31 January 2014

C7 or 911?

I’ve been following the development of the C7 Corvette for a long time — everything from trying to pry a few hints out of GM’s Ed Welburn when I’d see him at events to making sure that I was present at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit when it was unveiled in January 2013. And I’m one of those rare guys who is both a Corvette and a Porsche fan, owning both a 1967 911S and a 1963 Split Window coupe.

Having recently taken delivery of a 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, I was more than anxious to see how the new Porsche and Corvette stacked up against each other in an informal “daily driver” setting. I have to say that I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I was floored at what you get for the money in the Corvette.  From a seat-of-the-pants standpoint, it was virtually impossible to discern any performance difference between the two cars. I doubt that it could be done on a public road without endangering car, driver and all bystanders.

Although they statistically match up pretty closely, the Corvette’s V-8 felt like it had much more low-end torque, which made it feel like the faster car. It’s a testament to the 911’s advanced PDK transmission that the six-cylinder 911 makes it such a close match.

As an aside, I have to mention that far more people took cell phone shots of me driving the Corvette than the Porsche. Although the 991 is the all-new version of the 911, there’s a lot that’s familiar in it and the noticeable distinctions are less obvious. Not so with the Corvette. It’s really made the leap from America’s sports car to America’s super car. And I am sure the recently announced Z06 will solidify this.

From a build quality standpoint, the C7 is a huge step forward for Corvette. It felt solid and well built, and compared to the Porsche, where I expect the block-of-granite/bank-vault solidity, this is high praise for the Corvette.

My only complaint about the Corvette was the exhaust note. Maybe I was expecting a roar similar to an Audi TDI-powered LeMans car under full load, but it fell a bit flat for me.

As to which car I’d like to drive every day, it’s a bit of a toss-up. In bad weather, the 911’s AWD would give it the nod, but any other day, it depends on your mood — barbeque versus schnitzel, I suppose.

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