By on November 25, 2014

20141121_083955

Anybody notice I’ve been gone for a while?

No?

Thought as much. Well, the truth is that I’ve been circling the world drain racetrack putting together a comparison test of late-model supercars for you, the discerning TTAC reader. As fate would have it, however, there were too many cars involved. So I need your help.

I’m going to list the following automobiles:

  • Ferrari 458 Italia
  • Ferrari 430 F1
  • Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 (2013 final model, AWD, e-Gear)
  • Lamborghini Gallardo LP500-2 Ad Personam (2013 final model, RWD, e-Gear)
  • McLaren MP4-12C hardtop
  • Mercedes-AMG SLS Roadster
  • Audi R8 4.2 R-Tronic
  • Nissan GT-R Premium

As part of a gig I took last week coaching for a supercar rental company (more about that later, I promise) I was able to take multiple laps around a road course in all of these cars, in both dry and wet-weather conditions, and I took pretty careful notes about the differences and similarities between them.

As a bonus feature, I’ll discuss how three of the up-to-the-moment supercars I’ve driven lately — the Nissan GT-R NISMO, Ferrari 458 Speciale and the McLaren 650S — compare to the ones in our list.

So. Eight cars. Pick four, give your reasons if you like. At the end of tomorrow I’ll read all the comments and the comparison test will run starting Monday. Over to you, B&B!

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56 Comments on “Choose your Own Supercar Test Adventure...”


  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    The 2 Gallardos, the GT-R and whatever else people decide on.

    I was did one of those “XTREME DRVR XXXPERIENCE”s and everyone who drove the Gallardo LP550-4 said it was a real handful.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    You look good, a little worried, but good

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    How about establishing a baseline in a car more of us working stiffs have a hope of actually owning. Just to make it more interesting. So when I read about these fabulous cars that I will never afford or often see in person I can say to myself “o yeah, well the ____ will do it just about as well for 200 grand less! Suggestions: Mustang GT 350, Camaro ZL1, new Miata, Stingray

  • avatar

    Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 (2013 final model, AWD, e-Gear) and Audi R8 (wish it was V10) – how similar/different these cars really are.

    Ferrari 458 Italia and McLaren MP4-12C hardtop – I have driven both at a snail’s pace. They’re similar but different, want to know what you think.

    I assume that tires will play a major role here.

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    So the Ferrari®©™ is a non Ferrari®©™ Brand Ferrari®©™ mechanic staffed press ringer?

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Out of my league. I can tell the difference between an F150 with an Ecoboost and with a V8 ;)

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Has to be the 458, Gallardo LP560-4, MP4-12C, and GT-R.

    The 430 is old, the LP500-2 is sort of a bizarre curiosity, the SLS is a roadster, and the Audi has the wrong transmission.

  • avatar
    David Walton

    458 and 12C

    Plus 2 others.

  • avatar
    Charlie84

    Any of the above except the GT-R, about which enough ink has been spilled. There’s only so many ways to say “It’s a supercomputer on wheels!!”

    Comparing the Ferraris to one another, or the Gallardos to one another, could be a useful comparison and you wouldn’t be repeating any magazine comparo that I know of. So I guess my vote is for the four Italians.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Mercedes is a Paris Hilton ride, skip. Lambo are 2013 models, outdated. R8 is going to be perfect and boring, skip.

    Just like the elections, choose by elimination.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      If Baruth can make Accords and Town Cars exciting, you just watch what he can do with an R8.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “Mercedes is a Paris Hilton ride, skip”

      Ohh, really? Let me just put this right here.

      http://youtu.be/irE3uZbj_xs

      Why does it matter? Paris Hilton can buy any car she wants. It’s silly to not want a car because she or anybody else owns one. Just my opinion. YMMV.

    • 0 avatar

      You would be surprised by the AMG. Yes, it was a roadster, but in the right hands it was capable of running down some of the others. As the only front engined, rear wheel drive car there, it could be argued it was the purist choice by strict sportscar definitions.

      A lot of clients at the event were surprised by the guttural snarl of the exhaust and the capabilities of the 6.3.

      I was almost dismissive of the car as well until I was asked to drive a client for a ride along. It earned it’s place among the other choices.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I’m interested in seeing these:

    Nissan GTR

    Audi R8

    Mclaren McP-12C

    Mercedes AMG

    With the Lambos, maybe you should combine both accounts into one and tell us the difference between them, RWDAWD aside.

  • avatar
    vaujot

    I vote for
    Ferrari 458
    Lamborghini Gallardo (either one)
    McLaren
    Don’t care what you chose as the fourth car, not interested in any of them. BTW, I thought, you were against open-face-helmets.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I am. However in a situation like this it’s the only way for the student to hear you effectively. Chatterboxes don’t typically survive switching between a dozen different cars to coach twenty-five clients per day for four days straight.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    Since you did not prohibit it, I’m going to exercise my right to cumulatively vote and cast all 4 ballots for the McLaren.

    I want to know how good (or bad) they really are. The Chris Harris “/Drive” review of the P1, factory tour, and interview with the P1’s engineers showed a company where excellence was expected. Not that I’m in the market, but knowing if the hype lived up to the reality would be good.

  • avatar
    stuki

    I’d say the Roadster. I’ve driven a Speziale (On the Autostrada, not track) and while impressive; loud, showwy, silly cars just make more sense without roofs.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    The Jesus-in-a-helmet pic.

    And yes, I’ll play:

    458 Italia
    McLaren (ummm… because McLaren)
    R8
    GT-R

    They’re each out of my price range (only a little, lol), so my experience is limited with them.

    And I’m only slightly jealous. Dammit.

    Sigh.

  • avatar

    Ferrari, Ferrari, McLaren and…. Ok Mercedes. Go for it!

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    McLaren, Mercedes, Audi, and the 458 Italia.

    Driving all these cars back to back, do they all kind of run together in your mind, or do they have distinct personalities?

    EDIT: Forgot the reasons. The McLaren, because I am fascinated by it. The Audi and the Mercedes because I think they would be more usable in normal street driving, and the 458 because it just wouldn’t be an exoticar comparo without a Ferrari.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    458, LP560-4, PM12-4C and AMG SLS Roadster

    Why? Because that’s what I’d buy if I could pick 4. I’m especially enamored with the Benz since I was able to try out a coupe. Dat engine note.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    That’s awesome that you get to say “sorry I’ve been Mia lately; been too busy tracking late-model supercars.”

    Anyway, I vote for the two Ferraris, rwd lambo, and the mp4-12c.

  • avatar
    7402

    Not a niche I shop in, but here’s how I’d go about deciding:

    –keep the Nissan as it’s the only one not made in Europe, then
    –drop the lowest and highest MSRP cars, then
    –if any manufacturer is represented by more than one car, drop the cheapest of the pair
    –employ some random method to get rid of any spares

  • avatar
    th009

    Ferrari 430 F1
    Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4
    McLaren MP4-12C
    Audi R8 4.2 R-Tronic

    I was tempted by the SLS but I’m really interested in the comparison and contrast between the Gallardo and the R8.

  • avatar
    JimmyBucco

    The GT-R The Audi R8, The McLaren MP4-12C and the Mercedes. Please.

  • avatar
    koshchei

    Sorry, Jack. The Viper is the only car in that category that interests me even slightly.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Whatever you do DON’T pick 2 Ferrari’s AND 2 Lamborghini’s. I would feel just a bit like we were being cheated out of reviews of 4 completely different cars.

    Giving us print reviews of those four would be like saying you were going to review a Challenger SRT-8, Challenger Hellcat, and then Camaro SS and Camaro ZL1.

  • avatar
    matador

    The Audi, Both Ferraris, and the Merc.

  • avatar

    I’m most interested to hear your thoughts, so I can compare them to my own.

    It certainly is an interesting weekend, but I still walked away liking the R8 over all the others.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Ferrari 458 Italia
    Lamborghini Gallardo LP500-2
    McLaren MP4-12C hardtop
    Audi R8

  • avatar
    wmba

    Ferrari 458
    McLaren MP4
    Lamborghini LP560
    Nissan GT-R

    Out of those the Ferrari and McLaren interest me most, the McLaren because of its completely unique suspension.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    “putting together a comparison test of late-model supercars …there were too many cars involved. So I need your help”

    Christ, talk about first-world problems. Pick your favorite 4, and tell us how they compare to a Pentastar Caravan.

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    I look forward to reading your appraisal of the GT-R.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Ferrari 458: Only if you think it is better than the 430. They seem like same philosophy cars.

    Gallardo 560-4: I’d be really interested in a manual gallardo but I feel that at these power numbers the AWD would be faster, and since they both have e-gear…Also, the AWD version makes the R8 redundant, especially if it also has the same transmission.

    MP4-12C: It’s unique suspension design is worth a closer look, and I’d like to see how you judge it on track. Now that we know how much of a chubby the Viper gives you it should be interesting to see how you take to this one.

    SLS Roadster: Because it should be the Viper of the group. I want to know if you just like this layout or if Dodge just did a great job with the car.

    Don’t include the GTR. We know all about it and we all respect it already. I suppose it could take the place of the Gallardo 560, but that would mean loosing out on all three of the Audis.

  • avatar
    Ihatejalops

    Wait, how come Mick Foley looks so sad?

  • avatar
    turbosaab

    Rio, Versa, Fit, Mazda2

  • avatar
    Luke42

    [Deleted. My comment wasn’t bad, but this isn’t my scene.]

  • avatar
    RHD

    My method of selection would be to eliminate anything with an automatic transmission. Slushboxes, no matter how refined, are for rental cars and those who are either disabled or too lazy to learn how to drive… and for trophy wives, who fit in some of the previous categories.
    Hopfully there are still enough to choose from.

  • avatar
    msher4

    F430
    McLaren
    Audi
    Nissan

    Here’s why: the 458 is new, reviewed a lot, and has every trick ever in it. It’s also hard to acquire and expensive.
    But the 430 can be had used for a decent price – does it stand up still and is it worth the coin? Let’s hear about the McLaren as the gizmo car, which I feel hasn’t been covered as much. I think the Audi will bring up the rear, but maybe it will not and want to hear your thoughts to see if I’m right. And, since Godzilla is a well known quantity and typically the star I think it serves as a good reference by which to understand your point of view and better understand your thoughts on the the other three.

    The lambo twins are just not interesting to me at all.
    I would be interested in SLS thoughts, but not in the top four.

  • avatar
    2fast4u

    The 2 gallardos i want to see how they compare to each other and it would be interesting to see that up against the 458 and the gtr

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    Jesus looks great in a crash helmet. Bet he sets a trend in heaven.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Nissan, Audi, Mercedes and the 458.

  • avatar
    Eiriksmal

    Jack, you know we’ll always love you and never leave you.

    I got a chance to read your lengthy R&T car of the year article this week. I prefer your insane, lengthy expositions on here and your blog, but I understand not everyone can or wants to read a Neal Stephenson or William Gibson in a lil’ magazine. You’re the closest thing I’ve found to a Haruki Murakami of journalism.

    So, with your R&T experiences fresh in your mind, I’m curious as to what’s the real difference between an insanely-expensive GT-R premium and a *ridiculously* expensive NISMO GT-R. Contrasting a regular 370Z with the NISMO 370Z is a lot more straightforward (more power! More fast corners!), but for something that’s already at the GT-R’s performance envelope..? Does it matter? Is the extra performance attainable?

    As to your actual question: I concur with Kamil, how does the last AWD Gallardo compare with its sibling?

  • avatar

    I too instructed at one of these fiascos. I found the E 63 AMG to be an amazing vehicle, the S 63 AMG to make the best noise, the Ferrari 430 and the Gallardo to be gigantic heaps of shit and the Carrera 4S to be the best of the lot by far.

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