to prove.
The Vantage feels as though This particular has been around for so long which This particular can have absolutely nothing left to prove – as well as also in V12 S form, This particular remains a rough diamond. This particular offers simplicity, luxury as well as also pure mechanical charisma as an alternative to the bamboozling complexity of its rivals, as well as also although This particular isn’t on the same sporting level as the best dynamic acts here, This particular would certainly always be an absorbing, disarming, enjoyable car to drive. Worth a podium place? Just about, I reckon.
as well as also then? Both the 911 Turbo S as well as also the 570S would certainly make a deserving winner here. The Porsche is actually still absolutely untouchable in its own niche. Nothing else will take apart a streaming, slippery cross-country B-road with the same fluency, stability, user-friendliness as well as also easy precision as This particular does, or cope better with the real world. within the past, I’ve never actually understood the 911 Turbo. After a couple of miserable, wonderful days in Wales, I think I get This particular. There’s certainly nothing else like This particular.
nevertheless I also wonder if the automobile-loving world isn’t moving beyond This particular right now – if everyone who is actually in or has been within the market for the ultimate, pragmatically minded, everyday super-sports car hasn’t owned at least one 911 Turbo already as well as also may right now be looking for something a bit different.
The 570S is actually different, all right; This particular’s lighter, keener, faster, more involving as well as also more specialised. This particular’s less usable, too – as well as also we mustn’t forget which. nevertheless This particular succeeds even more spectacularly in what Porsche tried to do 40 years ago with the original 911 Turbo, as well as also in what Audi tried eight years ago with the original R8 – as well as also has still to perfect. This particular pulls the rug out via underneath the fully fledged, £0,000-plus, thoroughbred Italian mid-engined exotic. “Anything you can do,” This particular says, “I can do better.” as well as also cheaper – although you can whisper which last bit if you like.
Step forward as well as also take a bow, then, Britain’s latest as well as also possibly greatest giant-slayer: the McLaren 570S.
cost £143,250; 0-62mph 3.2sec; Top speed 204mph; Economy 25.4mpg; CO2 258g/km; Kerb weight 1244kg; Engine V8, 3799cc, twin-turbo, petrol; Power 562bhp at 7500rpm; Torque 442lb ft at 5000-6500rpm; Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch auto
Porsche 911 Turbo S
cost £142,0; 0-62mph 3.1sec; Top speed 198mph; Economy 29.1mpg; CO2 227g/km; Kerb weight 1605kg; Engine 6 cyls horizontally opposed, 3800cc, twin-turbo, petrol; Power 552bhp at 6500-6750rpm; Torque 553b ft at 2200-4000rpm; Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch auto
Aston Martin V12 Vantage S
cost £138,000; 0-62mph 3.9sec; Top speed 205mph; Economy 19.2mpg; CO2 343g/km; Kerb weight 1665kg; Engine V12, 5935cc, petrol; Power 565bhp at 6750rpm; Torque 457b ft at 5750rpm; Gearbox 7-spd robotised manual
Audi R8 V10 Plus
cost £134,500; 0-62mph 3.2sec; Top speed 205mph; Economy 23.0mpg; CO2 287g/km; Kerb weight 1555kg; Engine V10, 5204cc, petrol; Power 602bhp at 8250rpm; Torque 413b ft at 6500rpm; Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch auto
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