Consumer Reports names Porsche 911 best sports car
In Consumer Reports' first-ever tests of ultra-performance and luxury sports cars, the Porsche 911 edged past the Corvette Z06 to become the top-rated vehicle with an "Excellent" overall score. The 911 was tested against two other ultra-performance cars, the Z06 and the V10-powered Dodge Viper, for the October issue of the magazine. The Z06 also earned an "Excellent" score while the Viper posted a "Very Good" score. The magazine also tested five high-end, luxury sports cars: the Mercedes-Benz SL550, BMW 650i, Jaguar XK, Cadillac XLR, and Lexus SC. The SL550 and BMW 650i coupe posted the highest overall scores among those vehicles. This is the most expensive monthly test group ever purchased by Consumer Reports, costing in excess of $650,000.
Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports, says accepts no outside advertising, no free test samples, and has no agenda other than the interests of the consumer.
"The 911 wowed us enough with its acceleration, handling, and braking for us to rate it our top sports car," said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' Auto Test Center. "The 911 is also easy to drive, but its much less expensive Boxster sibling performed almost as well." Here are some highlights from this month's test group:
Full tests and ratings of the sports car group appear in the October issue of Consumer Reports, which goes on sale Tuesday, September 5.
What Consumer Reports says:
Consumer Reports can only recommend the Lexus SC430 from this group of vehicles. CR is unable to recommend any of the other vehicles in this month's tests because it does not have sufficient reliability information on most of them. (Relatively few of these high-end models are sold each year.) The magazine only recommends vehicles that have performed well in its tests, have at least average predicted reliability based on CR's Annual Car Reliability Survey of its own subscribers, and performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included in a government rollover test.
The distinctive 911 is the epitome of agility and refinement in sports cars, yet it is relatively practical. The 911 Carrera S ($87,520 Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price as tested) is powered by a 355-hp, 3.8-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine that delivers excellent acceleration and a respectable 20 mpg on premium gasoline. Its six-speed manual transmission is easy to shift and has close ratios for responsive performance. Handling is the 911's forte. The steering is very precise with excellent feedback. The brakes rank among the best CR has ever tested.
The Z06 Corvette was very impressive with awesome acceleration and stable, well-balanced handling. At the track, it holds its own against the Porsche 911 and Dodge Viper, though handling is less precise than the 911. The Z06 ($76,730 MSRP as tested), is equipped with a great-sounding, 505-hp, 7.0-liter V8 engine that gives it effortless acceleration at any time. It comes with a six-speed manual transmission that helps provide blazing acceleration or quiet, economical cruising. The brakes are impressive and powerful.
In the luxury car category, the Mercedes SL nicely blends sportiness and luxury. It is comfortable and luxurious, but feels almost as fast and agile as some ultra-performance sports cars. The SL550 ($105,855 MSRP as tested) is propelled by a 382-hp, 5.5-liter V8 engine that delivers impressive acceleration"”and a muted but muscular hum from the tailpipe. The new 7-speed automatic transmission is very good. But it occasionally delays downshifts or bumps abruptly into gear. Brakes bring very short stops in both wet and dry conditions.