Car group tests

Audi R8 vs Porsche 911 Turbo S

Ultimate sports cars go head-to-head as new Audi R8 V10 Plus meets Porsche 911 Turbo S

Few cars caused as much of a stir as the original Audi R8. When it was unveiled in 2006, the mid-engined supercar was a world away from the brand’s sensible saloons and hatchbacks. Nearly a decade on, Audi has pulled the wraps off an all-new version.

• Best supercars to buy now

Okay, so it doesn’t look much different – the brand didn’t want to mess with a winning formula – but it’s transformed under the skin. It’s lost weight for starters, plus the V10 engine is more powerful. There’s also a faster-acting gearbox and different suspension. Yet the roomy, well equipped interior, good-sized boot and all-wheel drive mean this supercar can be used every day.

Another car that effortlessly mixes warp-speed performance with a seamless ability to handle the daily grind is the Porsche 911 Turbo S. Relentlessly honed over four decades, the rear-engined model has a blend of high-performance heritage and cutting-edge technology that makes it one of the most desirable sports cars on the planet.

So which of our contenders will deliver the knockout blow in this bruising encounter?

Head to head

Engines

Our duo have very different engines. The Audi’s 602bhp 5.2-litre V10 is proudly displayed under a glass tailgate, sounds great, revs to 8,500rpm and has razor-sharp responses.

The 911’s 3.8-litre flat-six is hidden from view and sounds muted in comparison, but the addition of twin turbos yields 552bhp and a thumping 750Nm.

Aerodynamics

While R8 Plus models get a fixed carbon-fibre rear spoiler, the 911 goes more hi-tech. Both front and rear spoilers can be extended by up to 25mm and 75mm respectively. There are Normal, Speed and Performance settings, and at 186mph the S generates 132kg of downforce.

On the road

Given the performance potential of these cars, it’s no surprise both are offered with advanced driving tuition. These one-to-one courses take place at the brands’ respective ‘experience’ centres, both of which are located at the Silverstone circuit in Northants.

Verdict

First place: Audi R8

Audi has managed to make the already exciting R8 even more thrilling. Lighter and faster than ever, this mid-engined missile turns every journey into an event. At the heart of its appeal is the 5.2-litre V10, which delivers incredible performance and a thrilling soundtrack. Factor in the involving handling, supple ride and beautiful cabin, and this is a supercar you can live with every day.

Second place: Porsche 911 Turbo S

The Porsche loses out by a whisker in this encounter. Mind-scrambling performance, engaging driving dynamics and unrivalled all-weather security are highlights, as is the surprising practicality. Yet the 911 lacks the visual and aural drama of the R8, plus it costs more to buy. Still, a new 911 Turbo S is just around the corner, so round two is on the cards.

Coming soon

Porsche 911 Turbo S

Due: Feb 2016 Price: £145,773Engine: 3.8-litre flat-six, 572bhp

New 2016 Porsche 911 Turbo S side

Order your 911 Turbo S today, and by the time delivery is due, you’ll get the facelifted car. Despite its 20bhp boost and claimed 2.9-second 0-62mph time, the new model emits less CO2 and uses less fuel. It’s pricey, though, at £145,773.

Figures

 Audi R8 V10 PlusPorsche 911 Tubo S 
On-the-road price/total as tested£134,500/£154,225£143,045/£145,132
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)£68,192/50.7%£65,801/46.0%
Depreciation£66,309£77,244
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£9,868/£19,735£10,517/£21,034
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£2,697/£4,495£2,543/£4,238
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost50/£1,224/M/£50550/£1,298/L/£490
Servicing costs£999/£869/£1,613£550/£1,250/£550
   
Length/wheelbase4,426/2,650mm4,506/2,450mm
Height/width1,240/1,940mm1,296/1,880mm
EngineV10/5,204ccFlat-six/3,800cc
Peak power 602/8,250 bhp/rpm552/6,500 bhp/rpm
Peak torque 560/6,500 Nm/rpm750/2,100 Nm/rpm
Transmission 7-spd twin-clutch/4WD7-spd twin-clutch/4WD
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel73 litres/foam68 litres/foam
Boot capacity 112 litres115 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,555/340kg1,605/385kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient11.2 metres/N/A10.9 metres/0.31Cd
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (60,000)/3yrs 3yrs (unltd)/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealersVariable/12112,000 (2yrs)/36
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.13th/25th6th/8th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./starsN/AN/A
   
0-60/30-70mph2.9/2.2 secs2.8/2.1 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th 1.6/2.3 secs1.7/2.6 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th 2.9/4.0/5.1 secs2.6/3.6/6.0 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 205mph/2,900rpm198mph/2,300rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 40.1/33.2/8.9m35.9/26.8/9.6m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph66/50/67/76dB77/56/69/72dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range23.1/5.1/371 miles24.5/5.4/366 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined16.1/30.4/23.0mpg21.4/37.0/29.1mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined3.5/6.7/5.1mpl4.7/8.1/6.4mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket283/287g/km/37%266/227g/km/37%
   
Airbags/Isofix/rear parking sensorsFour/yes/yesSix/£121/yes
Adaptive dampers/stability/cruise ctrl£1,600/yes/£275Yes/yes/£299
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes
Metallic paint/LED lights/keyless goYes/yes/yesYes/yes/£744
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes

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