Porsche’s 911 Turbo S Cabriolet is like an open-top laser guided missile. It can steer with the rear wheels, is capable of a top speed just shy of the old GT2 and rockets to 60 mph in three seconds.
It comes with an interior that embarrasses most other cars in both quality and style, but in order to take one of them home, you’re looking at spending close to or above $200,000. Head-over-heels as I am for the stuff coming out of Zuffenhausen, it’s hard to get around how expensive it is and AutoGuide.com hot shoe Dave Pratte decided to make a bet with me.
He thought the Jaguar F-Type V8 S in all its supercharged V8 glory would be able to dissolve my Porsche-favoring pretension. Dave can be pretty silly, but I decided to humor him so we spent a day driving together to test his theory.
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The Numbers Side-By-Side
As a recap, the Porsche costs a little bit over $195,000 to start and the model I borrowed retails for a couple hundred hairs over $202,000. For that price, you’re getting a twin-turbo 3.8-liter flat six that pushes out 560 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque.
That power goes to all four wheels through Porsche’s industry-leading seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Shifting is virtually instant with what feels like surgical precision.
For all that power, the gas mileage isn’t horrible either. According to the EPA, you should expect 17 mpg around town or 24 miles per milk jug during open road driving. Impressively, I managed to get better mileage than that while cruising at an admittedly lazy pace on the freeway.
On top of that, the front compartment is big enough to hold a couple of carry-on sized suitcases. It’s also theoretically possible to carry three passengers assuming nobody in the car is particularly tall. Otherwise the rear “seats” make carrying larger luggage possible.
Meanwhile in Jaguarland, the F-Type relies on a much larger engine and the other kind of forced induction. As you probably know, it has a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 that makes 495 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque.
It reaches the mile-per-minute mark in 4.2 seconds and powers the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic. Vulgar as that might seem beside the PDK, shifts are quick and hard to argue with when you consider that perceiving fractions of a second is difficult if not impossible without computer measurement.
Pricing kicks off at $92,000 for that car and can climb above $100,000 and that’s where
Dave made his biggest point: for half the price, the Jaguar sacrifices cargo space, 65 hp, 93 lb-ft of torque and roughly a second in the sprint to 60. Does it sit in the same league as the perversely powerful Porsche? Not even close, but does it really even matter? That’s what we set out to decide.
Interiors Put in Perspective
Jaguar builds spectacular interiors so it stands to reason that the F-Type might also rank at or among the top and it does, but it isn’t perfect. Some of the surfaces are made of hard plastic and the seat leather feels less supple than the skin Porsche uses.
The seats are generously adjustable, but they still can’t be tweaked to the same granular level as the (optional) 18-way driver’s chair in the 911. Both cabins are world-class, but it’s obvious that Porsche spends more time sweating the smaller details. All the panels and pieces fit like a tailored suit and every inch of the 911 feels expensive; especially the real carbon fiber inlays.
The Real World of Driving
At least one thing is true of both products: they are eerily representative of their countries. The Porsche is powerful and feels calculated in every imaginable sense. Want to rocket forward? It has you covered. Does care-free cornering catch your fancy? This is your ride. But there are some things the craziest 911 currently being sold can’t do.
For example, one makes a much better head-turner than the other.
For something with the sort of power that puts it in supercar territory, few people who aren’t Porsche enthusiasts notice that you’re driving something special. To most of them, it looks like “another Porsche” and that’s a shame because it really, really isn’t.
It’s a different story when you drive the Jag. It doesn’t seem to matter who they are, people pay attention when an F-Type rolls by. That might have to do with the way it looks, but the sharp sound coming from the back certainly plays a big part as well.
Both cars are absolutely stunning to see in person, but the 911 is more germane to avoiding attention while the Jaguar demands to be noticed.
|Vehicle||2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet||Advantage||2014 Jaguar F-Type V8 S|
|Engine||Turbocharged 3.8-liter flat six||–||Supercharged 5.0-liter V8|
|Transmission||Seven-speed PDK||Porsche||Eight-speed automatic|
|Torque||553 lb-ft||Porsche||460 lb-ft|
|0-60||3 seconds||Porsche||4.2 seconds|
For all our bickering about which car is better, Dave and I were about as close to conceding as Bush and Gore were about the ballot count in Florida. Rather than fighting over numbers, we switched keys.
Rip-Roaring Good Times or Satisfyingly Sophisticated
When Dave handed me the fob, it was actually my first time driving an F-Type. In fact, the footage in our video review is honest documentation of my initial reaction to the car.
The truth is, it’s the more engaging of the two because even a light stab at the gas can overwhelm the tires and send the back end sliding. Punch the exhaust and dynamic buttons and suddenly the car becomes almost deafeningly loud, so its no wonder people stare. I imagine owning a V8 F-Type would be something like having a Harley Davidson motorcycle without the leather chaps and Hells Angels image. There’s more than enough power and it’s a lot of fun to play with because of how the supercharged engine builds power.
Driving the 911 Turbo is an entirely different kind of entertainment. Where the Jaguar is fun in sort of a “pantsing” somebody on the playground way, the 911 Turbo offers the same satisfaction as teeing off with a clean stroke on a still morning.
Except it isn’t because the turbochargers unlock peak torque at 2,200 RPM in overboost when the engine is cranking out a relentless 553 lb-ft. If you activate launch control, the otherwise comfortable car leaves you feeling more like the golf ball being hit than the player swinging, if only for a couple of seconds.
Oh and did I mention rear axle steering? At first, it’s almost disconcerting to feel the tail end zig to your zag. It’s easy to feel the cars bum swaying at low speeds even though you’re perfectly in control. On the highway, it’s almost like you’re leaping from lane to lane because the car’s nose isn’t the only one in charge of turning anymore.
And when you really step on the accelerator, there’s a powerful whooshing sound as the car gulps and while barking in flat six fashion. It isn’t raucous like the F-Type, but that’s also part of what makes it special.
I had to hand it to Jaguar because after ripping around in the F-Type, Dave’s point became clear. The Jag gets well-deserved attention wherever it goes and my God, is it ever fun to drive.
Porsche has my automotive preferences pegged, but I must admit that I felt the urge creeping up in the back of my mind to not give Dave his keys back.
Pulling back into the dead end where we met that morning, I capitulated and started pulling cash out of my wallet. Much to my surprise, Dave refused my money and told me to keep the key because he was taking the Porsche.
Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet
Jaguar F-Type V8 S