Porsche 911 Turbo S vs rivals: Power struggle

18 Dec, 2013 6:01pm

The Porsche 911 Turbo S squares up to the exotic Audi R8 V10 Plus and Nissan GT-R

With a few shopping days left to go before Christmas, there’s still time to add something special to your festive wish list.

To give you a few ideas, we’ve gathered three of the most exciting and desirable supercars currently on sale. But which one would you like to find in your Christmas stocking?

• Porsche 911 review

• Audi R8 review

Nissan GT-R review

The 911 Turbo has been setting high-performance benchmarks since 1974, and the latest car promises to be the fastest ever – particularly this range-topping S version.

Based on the 991 generation 911, the newcomer features active aerodynamics, hi-tech suspension and four-wheel drive, while its twin-turbo
flat-six engine boasts an incredible 700Nm of torque.

However, if you’re after a four-wheel-drive supercar with more than 500bhp, the 911 isn’t the only option. Audi’s R8 has evolved and improved, and the new V10 plus has the power to rival the Porsche.

The 911 Turbo’s biggest nemesis for the past few years, though, has been the Nissan GT-R. It’s good value, too, offering the ultimate in performance per pound, and this hi-tech coupé promises scintillating driving thrills.

Head-to-head

Layout

Variety is the spice of life with this trio. With mid, rear and front-engined layouts, our contenders couldn’t be more different.

And that’s not all, because the flat-six, V6 and V10 engines all have their unique characters. Plus, the cars are set even further apart by their differences in style, image and heritage. Yet for all this, they’re very closely matched for performance, desirability and driver thrills.

Braking

With its standard ceramic brakes, the 911 stopped from 70mph in only 35.9 metres. Given the performance on tap, that’s just as well. The Nissan also impressed in our braking tests, coming to a halt in 41.8 metres. 

Acceleration

Headline-grabbing acceleration figures count for a lot in this class. We use GPS equipment to measure the acceleration and braking of every car we test, but with this trio there was extra interest in the results.

The Porsche left us open-mouthed by posting a staggering 0-60mph sprint time of 2.8 seconds – that’s the fastest we’ve ever recorded. Helped by launch control, it rocketed off the line with little fuss and consistently returned sub-three-second runs.

Verdict

1st place: Porsche 911 Turbo S

The Turbo S takes the 911 into new realms of performance. With amazing grip, steering feel and agility, it’s more engaging than rivals, and acceleration is staggering. The only things counting against it are the price and the fact the standard 911 is so good. But this is the world’s finest everyday supercar. 

2nd place: Audi R8 V10 Plus

There's still plenty of life left in the R8. With a dual-clutch gearbox and revised styling, it’s better than ever. The V10 plus has a great engine and is packed with character. And while it lacks the Porsche’s razor-sharp edge – and the cabin feels dated – it’s still a very special and desirable sports car.  

3rd place: Nissan GT-R

It's easy to see why the GT-R has so many loyal fans. Nothing else offers the performance for the money, and it’s great to drive on the limit. But, unlike its rivals, there are big refinement compromises and it’s not as enjoyable at low speed. The low-rent cabin and boxy look won’t be to all tastes, either.

Porsche 911 Turbo S Audi R8 V10 Plus Nissan GT-R
On-the-road price/total as tested £141,747/£141,747 £128,710/£130,955 £76,610/£76,610
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000) N/A/N/A £62,553/48.6% £37,462/48.9%
Depreciation N/A £66157 £39148
Annual tax liability std/higher rate £9,860/£19,719 £8,931/£17,863 £5,284/£10,569
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles) £2,862/£4,771 £4,159/£6,932 £3,983/£6,639
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost 50/£2,273/L/£475 50/£1,895/M/£490 50/£1,951/M/£490
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service £480/£610/£480 £850/£1,179/£850 £615/£905/£615
Length/wheelbase 4,506/2,450mm 4,440/2,650mm 4,670/2,780mm
Height/width 1,296/1,880mm 1,252/1,929mm 1,370/1,895mm
Engine Flat-six/3,800cc V10/5,204cc V6/3,799cc
Peak power 552/6,500 bhp/rpm 542/8,000 bhp/rpm 542/6,400 bhp/rpm
Peak torque 700/2,100 Nm/rpm 540/6,500 Nm/rpm 632/3,200 Nm/rpm
Transmission 7-spd dual-clutch/4wd 7-spd dual-clutch/4wd 6-spd dual-clutch/4wd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel 68 litres/sealant 90 litres/sealant 74 litres/run-flat
Boot capacity 115 litres 100 litres 315 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight 1,605/385kg 1,595/300kg 1,740/460kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient 10.9 metres/0.31Cd 11.8metres/0.36Cd 12.1metres/0.26Cd
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery 3yrs (unlimited)/2yrs 3yrs (60,000)/3yrs 3yrs (60,000)/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers 20,000 (2yrs)/36 Variable/121 12,500 (1yr)/225
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos. 13th/6th 10th/23rd 12th/11th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./points N/A N/A N/A
0-60/30-70mph 2.8/2.4 secs 4.4*/2.9 secs 3.4/2.9 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th 1.8/2.9 secs 1.9/2.8 secs 2.3/3.4 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th 2.6/3.6 secs 3.1/4.9 secs 3.3/5.1 secs
Top speed/Blyton lap time 197mph/68.9 secs 197mph/N/A 196mph/69.3 secs
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 35.9/26.8/9.6m 47.2/32.5/9.6m* 41.8/30.5/9.6m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph 77/56/69/72dB N/A 70/55/68/74dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl) 26.3/5.8/393 miles 18.1/4.0/358 miles^ 18.9/4.2/308 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 21.4/36.7/29.1mpg 14.2/32.8/21.9mpg 16.6/32/24mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 4.7/8.1/6.4mpl 3.1/7.2/4.8mpl 3.7/7.0/5.3mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket 248/227g/km/35% 361/299g/km/35% 345/275g/km/35%
Adaptive damping/cruise control Yes/yes No/£225 Yes/yes
Airbags/adjustable ESP/park sensors Six/yes/yes Four/yes/£670 Six/yes/camera
Climate control/leather/heated seats Yes/yes/yes Yes/yes/yes Yes/yes/yes
Met paint/LED lights/ceramic brakes Yes/yes/yes Yes/yes/yes Yes/no/no
Sat-nav/DAB radio/Bluetooth Yes/yes/yes Yes/no/yes Yes/no/yes

Disqus - noscript

Supposedly the 2014 GT-R is moving in the direction of improvements in refinement rather than brute performance. Should make choosing it over anything else somewhat easier.

check out the AE fuel economy figures. Porsche, we salute you!

I dont see how they are criticising the interior of the GTR when you consider it is around half the price of the Porsche...

was this based on the MY14 GT-R? - it is suppose to have a new cabin update, suspension refinements for more DD duties, refined drivetrain for low speed travel etc etc. Also - MY14 tests have seen 0-62 mph times in the 2.7 range - do you guys know how to use launch control?

Economy on a super car? No offence but I don't think any one who would buy these cars cares about that.

If cost vs. joy factor would be of any importance, the GT-R should win by a landslide..... Correct me if i'm wrong, but doesn't the New GT-R With it's "R-mode start" give a 0-60 in 2,7 sec?

The R8 makes you look like a footballer, nobody will notice you in the Porsche (which looks the same as every other Porsche ever made) and the GTR will make you look like a drug dealer.

Personally I'd rather look like a successful criminal! The GTR looks amazing in black.

Somehow, according to their own reviews, the GTR has 5 stars and the R8 has 4 yet they're in this order? Go figure. I'd prefer the GTR over most super cars aside from Astons and McClarens

Agree. I would take the GTR every time, even if it meant I looked like a drug dealer...

You have just brought up a point that frankly amazed me when I read this test in print form - the 911 costs £141k the R8 £128k and the GTR a mere £76k! And the fact is there is really nothing between these cars in most respects including performance. So the Nissan has slightly inferior cabin materials. Who gives a s***t? As much as I like the German cars, I would never in a million years pick one of them over the amazing GTR regardless of how much money I had. And just think what you could do with the £65k you saved by not going for the 911...

Indeed, could get yourself a new F-Type Coupe with the savings ;). It also amuses me how in the actual reviews, the Nissan and the Porsche both have 5 stars, yet the Audi has 4.

True. Think people take manufacturers economy figures too seriously anyway. They really should be taken with a pinch of salt, especially on supercars.

am I the only one who thinks the 911 is the best looking car here??? I really dont think the audi is that attractive tbh, despite the craze.

How best looking? Only thing I see is a staid design on the verge of .being too yesteryear, however great in the past , or in isolation. The GTR is peerlessly unmistakable and far more intriguing on top of everything else, IMO. .

Yes and i have never been a fan of porches design yet this latest 911 is quite handsome beast. Never thought i'd say that. The R8 is looking a little long in the tooth now thanks to every other normal Audi bearing the same face and is in need of a refresh.

"low-rent" interior. Honestly AE, do you actually believe your own comments? It's hardly low-rent. Low-rent is hard plastics, fake wood and brittle switchgear... it doesn't have any of those at all.

Give me a GTR any day over an Audi R8 or 911. It's a car bought by someone who wants the best, not what others think.

Sorry, but I think the 911 just looks like the pumped up VW Beetle it was originally related too. The R8 and GTR look mean and agressive - just how a supercar should be.

the gtr certainly is mean and very imposing, saw one the other day actually and WOW it looked massive but I would never call it a handsome beast. and r8 i donno it has the shape of a supecar but i've always found its lines a bit plain and restrained which kinda ruins it for me.

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