Track Tested: 2012 Porsche 911 vs. 2012 Audi R8


2012 Porsche 911 vs. 2012 Audi R8

There are plenty of sports cars that have tried to dethrone the Porsche 911 over the years. Not many of them have succeeded. Sure, some are faster, some are cheaper and others are more distinctive-looking, but the 911 can still hold its own after all these years.

Now there's a new 911 so it's time to resurrect all those rivalries once again. This time, however, there's a new threat to Porsche's dominance. The Audi R8 burst on the scene in 2008 and has remained a sought-after sports car ever since. Between its distinctive looks and high-revving V8 and V10 engines, the R8 is more than a match for Porsche's finest.

Some would say it's not a fair fight. The standard Audi R8 has two more cylinders, 36 more horsepower and a price tag well in excess of $100,000 compared to the Carrera S. Then again, the Porsche 911 is the king here and the R8 the challenger. Care to guess which one rules at the track?

  2012 Porsche 911 2012 Audi R8
0-30 (sec.): 1.9 1.7
0-45 (sec.): 3.0 3.1
0-60 (sec.): 4.6 4.5
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec.): 4.4 4.3
0-75 (sec.): 6.3 6.8
1/4-mile (sec @ mph): 12.7 @ 113.2 12.9 @ 109.2
30-0 (ft): 25 28
60-0 (ft): 102 104
Skid pad lateral accel (g): 1.04 0.98
Slalom: 71.3 72.3

Vehicle: 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S
Odometer: 4,593
Date: 11/20/11
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $104,935 (estimated)

Specifications:
Drive Type: Rear engine, rear-wheel-drive
Transmission Type: Seven-speed manual
Engine Type: Direct-injected, DOHC, 3.8-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 3,800/232
Redline (rpm): 7,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 394 @ 7,400
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 325 @ 5,600
Brake Type (front): 13.4-inch, ventilated and cross-drilled rotors with six-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): 13-inch, ventilated and cross-drilled rotors with four-piston fixed calipers
Steering System: Electric-assist, speed-proportional rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Modified MacPherson strut, coil springs, electrically adjustable dampers, active stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Multilink, coil springs, electrically adjustable dampers, active stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 245/35ZR20 91Y
Tire Size (rear): 295/30ZR20 101Y
Tire Brand: Pirelli
Tire Model: P Zero Nero
Tire Type: Summer, asymmetrical
Wheel size: 20-by-8.5 inches front, 20-by-11 inches rear
Wheel material (front/rear): Aluminum alloy
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,277 (38.8% front/61.2% rear)

Test Results:

Acceleration:
0-30 (sec): 1.9 (2.2 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 3.0 (3.3 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 4.6 (5.0 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 4.4 (4.6 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 6.3 (6.5 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 12.7 @ 113.2 (13.0 @ 111.7 w/ TC on)

Braking:
30-0 (ft): 25
60-0 (ft): 102

Handling:
Slalom (mph): 71.3 (70.3 w/ ESC on)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 1.04 (1.03 w/ ESC on)

Sound:
Db @ Idle: 47.6
Db @ Full Throttle: 92.8
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 68.4
RPM @ 70 mph: 2,100

Tester's comments:

Acceleration: Biggest news here is that the 911 no longer produces its trademark axle-hopping launch. Instead, it merely hazed the rear tires and resisted bogging down the engine once the tires hooked up. Shifter feels a little vague in that I rarely trusted my 2-3 shift, yet it always went in. Tall gearing — needed 3rd for quarter-mile. (All runs in Sport Plus with exhaust open.) Also felt some sort of shift-shock reduction with each upshift that wouldn't allow chirp. Shifts were smooth but slightly delayed.

Braking: Medium-firm pedal with moderate jump-in but amazing power and effectiveness toward the end of the stop. Very little dive (firm suspension setting), no wiggle, and distances grew shorter with some heat in the brakes. No fade at all.

Slalom: Quick turn-in but a small delay in yaw reaction. Tracks very true to steering input but requires a little patience for the chassis to catch up. Never felt threatening or apt to spin — even with drop-throttle. Had to be prudent with throttle at exit, but it sure feels like there's an LSD back there making sure all the power is used effectively.

Skid pad: One of a handful of cars that oversteers comfortably, confidently, precisely all the way around the circle. Steering weight comes and goes with front grip level, but the graininess/feel is no longer there. I could steer with the throttle all the way around.

Vehicle: 2012 Audi R8 4.2 FSI
Odometer: 1,386
Date: 11/20/11
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $128,715

Specifications:
Drive Type: Midengine, all-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed, open-gate manual
Engine Type: Direct-injected, DOHC, 4.2-liter V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 4,163/254
Redline (rpm): 8,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 430 @ 7,900
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 316 @ 4,500
Brake Type (front): 14.4-inch ventilated and cross-drilled disc with eight-piston two-piece caliper
Brake Type (rear): 14-inch ventilated and cross-drilled disc with four-piston two-piece caliper
Steering System: Hydraulic-assist, power rack-and-pinion
Suspension Type (front): Independent double-wishbone, coil springs, driver-adjustable magnetorheological dampers
Suspension Type (rear): Independent double-wishbone, coil springs, driver-adjustable magnetorheological dampers
Tire Size (front): 235/35ZR19 91Y
Tire Size (rear): 295/30ZR19 100Y
Tire Brand: Pirelli
Tire Model: P Zero
Tire Type: Summer, asymmetrical
Wheel size: 19-by-8.5 inches front, 19-by-11 inches rear
Wheel material (front/rear): Forged aluminum alloy
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,621 (43.7% front/56.3% rear)

Test Results:

Acceleration:
0-30 (sec): 1.7 (2.1 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 3.1 (3.6 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 4.5 (4.9 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 4.3 (4.7 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 6.8 (7.2 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 12.9 @ 109.2 (13.3 @ 108.6 w/ TC on)

Braking:
30-0 (ft): 28
60-0 (ft): 104

Handling:
Slalom (mph): 72.3 (70.9 w/ ESC on)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.98 (0.97 w/ ESC on)

Sound:
Db @ Idle: 51.0
Db @ Full Throttle: 81.4
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 69.8
RPM @ 70 mph: 2,900

Tester's comments:

Acceleration: Even with a quick 5K clutch engagement (traction control off), the AWD pulls the engine down and it bogs momentarily before it hooks up. Gated shifter is a nonissue — never missed a gate. Gearing is a little short (needed to grab 4th for quarter-mile) despite high redline.

Braking: Medium-firm pedal with immediate jump-in. Straight, quiet, obviously fade-free. Very little dive with shocks in firm setting.

Slalom: I'd call this car "very pointy," as it has both an amazingly quick turn-in, plus immediate yaw response. I did find extra rotation with throttle lift, but it hardly needs it. Used AWD at exit with wide-open throttle to "leap" for the last gate. Few other cars feel this confident at this speed — maybe none.

Skid pad: Neutral right up to the point where it begins to understeer. I tried to pedal it to coax some rotation, but it refused. With ESC on, it used subtle brake applications to reduce understeer at the limit for a slightly better result. Steering feel is very good. Both weight and granularity inform the driver exactly what the front tires are experiencing and broadcasting.

2012 Porsche 911 vs. 2012 Audi R8

2012 Porsche 911 vs. 2012 Audi R8

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