2014 Porsche 911 Turbo vs Audi R8 V10 Plus

A Spring fling with two of the world’s finest all-weather sports cars

2014 Porsche 911 Turbo vs Audi R8 V10 Plus

If you live in the northeast like I do, you’ve just suffered through one of the worst winters in a very long time. The spring hasn’t been much better, either, but with most of the snow now melted, we couldn’t wait to get out to our local road course and officially declare winter closed and track season open.

And what better way to do exactly that than in two world-class sports car that not only let you have big-time fun in the dry and warmth of summer, but also in the less idyllic conditions of those other three seasons. In fact, both the Porsche 911 Turbo and Audi R8 V10 Plus are equipped with all-wheel drive systems that mean you can truly enjoy them 365 days a year. As proof of that fact, both our test mules were still rolling on Pirelli winter tires.

That may sound like a giant buzz kill to some of you, but with ambient air temps below 50°F and a fair bit of snow melt running across the front straight and some big puddles elsewhere on the track, we weren’t complaining about the winter tires. Nor were we complaining about the fact that the sun was shining and we had the track all to ourselves. Time for some epic launch control battles!


Get the Flash Player to see this player.


Head-Snapping Acceleration

2014 Porsche 911 Turbo vs Audi R8 V10 2

Normally when people use that tired, old cliché about a car accelerating so hard it snaps your head back, I do my best not to snicker. Either people have really weak neck muscles, or they’re just prone to exaggeration when it comes to describing their car’s performance.

To be fair, I have actually driven a few cars that literally had me looking at the headliner when I launched it hard enough, the Nissan GT-R immediately comes to mind. But nothing, not even the GT-R, could prepare my brain for what the 911 Turbo was about to do to it. Lined up against the R8 V10 Plus on the back straight, Road Test Editor Mike Schlee (in the Audi) and I both held the brake and throttle pedals to the floor to engage each car’s launch control system, and once Editorial Director Colum Wood did his best Rich Christensen drag race arm-drop, I slipped my left foot off the brake pedal and held on tight.

Turns out the 911 Turbo has a very nice suede headliner and a glass slide/tilt sunroof. Plus my neck muscles are a lot weaker than I thought. That, or maybe it was just the 524 lb-ft of torque produced by the 911’s twin turbocharged 3.8-liter flat-6 when in Sport Chrono overboost mode along with seemingly unbreakable amounts of traction that led to the unnerving sensation that my brain just moved in my skull. After a couple of these launches I actually had to hand the keys over to Colum (both still use a traditional ignition key, strangely enough), because I was officially motion sick. If that’s not the definition of head-snapping performance, I don’t know what is.

2014 audi r8 interior 3It didn’t matter who was driving or how many times we played the arm drop game, the outcome was always the same: 911 Turbo walking away from R8 V10 Plus. By the end of the straight the Porsche would consistently pull a car length or two ahead, but the Audi is certainly no slouch, blasting from 0-60 MPH in just 3.3-seconds and reportedly having a slightly higher top speed than the 911 (197 MPH vs. 195 MPH), presumably from its 30 extra ponies (550 vs. 520) and a slightly taller top gear. You might be thinking the R8’s sleeper shape also helps its top speed, but the 911 Turbo actually has the lower coefficient of drag at 0.31 compared to the R8’s 0.35.

Mike didn’t seem to mind losing all these drag races, though, probably because of the spectacular noise produced by the R8’s Lambo-sourced V10, not to mention the “I feel like Ironman” ego boost that kicks in once you slide into the Audi’s supportive bucket seats and carbon-everything interior. There might even be a fake Tony Stark driver’s license in the glove box, or at least the speeds the R8 V10 Plus is capable of achieving are certainly worthy of superhero status.

A Subjective Track Test

2014 Audi R8 Exterior 4

Normally I’d be kicking into my schpiel about lap times and cornering g-forces right about now, but because of the winter tires and variable track conditions, I left the data acquisition system in my duffle bag. Instead, we simply put each car through it’s paces to get a feel for how they behaved as we approached the limit of adhesion, which was fairly easy to do given the low grip tires and extremely green track surface. We also wanted to get a sense of how the character of each machine changed as we played with the various Sport modes available.

2014 Porsche 911 turbo exterior 4First of all, both cars are incredibly powerful (duh!), possess absolutely faultless braking systems (the Porsche’s steel brakes having slightly less initial bite than the Audi’s gargantuan carbon ceramics, but both were completely resistant to fade), provide instantaneous shifting via their dual clutch gearboxes, and as a result force your brain and vision to adapt to a sensation of speed that feels surreal the first lap or two.

Although conditions weren’t right to take a run at the R8 V10 Plus’s current track record (1-minute 18.4-seconds, recorded last summer), I would very much like to take a crack at that number in a 911 Turbo this summer, because its ballistic performance during our impromptu drag races was well matched by its handling balance and grip around a dirty and damp race track. I can only imagine how fast it would be on summer tires and a nicely rubbered in surface.

Porsche 911 Turbo: a Grip Machine

2014 Porsche 911 turbo exterior 2

But even on the less responsive winter tires, I was particularly impressed by the 911 Turbo’s turn-in response, its willingness to change direction no doubt being aided by Porsche’s unique rear steering system that turns the rear wheels the opposite direction to the front wheels at lower speeds to help get the car turned quicker and turns the rears the same direction as the fronts at higher speeds to provided added stability. I was a skeptic about rear steering prior to this test, but I’m now a believer, because this 3,516-lb sports car was carving corners with the same precision and balance as its much lighter and mid-engined little brother, the Cayman S.

And just like the less powerful Carrera 4S we track tested last summer, the Turbo has absolutely stunning amounts of grip once you get back on the gas, thanks in part to its active center differential, but what I still struggle to comprehend is how Porsche found a way to make a rear-engined car feel so well balanced and easy to adjust mid-corner (a longer wheelbase and wider track than previous Turbo models certainly helps).

You can put the 911 Turbo into a nice little slide and then stomp on the throttle once you’ve clipped the apex and let the potent combination of AWD, torque vectoring, and several other traction enhancing systems (PASM, PSM and PDCC among them) help catapult you down the straights with a velocity I wouldn’t have thought possible. This car really does redefine fast, and it makes its speed extremely accessible thanks to the seamless integration of its many active control systems.

Audi R8 V10 Plus: Tricky at its Limits

2014 Audi R8 Exterior 1By contrast, the R8 V10 Plus was struggling to find grip on turn-in. It’s narrower front tires were being overworked in the braking zones and then the initial phase of corner entry, but thanks to the Audi’s mid-engine balance the rear end would soon begin to follow the front. But once it’s time to transition back onto the throttle, things can start to get a bit tricky with the R8, since it behaves very much like a RWD car (sending up to 85% of available torque to the rear), so you have to use the throttle judiciously to avoid any unwanted tail-out antics.

Because of its willingness to power slide, the Audi is undoubtedly the more challenging of the two to drive at the limit, but that may also make it more rewarding to some. Although it too has highly sophisticated torque vectoring, the R8 feels more analog than the Porsche, more exotic both in terms of design and at-the-limit handling balance. This can be viewed as either a bit scary or rathr endearing (I prefer the latter, but leaving traction control on is a good call for all but the most experienced drivers). Regardless of perspective, the R8 demands respect and a light touch around the race track, where the 911 Turbo is far more forgiving of overzealous inputs.

Beauty And The Beast

2014 Porsche 911 Turbo vs Audi R8 V10 4

Although the 911 Turbo proved to be the quicker and more usable of the two in the less than ideal conditions we had to work with, there’s little doubt which of the two turned the most heads on the street. Mike had the R8 for the week and reported more than a few instances of cars turning around to follow him just so they could get a closer look at the Audi. That’s a pretty remarkable reaction in this day and age, and although the 911 Turbo is certainly an object of lust in its own right, Colum (who had the Porsche for the week) didn’t seem to have the same Pied Piper experience.

On the other hand, the Porsche is certainly the more practical of the two, having more cargo capacity and a 2+2 configuration that makes it possible to carry two adults and a child or two in the back. Plus the 911 Turbo has a more modern and spacious feeling interior, though I’m personally a sucker for carbon fiber so can’t help but love the R8’s aging yet still very special interior design.

Compare Specs

2014 Porsche 911 Turbo
2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus
Vehicle 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo Advantage 2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus
Engine 3.8-liter Flat-6 - 5.2-liter V10
Transmission 7-Speed PDK - 7-Speed Dual-Clutch
Horsepower 520 hp R8 V10 Plus 550 hp
Torque 487 lb-ft 911 Turbo 398 lb-ft
Weight 3,516 lbs. 911 Turbo 3,660
0-60 MPH 3.2 seconds 911 Turbo 3.3 seconds
Top Speed 196 MPH R8 V10 Plus 197 MPH
Price $163,820 911 Turbo $187,590

Where the 911 feels more like an everyday road car inside (though an extremely nice one), the R8 really does give you more of an exotic car experience, thanks to its lower and more reclined seating position, flat-bottom steering wheel, and material choices. It should be noted, though, that 911 Turbo buyers do have virtually limitless options to choose from when configuring their own car, so its certainly possible to make the 911’s interior look and feel a lot more unique and special if you’re willing to spend the bucks to do so. God knows I’ve spent an embarrassing number of hours playing with the Car Configurator on Porsche’s website, building my dream car just in case my lottery numbers hit.

2014 audi r8 interior 2The R8 V10 Plus’s glamorous body style and sublime powertrain don’t come cheap, though. With a starting price of $179,645 with the 7-speed S Tronic dual clutch gearbox, it’s possible to run that number up into the $190,000 range with options like $5,000 diamond-stitching full leather package, $1,300 black Alcantara headliner and $1,800 Bang & Olufsen sound system.

The Porsche 911 Turbo is significantly less expensive upon first glance, with a base starting price of $148,300. But of course Porsche is legendary for enticing you to spend a little (ok, a lot) more with a wide range of optional extras, our tester having been equipped with the $3,500 Burmester high-end infotainment package, the $4,090 Sport Chrono package (a must!), and the $3,160 Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control package, all of which helped bring its price up to $163,820. Splurge on the $9,120 ceramic composite brakes and the $3,835 Turbo S wheels and you’re really getting into R8 V10 Plus territory.

The Verdict

2014 Porsche 911 Turbo vs Audi R8 V10 1

As much as I love the supercar styling and soundtrack of the Audi R8 V10 Plus, the Porsche 911 Turbo is the true year-round sports car of the two. Its all-wheel drive system and active control systems make it the more tractable and enjoyable in a low grip environment, and even with Sport+ engaged and PSM turned off, it displayed impeccable balance no matter how hard I tried to get it to misbehave.

The 911 Turbo is a technological tour-de-force, its variable vane turbochargers and variable camshaft lift and timing giving it an impossibly broad torque curve, and yet it’s surprisingly willing to let you feel the chassis move around beneath you. There’s a balance of technology vs. driving feel here that I simply did not expect.

Yes, the 911 Turbo is easy to drive fast in part because of the high-tech wizardry going on in the background, but it’s still a true driver’s car that communicates very clearly through the steering, the pedals, and the seat of the pants, all of which makes it an absolute joy to hustle around a race track.

The non-racers on staff both wanted to take the R8 V10 Plus home, though. I preferred the added pace and practicality of the Porsche, but Mike and Colum both found the R8’s sexy sheet metal and glorious V10 song too strong an aphrodisiac to resist. And the thing is…they’re not wrong. Choosing the R8, especially when you consider the money at play here, does make a lot of sense for folks who appreciate the value of being seen in it as much as the driving experience itself. And lets be honest, the R8 V10 Plus delivers a world-class driving experience too, just a less forgiving one than the Porsche.

2014 Porsche 911 Turbo

2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus

  • Steve Roberts

    I’d like to try the R8 :) I had owned various 911s through 30+ years so, I like the R8 look :)

« Back

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked