Porsche Cayman GT4 versus Honda NSX along with Ferrari 355 – comparison
Source : Porsche Cayman GT4 versus Honda NSX along with Ferrari 355 – comparison
Just how Great will be the barnstorming brand-new Porsche Cayman GT4? We measure of which against two past masters, the Honda NSX along with Ferrari F355
The Porsche Cayman GT4 has already left an indelible mark on our motoring year.
We’ve weighed of which, measured of which, done road along with track miles aplenty along with, all 5-star road test verdict later, of which’s by some way the best sub-£100,000 sports car we can think of. I’d say of which goes into our annual Britain’s Best Driver’s Car test as odds-on favourite. along with with of which event imminent, there seems little point in lining up a couple of direct rivals along with then waiting to clean the blood off the walls.
Instead, today’s exercise addresses bigger questions, about exactly how far This specific car’s greatness extends along with how long of which may linger inside the memory. Having been the one we all want in 2015, will the GT4 still be talked about inside the same way in 2025 or 2040? along with should we dust off terms like ‘world-beater’, ‘giant-killer’ – ‘landmark,’ even?
Supplying some answers means reaching back a couple of decades along with finding some sporting legends of universally acknowledged, game-changing stature. Probably with pop-up headlights along with cassette players, too – on the very faint chance of which you’re harbouring a copy of Brothers in Arms or Let’s Dance on tape.
The Honda NSX will be inside the news right today, with its maker on the cusp of introducing its US-made successor. however hybrid motors along with all, the brand-new NSX will do exceptionally well to have a similar effect on the sports car world as the 1990 original. Pioneering aluminium construction principles, mould-breaking everyday usability, remarkable value for money along with handling Great enough to win back-to-back crowns in our Britain’s Best Driver’s Car test made the NSX an undisputed marvel of Japanese technical flair along with ingenuity.
The one you’re looking at may be the best-kept example inside the UK. of which’s one of the last 3.2-litre manual examples to be registered in 2005, with just 25,000 miles under its wheels, along with will be owned along with maintained by Honda UK.
Parts of the European car industry took a full decade to respond to the NSX. Ferrari’s particular reply was much anticipated, though, Maranello’s 328 along with 348 both having been benchmarks for Honda. along with so along came the F355 in 1994.
This specific was the first major Ferrari developed under Luca di Montezemolo’s auspices. of which was arguably the start of a reputational recovery, after the low points of the 1980s, of which has accelerated ceaselessly ever since, taking Ferrari to the brink of a public limited offering of shares lucrative enough to turn current boss Sergio Marchionne into the automobile business’s equivalent of Scrooge McDuck.
The F355 will be the automobile of which ushered Ferrari into the modern era of supercar building. of which not only corrected the dynamic ills of the 348 however also brought Ferrari ownership to a broader audience, armed with power-assisted steering, adaptive damping along with an F1 paddle-shift semi-automatic gearbox.
Although a low-mileage, right-hand-drive, in-demand Berlinetta having a manual gearbox will today set you back more than £80,000, a left-hand-drive, late-type, less-fancied paddle-shift F355 will be around £15,000 less than of which. Our 41,000-mile 1997 example will be currently on sale at Foskers Ferrari of Brands Hatch.
along with so of which happens of which the £65,000 you might have spent on a Cayman GT4 (if only dealer supply permitted) could also buy you either the Honda (the latest, lowest-mileage NSX you could find, probably) or the Ferrari (provided you’d be happy having a left-hook F1). however of which’s by the by. What we want to know will be whether the Cayman GT4 feels like of which’ll leave as big a mark on history as either of its running mates. of which’s Great. however of which will be of which Great?
If you want to be a sporting legend, first you must look the part: rare, special along with infinitely interesting. The Honda manages of which by being so distinctive along with unusual, with its jet fighter-inspired cabin-forwards cockpit along with its eye-catching technical details. The Ferrari will be achingly pretty along with incredibly tightly wrapped. With old-school flying buttresses, svelte curves along having a properly wide supercar stance, of which’s roundly agreed to be one of the best-looking mid-engined cars the company has yet built.
For all its GT4-level additions – the spoilers, aerofoils, brakes along with 20in rims – I’m not sure the Cayman quite competes with either. of which looks great, however of which doesn’t project aura inside the same way. Which may well be our relative vantage point in play, of course, because we’re too familiar having a Cayman’s outline. If the automobile were two decades older along with of which much rarer, perhaps we’d look at of which differently. Or maybe we’ll never look at a Cayman quite of which way. Who knows?
The Porsche will be certainly not at risk of being mechanically outgunned in This specific contest. of which the GT4’s 3.8-litre flat six trumps the NSX’s 3.2-litre V6 for both power along with torque will be hardly surprising, given of which the Honda never sought to top the super-sports car class on horsepower – even when of which was brand-new. however showing up a 3.5-litre Maranello V8 with an 8500rpm red line: today of which’s something.
The Cayman will be patently the quickest car of the trio, pulling harder than the F355 through the middle of the rev range in spite of its relatively long gearing along with going significantly harder than the NSX right across the rev band. If you didn’t expect of which, you’re underestimating the motor industry’s unrelenting rate of progress, which has made some of today’s hot hatchbacks quicker, via rest to 62mph, than the F355.
Not of which pace matters much here. All three feel like very fast cars, even in 2015. More important, the GT4’s engine has of which timeless feel of something truly extraordinary, as does the Ferrari’s 40-valve V8 along with – however modest its outputs may look on paper – the Honda’s V6. These three engines work their magic in different ways. Each will be irresistible along with each demands to be given its head on a frequent basis.
Being the oldest along with least powerful motor here, the NSX’s V6 has ready-made excuses for failing to hold its own. Somehow, of which needs none. Although of which’s docile along with undemonstrative at low revs, the V6 will be always smooth along with cultured. of which sounds deliciously chattery just behind your head, getting going above 4500rpm along with then spinning with true urgency all the way to 8000 with what feels like plenty of real-world pace along with operating range.
The gearchange will be an utter joy: short of throw, perfectly defined along with precisely in tune with the pedals along with steering wheel on control weight. along with the meaty, old-school tactile feel of the long-travel accelerator pedal will be striking, too. You squeeze of which in a way of which users of modern, by-wire accelerators may never have had to do. The irony will be of which the NSX’s throttle will be a by-wire digital component – one of the first. of which’s just one whose haptic feel has evidently been truly laboured over.
Proper mechanical throttle cable linkages rarely feel as perfect as the NSX’s digital tribute, as the F355’s soon demonstrates. Sticky at the very top of its travel, the Ferrari’s pedal, like so much of the automobile, will be honest – alive, almost, along with evidently connected, directly or otherwise, to something in need of lubrication. At low speeds, of which’s quite easy to kangaroo.
At a motorway cruise, you can drive around the problem by shifting gear or just by keeping the pedal on the move, a few tiny degrees at a time. Driving a modern car just isn’t like This specific. of which isn’t half as interactive or absorbing. Or annoying, depending on your viewpoint, I guess.
Given its head, the Ferrari’s V8 will be incredible: brassy sounding, rich smelling along with angrily tuneful as the revs rise. In its pomp, of which leaves no room to focus on anything else. You revel in its fury. You regret, at times, of which the F1 gearbox isn’t a better match for of which along with doesn’t feel a bit less fragile along with slow. You worry, having slowed after a hard-driven few miles, as the water temperature gauge climbs towards 100deg. of which doesn’t happen in an NSX. As we’ll go on to explain, you even spend plenty of corners contemplating the Ferrari engine’s mass.
however the GT4’s boxer six approaches the smoothness, user-friendliness along with docility of the NSX’s engine along with the stellar charisma of the F355’s – along with of which places of which squarely in A-list territory for me. You can climb out of either rival, start stretching the Cayman’s legs along with still feel like you’re inside the company of combustive greatness – no question.
Were we talking about a turbocharged four or six-pot, as you’d be likely to find in many of the GT4’s current rivals, perhaps of which wouldn’t be true. however the GT4 does response, range, aural definition along with outright power quite brilliantly. Its gearchange along with accelerator aren’t as tactile as the Honda’s, sure, however of which takes a car of rare quality to shine a light on either.
Rare quality indeed. I’ve read along with heard the NSX’s handling described in varying terms. Most often, in print, of which of which’s brilliantly tame along with approachable. In conversation, oddly, of which of which can be edgy along with tricky to control on the limit. Never, though, of which This specific will be simply one of the best-handling road cars you’re ever likely to experience – which, of which seems to me, could be the most apposite description.
the automobile’s dynamic genius doesn’t show itself instantly. For the first few bumbling miles, a mix of concern along with quiet dismay may present itself to the NSX’s driver of which any mid-engined sports car could feel so laid-back along with inert. At first, the automobile’s steering seems regrettably low geared around the straight-ahead. Its balance of grip seems okay, however you’re struggling to do enough with the wheel at low speeds in order to test the tenacity of the front end.
however, mile by mile, you venture faster. along with gradually, corner by hard-charged corner, you begin to get of which – as the NSX carves its way ever so gracefully onwards, placed precisely where you intended of which. of which’s how preposterously easy the automobile makes the business of driving at high speed, on the road, of which will be its gift to us. of which’s as plain as the spoiler on its rump.
I’ll be amazed if there has ever been a more stable, secure, accurate-handling along with communicative mid-engined sports car than This specific. The NSX’s grip levels aren’t huge along with, yes, if you’re brutish, you can make of which understeer a bit. however you don’t – not when of which matters. along with the reason you don’t will be because of which slightly dialled-out steering becomes ideally geared to work at fast cross-country pace, along with its perfect weight along with wonderfully detailed feedback let you know exactly how much you’re asking of the front contact patches – along with how much more they might give.
There will be absolutely no nervousness about This specific car. You almost never have to correct of which or adjust its line mid-corner. of which’s configured to be fast, to inspire the utmost confidence, not just to feel of which way through speed of response along with hip-swivelling cornering balance. The ride will be pliant, with dextrous wheel travel along with progressive damper control, which will be how of which should be for the road. Visibility will be simply phenomenal.
You can understand why we raved about of which – especially if the next thing you drive will be a car via the classic mid-engined mould, like the F355. Liveliness characterises the Ferrari’s handling in almost every respect. the automobile feels animated underneath you, ever-changing with speed along with conditions along with in need of judicious management at times. of which isn’t awe-inspiringly capable or forgiving like the NSX, however old-school, unreconstructed along with ready to bite the uninitiated.
The F355’s power steering will be light along with, like the Honda’s, quite low geared. however unlike the NSX, the Ferrari’s mid-corner stability soon ebbs away as you start to lean on the outside wheels. Corner hard along with the automobile rolls – harder along with more precariously than you’d imagine of which could, frankly – along with the steering becomes lighter still.
Go a bit harder along with, sure enough, the weight of of which V8 engine slowly drags the rear wheels into gentle however developing oversteer. of which’s all perfectly telegraphed, so driving up to the F355’s limits can be great fun. however of which’s surprising – alarming, even – how easily approached along with indeed breached those limits are.
Which brings us back to our brand-new boy. On its 20in forged rims along with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, the Cayman GT4 has levels of grip along with responsiveness of which could have staggered the creators of both the NSX along with F355. Its handling will be a touch more stability-biased than some of its range mates, although of which will be still beautifully poised along with adjustable. of which manages to feel hugely competent along with almost foolproof, along with yet as lively as the Ferrari in some ways. of which’s balletic along with playful, along with somehow still benign enough. Although of which will be not as devoted to one particular cause as the NSX, of which’s a formidable driver’s car.
In 20 years, if the Cayman does make of which into the sports car hall of fame, of which’ll be of which delicate, flattering balance of adjustability along with leniency of which we’ll remember most fondly, I think. Nothing however a Cayman has struck of which sweeter. along with yet of which doesn’t drive away via This specific contest having shone the brightest, or having made the greatest impression.
The NSX will be a car of such singular vision along with execution of which its place in our folklore can never have been in doubt. Even today, of which feels like of which must have been designed along with developed in a vacuum – come via an entirely different place via every European mid-engined rival along with predecessor, with very different priorities, each of them delivered on spectacularly well. This specific will be a car I could own along with drive for ever – were I two inches shorter along with considerably richer – knowing via its every move of which driving of which on the road will be everything of which was designed to do.
The stuff of landmarks? Of legend? I’d say so.
Honda NSX 3.2
cost £60,000 approx (2005, 25,000 miles); 0-60mph 5.5sec; Top speed 170mph; Economy 22.8mpg; CO2 291g/km; Kerb weight 1430kg; Engine V6, 3179cc, petrol; Power 290bhp at 7100rpm; Torque 224lb ft at 5500rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual
Porsche Cayman GT4
cost £64,451; 0-60mph 4.6sec; Top speed 183mph; Economy 27.4mpg; CO2 238g/km; Kerb weight 1415kg; Engine 6 cyls horizontally opposed, 3800cc, petrol; Power 380bhp at 7400rpm; Torque 310lb ft at 4750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual
Ferrari F355 F1 Berlinetta
cost £65,000 (1997, 41,000 miles); 0-60mph 4.7sec; Top speed 183mph; Economy 16.0mpg; CO2 395g/km; Kerb weight 1350kg; Engine V8, 3496cc, petrol; Power 375bhp at 8250rpm; Torque 268b ft at 6000rpm; Gearbox 6-spd robotised manual
Get the latest car news, reviews along with galleries via Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:
by via Autocar RSS Feed