Blue is the colour

CAR (UK) - - Sports Car Giant Test 2020 - Words Ben Barry

Like James, I didn’t get much sleep last night – partly the in­ten­sity of all that driv­ing, but also be­cause we’d be in the Supreme Court if we were mak­ing a tougher de­ci­sion. There were no dis­ap­point­ments, cer­tainly not the 911 Turbo S we’ve placed last. The Porsche is an as­ton­ish­ing car. It has the ride com­fort, tech­nol­ogy and lung­ing speed to make coun­tries feel like coun­ties, the all-wheel-drive se­cu­rity to shrug off aw­ful weather and the poise and per­for­mance to thrill. Had we given daily us­abil­ity equal billing to driver en­ter­tain­ment, the 911 would’ve walked it – it’s the most all-round-ca­pa­ble car here.

The Hu­ra­can Evo RWD places fourth. It is in­tim­i­dat­ing and a lit­tle flawed (if not to drive), but it is also a sur­pris­ingly ex­ploitable ana­logue su­per­car, one that bris­tles with char­ac­ter and has a mas­ter­piece of a V10. The RWD is not only the least ex­pen­sive Lambo, it’s the best.

The McLaren 765LT was our pre-test favourite, but places third partly be­cause the 720S it’s based on is al­ready so pol­ished. Pre­vi­ous Long­tails have de­liv­ered not only faster lap times but also a more tac­tile road drive. This lat­est LT is firmer, louder, lighter, grip­pier and – mind-blow­ingly – sig­nif­i­cantly quicker too, but it doesn’t ma­te­ri­ally im­prove the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. On track, we’ve no doubt its un­com­pro­mis­ing re­vi­sions el­e­vate it be­yond the 720S, most no­tably that car’s lack of trac­tion when re­ally pushed. But you’ll need to be a hard­core track-goer for an LT to be a bet­ter fit than a 720S.

The 718 Cay­man GTS could barely be more dif­fer­ent. It is sub­limely bal­anced for the road, with com­pact di­men­sions, a fab­u­lously sup­ple ride and the most in­tu­itive mid-en­gined han­dling, matched with pre­ci­sion steer­ing and a slick man­ual gearshift. Best of all, it’s now topped off with the nat­u­rally-as­pi­rated flat-six, not the flat-four with which pre­vi­ous 718s have been ham­strung. This is per­for­mance you can use ev­ery­where. Most im­pres­sively, the Cay­man can hold its own even when you for­get value for money – it’s sim­ply fan­tas­tic to drive. But add in its rel­a­tive af­ford­abil­ity, prac­ti­cal­ity and us­abil­ity and this is an un­beat­able pack­age.

Yet ul­ti­mately the Porsche couldn’t stand in the way of the Fer­rari. The F8 is a su­per­car so sweetly bal­anced it could win Strictly. It does much of what the Cay­man does so well: glid­ing over the sur­face, arc­ing deftly through turns, re­spond­ing to ev­ery in­put with wheel and ped­als. But it also takes that com­pe­tence to an­other level en­tirely cour­tesy of a twin-turbo V8 de­liv­er­ing mon­strous per­for­mance and a chas­sis that’s even more ex­ploitable. That such a pow­er­ful ma­chine can still be en­joyed sen­si­bly on the road only seals the deal; 2020 is Maranello’s year.

‘Ben, we’re done. Ben! BEN!’

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