November 8, 2012 6:59 AM |
Posted By: Secret Supercar Owner
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by 4 members
We were sitting in the conservatory having breakfast on a cold wet November Saturday morning. The rivers of water were just pouring down the glass roof, liquid sunshine at its best. From across the table the question was lofted into the air, “what is the best supercar for winter?” This set off quite the debate. First up was agreeing a set of criteria, it would need to be able to handle snow, rain, frozen roads, and survive being covered in both grit & salt. Being able to carry a couple of pairs of skis would be added bonus.
Just to stir the waters, my initial suggestion was the Porsche Cayenne Turbo. I tried to defend the Cayenne by stating that it had a better 0-60 mph time than the Aston Martin Vanquish only to be told off and reminded that this was a discussion on supercars, not supertrucks. With the threat of being tossed out into the rain, we agreed to stick to the cars on the EVO supercar list. The question then became, what attributes would a supercar need to have to make it winter friendly. Four wheel drive was an easy one to agree on, the second was a bit of a contradiction. Ideally it would need decent ground clearance. Not really something most supercars are noted for.
At this point we just started listing cars that came to mind which we thought would fit the bill. First up was the Audi R8 V10. However a quick check of the EVO Supercar list put an end to R8’s hopes. Too bad as I did think the R8 V10 would have been a serious contender. The Bentley Continental GT was up next, same fate as the R8 though. Finally using the EVO list as a guide, the five that did make the first cut were the Porsche 911 Turbo, Ferrari FF, Bugatti Veyron, Lamborghini Gallardo, and Lamborghini Aventador. The need for some ground clearance narrowed the list down to the 911 Turbo and the FF pretty quickly. I have driven the 911 Turbo and FF in dry and wet conditions. In both conditions, they are brilliant and grip is more than ample. Snow however is another issue altogether and I have zero experience with either on roads covered in the white mushy stuff. Hence a final recommendation was not something I was in a position to give.
A bit of research on winter road tests for the two contenders indicated that both the Porsche and Ferrari are very sure footed in the messy stuff. The combination of 4 wheel drive with state of the art stability and anti-lock brake systems that both cars are equipped with get the job done highly competently. Only issue, I could not find a single group test that compared the two on snow. About the only thing I could find that would tilt the field in either direction was the fact that the FF has a hatch so you can carry a ski bag in the back. Nice feature but something more performance based should determine the winner. Essentially, based on the information available, it looks like a tossup between the two, and that is where we netted out.
It does sound like a great topic for a group test. Maybe then we will have a clear winner.
With temperatures still in the single digits as April rapidly approaches, it appears winter has no intention of going away anytime soon. After several recent drives out in supercars devoid of modern electronics on nearly frozen roads requiring both a high degree of skill and concentration to keep things pointed in the right direction, what other options should be considered came back to mind. While the Ferrari FF and Porsche 911 Turbo are still the leading contenders (if the Audi R8 V10 gets promoted to the Supercar list it would also be a front runner), perhaps a mid engine 2WD coupe with advanced stability systems might not be a bad option either. I do have one close friend who swears his Ferrari 360 Spider is brilliant in the snow. He claims that having the engine near the rear wheels gives it both great traction and balance. On paper it actually does make some sense. After all, Ferrari originally ran their On Ice Winter Driving Program using 430s. If it works on a 360 & 430, then with the advances in stability control systems it should be even better on the latest generation of supercars. With this in mind a quick scan of the EVO Supercar list through up a few new options, the Ferrari 458, Lexus LFA, & the McLaren 12C. While all 3 have state of the art traction control systems, the air brake and brake steering on the 12C might give it an interesting advantage over the other two. At a minimum it would make for a very interesting “On Ice” group test. As "Global Colding" seems to be here to stay, a supercar that you can use year round in all conditions is becoming more and more appealing.
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