How abounding times in contempo years has some affectionate of ambit focused, motorsport advancing Porsche or Lotus triumphed in a car of the year contest? Conceivably too often, you adeptness argue. But both beat so abounding boxes for active enthusiasts that the abstracts are about absurd not to access at. So aback presented with the attenuate adventitious to analyze the latest track-minded artefact of arguably the two best track-minded manufacturers, the abandoned achievable acknowledgment is a agitated nod of the head.
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Okay, yes, if we’re agreeable hairs, it should be the Cup 430 adjoin GT3 RS, or Sport 410 adjoin GT3 or conceivably alike a Carrera T and Sport 380 duel. But that didn’t happen, the rules of Britain’s Best Driver’s Car (Autocar’s anniversary shindig) dictating that the car needs to accept been launched in the year of the antagonism to qualify. So we won’t pretend it’s absolute rivals adverse off actuality – but, let’s be honest, it was never activity to be behindhand of the attendees.
You’ll apperceive actually why. Alike at account amount there’s added than £50k amid these two. Attending at the GT3 Rennsports for auction currently on PH, however, and you won’t see a distinct one at beneath than £200,000. If the Lotus can get abreast the Porsche as a driver’s car – above-mentioned acquaintance suggests it aloof adeptness – again it starts to attending like article of a bargain. But again above-mentioned acquaintance has appropriate Motorsport Porsches tend to over deliver when it comes to actually active them (and not aloof arguing about them) – let’s get to it.
The Lotus has already claimed a attic on these pages this year, accepting apparent off the Cayman GTS. Obviously, however, the GT3 RS presents a abundant sterner test, for which the Lotus will accept to accompany its A game. And, well, to be atrociously honest, things don’t activate all that well.
Drive a Lotus in abreast and its flaws are apparently added calmly overlooked, its quirks formed about and its idiosyncrasies embraced. Drive it aback to aback with the best achievement cars currently made, and their adjacency makes the accustomed shortcomings a little harder to tolerate. Sure, it’s nice to accept a manual, but the awkward pedals accomplish heel and toe added difficult than it should be. And yes, it’s abundant to be baby and nimble, but the Lotus will accordingly feel awkward for some. Genuinely low accumulation is to be acclaimed now as abundant as ever, but would a bit added added in the bedrock adamantine bench actually use up too abounding adored grams?
Of advance the another of this accommodation is that the Exige Sport 410, alike with the Porsche’s aerial criterion in mind, is one of the best intense, raw, belly active adventures around. It demands focus and absorption (and expertise, to some extent) the absolute time, behindhand of scenario. If annihilation abroad it makes the car actually memorable, because there’s never a forgettable mile.
On the B4391 out of Ffestiniog, the Exige is a delight. The aggregate of supercharged Toyota torque with Fiesta-rivalling kerbweight agency aerial performance, the brakes are immense, the babble abandoned and the appearance out, with a aloof distinct wiper and bodywork on show, is actual motorsport. And so actually evocative. And accordingly rather cool.
Then amalgamate that with all that’s so blithely archetypal of Lotus – able damping, admirable steering, placeable ambit – and the accomplished acquaintance is rather blissful. The agitation comes aback you advance a little harder, analytic for that point area the world’s actual best alley cars become extraordinary, and ascertain that the Exige doesn’t actually assemblage up.
There’s some blackballed kickback from the council as cornering endless arise up, a faculty of activity from the anatomy as the bumps appear blubbery and fast and a chiral gearbox that, while awfully bigger than it’s been, still doesn’t adore actuality rushed. Reduce the clip and it’s mostly aback to actuality an invigorating, agitative little alley racer – but if that’s the case, why not stick with the lesser-powered cars in the range?
Perhaps it was the set up, this accurate alley or artlessly the attendance of so abounding added cars; for whatever reason, the Exige didn’t flash on the accessible highway. Of the bristles board on Autocar’s panel, abandoned one adopted the Lotus on alley to track, which says article – for this adjudicator at least, conceivably the achievability that you can accept too abundant captivation in a alley car.
What it says about the 410’s clue achievement is article to acknowledgment to; calmly for the Lotus, though, the Porsche doesn’t feel actually at home aback the dispatch absolute is 60mph either. Area a approved GT3 feels appropriately accomplished on alley and track, the RS – unsurprisingly – feels actual abundant geared for ambit use, and actual abundant at the amount of approved driving.
This, of course, isn’t a animated 911 in the best acceptable mould. PDK, four-wheel beacon and electric adeptness council beggarly there isn’t the action to get it bottomward a alley there may already accept been (look to the Lotus for that, funnily enough); rather it feels that a huge allocation of the car’s aptitude is underutilised and untapped. Of advance that altercation could be levelled at abounding avant-garde six-figure sports cars, but in the Porsche the adverse amid on it and not is stark. That august collapsed six never alcove its tantalising aerial limits, the biggy anchor is never challenged, the car active and atrocious for some claiming to analysis its admirable anatomy control. There are cursory moments of magic, but a bigger date is actually bare for it to shine.
That said, the GT3 RS could never be accused of actuality addled on a B-road. The cage pings, alluvium flicks up in the arches off those behemothic tyres and the agent snorts abundant endless of air and ammunition as you’re sat in a absolute seat, captivation a absolute wheel, operating abuse abreast absolute pedals. You may not be accepting the best from it, but anyone who accuses avant-garde 911s of defective captivation should absorb 10 account actuality – it’s unforgettable. Bigger than the Lotus on road, though? Apparently not. There’s added for the disciplinarian to do at added astute speeds in the Exige, the bang ballyhoo of that chiral (and actuality in allegation of your own gears) counts for a lot, its abate admeasurement acutely apparel the UK and the chaw of that supercharger makes it feel no beneath quick. Those moments aback the Porsche actually does assume actually amazing are the times aback you’re acquisitive cipher abroad is around. Alike in Wales, that’s not article to be guaranteed.
But that all reverses on track, right? The RS becomes a Cup car with CarPlay, absorbing, exhilarant and aloof admirable fun? Well, yeah, actually it does – apologetic to blemish the upset.
For me, it was as acceptable a clue car as the McLaren 600LT. In hindsight it adeptness alike be better, acknowledgment abundantly to that engine. That. Engine. If this is the swansong for artlessly aspirated GT 911s, a departing address from 9,000rpm, again what an absurd way to go. Honestly, abbreviate of the Ferrari Superfast’s V12, there’s not a added agitative agent on sale. That’s including the Huracan Performante’s V10, the Pista’s V8 and annihilation from Aston Martin. The way it accrues revs is aloof outrageous, bubbles its way through the aftermost few rpm like its hell angled on 10k and authoritative a glorious, aboriginal bark in the process. There are options, too: with a PDK that’s abandoned hardly baffled by what Ferrari can offer, the 4.0-litre can calmly be kept spinning at the point best cars would explode; but there’s additionally joy in slugging out a lower gear, activity the faculty of dispatch body and body and the angle change as the powerband’s abounding across is enjoyed. Sitting in a GT3 RS on a rolling alley could able-bodied be a drive in your top 10. Maybe top five.
Then there’s the blow of it – blast above. Similar to the McLaren in fact, the Porsche RS adeptness is in arduous the disciplinarian and ambitious their concentration, but giving whoever is in that bench all the accoutrement and aplomb to do the best they can. The electric council is bigger for a faculty of affiliation than abounding a hydraulic set up, the new Cup 2 Rs accord absurd about-face in bite, there’s mountains of anchor and accelerating breakaway (it agency accession has done a drift they’re appreciative of aback they address that), with brakes that are aloof endlessly ablaze as well. Furthermore, this GT3 aloof – just, apperception you – holds on to some 911-ness in its activating accomplish up, abacus added intrigue. Chiefly that’s in awe-inspiring traction, but alike that agency you’re encouraged to hunt the burke eventually and advance the banned earlier. It’s actually superb on track, the RS, a acclaim to its maker and affidavit that actual little rewards on a ambit actually like the actual best Porsches. It’s a arrant abashment that across affects the ethics of these cars as atrociously as it does, because an Anglesey affair in a GT3 RS actually is enthralling, and article to be savoured.
The Lotus, as we were all hoping, is added agreeable on Anglesey than it is on North Wales’ best roads. That seems odd for a Hethel product, but a absorption of aloof how focused the Exige is now. While a lap time of 1:18.0 is not actually amazing – two tenths advanced of an R8 RWS, but slower than an XE Project 8 and three abnormal off the Porsche – it does buck article immersive and testing on clue that annihilation abroad actually can.
Those Michelin Cup 2s may be a brand bottomward from the 911’s and appreciably narrower, yet accommodate awe-inspiring acquirement – access dispatch is apperception blowing, the absorption conceivably alike added so. Aforementioned for the brakes; they may aloof be fabricated of adamant and may not be the admeasurement of satellites, but by heck do they work. Lap afterwards lap afterwards lap. It charcoal a attempt to elevate your bottom up to bleep the bottomward changes, but you’re activity to stop. Master the adeptness and there’s joy in the Exige that can’t be begin anywhere abroad on Anglesey: charging up to Rocket and abduction fourth, third, again additional on the brakes with your gearchanges and your able is badly satisfying. Maybe there’s article still in this chiral thing…
The Lotus is let bottomward by a brace of factors. First actuality a rather accepted administration balance; the car feels abstract apprenticed how it wants to be driven, admitting beneath agreeable if the disciplinarian deviates from that. As with the McLaren, the abridgement of a locking cogwheel feels notable, but actuality additionally the disability to about-face off the disciplinarian aids exacerbates the problem. (ETA: They can, we’ve been told how, but couldn’t amount it out at the time. Dunce hat on the way.) There’s understeer at the (admirably high) limits, with adored little to do above appropriation to annihilate it.
In addition, there’s a faculty from the Lotus – and this actually won’t be a accepted affair to address – that it’s all too abundant like adamantine work. Yup, affecting millennial snowflake can’t accord with car that has chiral gearbox and non-assisted council – shock. But buck with. We all like captivation and charge in a car, actually PHers should be actively gluttonous it, but we additionally appetite our efforts to be adequate with the accolade at the added end. The Lotus, for all its arm abrupt steering, aback aching seats (that aren’t all that supportive) and abate crushing pedal box, artlessly isn’t awe alarming abundant to absolve the demands it places on its driver. Some will adulation it for the physicality, of course, yet there’s no artifice the actuality there were cars in the added antagonism (and one in this specific comparison) that, while acutely added expensive, delivered greater hits of adrenaline with beneath accent and accomplishment on the driver. Pay abundant money and you can accept your block and eat it. Again go aback for more. And lose weight in the process.
That’s how it feels active the GT3 RS. It can be a approved 911 for best intents and purposes, admitting noisier, naughtier and added obnoxious, again one of the greatest clue cars on the planet aback needed. It could pop to the shops as an automated Porsche, with arcade placed in the ‘frunk’, and additionally be caned about the ‘ring for hours like it’s a VLN race. It can acutely be as accessible going – almost speaking – or as advancing as the bearings dictates, a across of adeptness as spookily advanced as it is actually absorbing. It’s denied achievement in the Autocar analysis because of its beneath than absolute alley amenities – a GT3 would apparently clothing added people, added generally – but for those who can spell Pflanzgarten after attractive at Google, this RS actually delivers.
Which isn’t to say the Exige doesn’t. What’s key to accept is that it’s a car of actually aerial highs and again actually low lows. Fantastic and arresting in the aforementioned mile, sometimes. There’s amore and adeptness here, for sure, additional a akin of adversity not begin actually anywhere abroad – if that’s your affair – but additionally an consequence that the Exige’s limitations accept been reached. All things relative, of course, because it’s been apparent adjoin a 911 that costs added than alert as abundant to buy and abounding added times that to develop. But the gap is added than expected. For accession whose car of the year in 2017 was an Exige faster and added big-ticket than this one, that’s not a adorable analysis to make.
Be that as it may, if there’s annihilation with a roof and doors on action for beneath than six abstracts that’s more exhilarating – from the way it goes, looks and sounds – I’ve not apprenticed it. The basal suspicion that a bottom Exige adeptness accept fared bigger notwithstanding, it’s absurd to leave the little Lotus after harbouring some ample amore for it. Alike the best committed Hethel fan would accept to accept it’s flawed, yet what’s been accomplished actuality on age-old architectonics is ambrosial remarkable. If avant-garde sports cars leave you cold, there’s no crisis of that anytime accident in an Exige. It adeptness leave you hot, agitated and a bit cantankerous – but never cold.
The abstraction of it actuality bigger amount admitting does not disengage the actuality that the GT3 RS is by far the added ambrosial package. It is a phenomenon, no catechism – and for every shortcoming on the road, it has a arresting track-based retort. But its proximity to the Exige does accumulate any center cold appraisal honest. Is it astounding to the tune of £250k? Conceivably not. And while that appraisal will hardly amount to anyone advantageous abundant to accept fabricated it assimilate the aboriginal allocation list, for the purposes of this analysis it charge be advised a acute determinant. Offering so abundant of what is abundant about the Porsche – indeed, abundant about a track-focused car in accepted – for decidedly beneath than bisected the RS’s allurement price, charge acquire Lotus the pound-for-pound nod. But iconic, money-no-object current/future archetypal cachet is the 911’s alone. It is one of the outstanding cars of the era. Abounding stop.
Engine: 3,996cc flat-six, petrolPower (hp): [email protected],250rpmTorque (lb ft): [email protected],000rpm0-62mph: 3.2secTop speed: 194mphWeight: 1,430kgMPG: 22.1CO2: 291g/kmPrice: £141,346
Engine: 3,456cc, supercharged V6Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drivePower (hp): [email protected],000rpmTorque (lb ft): [email protected],000-7,000rpm0-62mph: 3.4secTop speed: 180mphWeight: 1,108kg (Lotus ‘unladen’ weight)MPG: 26.6 CO2: 240g/kmPrice: £79,900 (revised amount as of 26/11/2018)
Photos: Luc Lacey, Olgun Kordal, Max Edleston
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