McLaren vs. Porsche vs. AMG

The figures are dazzling, if not staggering:

$ 825,110 of outdoor supercars.

The shapes of these machines, especially in these colors, make children jump and scream with joy, while most adults want them not to be as embarrassed to be able to do the same.

Because you’re wondering, oh yes, some adults act like kids around these things (yours first). This trio is truly a collection of rare and exotic animals. Each represents a topless version of the near-pinnacle performance car of its respective companies. I say “close” because McLaren has just unveiled the 765LT, Mercedes-AMG manufactures the GT R Pro and Porsche, well, you just know that there will soon be a GT2 RS which will give this car the appearance of a snail. In addition, the three manufacturers are in the hypercar field, to varying degrees (P1, Senna, Project One, Carrera GT).

The question is therefore: “Why?” Why would an automaker take a perfectly good supercar and prevent it by removing stiffness and adding weight? This is the question you were asking yourself before spending a few days driving this shimmering trio on some of the most beautiful roads in southern California. After that, the only question is, “Why the hell not?”

I will asterisk this comparison test at this point. First of all, we still can’t test the cars, so I don’t have objective figures to tell you. Sorry. In addition, yes, we should have had the McLaren 600LT Spider instead of the 720S Spider, since the base price of the former of $ 259,000 is much more in line with the other two than the starting price of the latter of (yikes ) $ 317,500. Don’t even think about the tested price of (sip) $ 372,750. However, there was no 600LT spider available. So we took one for the team and grabbed the only Macca convertible on offer, the 720S Spider. The sacrifices we all make, right?

I would also like to issue a warning for the AMG GT R Roadster. It’s old. Say huh? Certainly, the GT R Roadster is only about 1 year old. I’m talking about the platform itself, which dates back to 2014. However, this is only the current generation. The C190 / R190 (C190 is the Mercedes geek for the GT coupe, R190 stands for GT Roadster) is actually a modified version of the Gullwing C197 / R197, aka SLS AMG. This chassis dates back to 2009, and the body in white GT is essentially the same structure, but with 50 mm out of the wheelbase.

I mention these warnings because the Porsche 992 Turbo S is brand new. We know AMG will be introducing a brand new GT in the not-too-distant future. Please don’t read this as I apologize for the AMG, but more like when the SLS AMG was developed, the 19 inch R compound tires were state of the art. The Porsche appeared at 21 seconds. The persistence of time and all that.

Curiously, these three roadsters do not follow a defined model. The AMG has a front engine, the McLaren has a central engine, and the mill of the 911 lives behind the rear wheels.

The GT R Roadster uses a sleek and modified version of the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 from AMG, called the M178. You can think of it as a dry sump version of the more ubiquitous M177, which is used in all other AMGs with a V-8, including, confusingly, the GT 63. Its 577 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque decrease a carbon fiber transmission shaft with a seven-speed dual-clutch transaxle.

The 720S also uses a 4.0-liter twin-turbo dry-sump V8 that produces 710 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque, though there is one major difference: the McLaren uses a flat crankshaft. Flat-speed V-8s are faster, are generally lighter, and (slightly) facilitate turbocharging. However, they vibrate much more (there is no inherent secondary balance like a transverse V-8) and tend to be more brittle. Ideal for racing cars, problematic elsewhere. Like the AMG, the McLaren uses a seven-speed dual-clutch transaxle.

The Turbo S is always different, with its 3.8-liter six-cylinder flat rear mounted producing 640 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. Like the other two, the Porsche has a dual-clutch transaxle for a transmission (a transaxle is just a combination of a transmission and a differential where the drive axles come out of the case, as opposed to the forces sent by a drive shaft to a differential), with eight forward gears instead of seven like the other two participants. The Porsche drives on all four wheels, while the others are both all-wheel drive. AMG and Porsche have full steering, and all cars have carbon-ceramic brake discs, but only the Porsche has four seats, although two of them don’t actually work.

As for performance, they are all crazy. Let’s look at the comparables, as you like real estate types. The McLaren 720S coupe reaches 60 mph in 2.5 seconds and runs aft of the quarter mile in 10.1 amazing seconds at 141.5 mph. The latter is 0.1 seconds from the Porsche 918 Spyder with 887 horsepower. Again, the 720S is rear-wheel drive.

The 991.2 – i.e. the previous generation 911 that it replaces – Porsche 911 Turbo S coupé as well reaches 60 mph in 2.5 seconds before traveling the quarter mile in 10.5 seconds with a trap speed of 131.8 mph. (We never tested a 991.1 or 991.2 Turbo S Cabriolet.) The almost 10 mph difference in trap speeds means that the McLaren does a lot more juice than this old 580 horse Porsche. As Top Gear America co-host Jethro Bovingdon says, “All McLarens make 800 horsepower.” The McLaren we tested also weighed 390 pounds less than the porcine Porsche, 3,167 versus 3,557 pounds.

As for the AMG GT R, the coupe version weighs 3,680 pounds, reaches 60 mph in 3.4 seconds and runs the quarter in 11.3 seconds at 129.0 mph.

The McLaren and the Porsche are two of the fastest cars we’ve ever tested, but the 992 Turbo S will be faster than the old one, and the Spider version of the 720S will be (a touch) slower.

Plus, if the AMG GT R was against almost every other competitor, its numbers would seem stellar. Convertibles are generally heavier than their hardtop counterparts. By removing rigidity, you usually need to strengthen the chassis. Even with a super rigid carbon fiber tubular car like McLaren’s, the folding roof wicks add weight.

The fashion show

“I love, I love, I love how it looks,” said Miguel Cortina of the 720S Spider. He is certainly right. It’s been over three years since we first set eyes on the 720S, and the appearance has only gotten better. It’s the most beautiful mid-engine design since the Lamborghini Huracán appeared in 2014. McLaren design director Robert Melville and his team achieved the impossible: the Spider could be even more beautiful with the top down. It never happens.

The GT R certainly loses something in the form of a roadster, although I would say that some roofless angles are fabulous. Especially in this scandalous ($ 9,900) yellow flaked with metal. The best rear on the market? The answer remains Yes. The 911 Turbo S definitely looks worse as a convertible and worse with the roof down, especially in this strange dull orange. There is just a size that is missing from the hard roof. Solution? Hey, Porsche, Targa Turbo! Do it.

Inside the cars, the tide is turning. “I know I will receive hate mail,” said Cortina, “but the interior of the McLaren could be better.” I like the interior of the 720S, but I know what it means. There is a feeling of brassage in the British which is simply absent from the cabins of the Germans. Certainly, there is a spaceship atmosphere, a spaceship made of combinations.

The Porsche, meanwhile, is all business. Well, all that red leather makes it a high-end mess, but it’s still a business. The controls are minimal and intuitive, and for the first time in Porsche history, the cup holder works about two-thirds of the time.

That said, the AMG steals the show from the inside. As Miguel said, “The interior is really polished – an elegant design, sophisticated air vents and plenty of compartments to store your things.” However, the AMG had the worst seats – narrow, with thin padding. This is a common feature of cars with front engines that have transmissions (or in this case, torsion tubes) bisecting the cabin. Side-by-side space is a bonus, and seats pay the price by shrinking. Think of the last two generations of Corvette or Dodge Viper, RIP. The Porsche had the best places in the event.


With or without a roof, these three machines are supercars. However, because we cannot test or drive around cars, we do not have empirical figures to guide our anecdotal hands, guts and brains. As such, the ranking of these three comes down to old-fashioned good feelings – which, when you decide between cars of this ilk, is what it really comes down to anyway.

“I got goosebumps as I climbed the mountain,” Cortina said of the 720S Spider. “This thing is fast, very fast.” Do we call Miguel Captain Obvious? Sometimes.

Editor-in-Chief Scott Evans added, “We called the gun speed of the 911 Turbo S, but McLaren has usurped that title. There is so much engine in this thing. Everything else is obscured out of your brain.”

As for my own notes: “Have I climbed Angeles Crest faster? Doubtful. It is 100 mph in third gear. calmly hundo in third. “It’s such a bizarre / unique experience, the ability to go so fast with so much control.

You find yourself thinking calmly: “The glass panel above my head starts to vibrate at 100 mph, stops at 106 mph, but then starts to tremble with a little more enthusiasm at 108 mph. I’m going to have to investigate. But after lunch. ” This car is just not normal. There are no straight lines with this car; you constantly arrive at the corners. Like I said for a long time, alien technology for the street.

While it may not be an otherworldly spacecraft, the AMG Roadster is not to be outdone. Each time I watched, I was close to 90 mph. In this business, the car may seem a bit outdated on paper, but seat of the pants, the power seemed competitive. Following the other two was neither a problem nor a problem. This impression was reinforced by the fact that the GT R Roadster is by far the best sound of the trio.

The Porsche sports exhaust manages to change the sound of two industrial-strength hair dryers to four, but as Evans pointed out, “Even with the exhaust closed, it has more of that sewing machine gossip in classic anger than he had in years. ” Of course, but the AMG crushes it, from an acoustic point of view. Also hurts the McLaren.

Even with a flat crank, the McLaren’s twin turbos choke the engine. I have been saying this for years, but only AMG seems to be able to make the turbocharged engines sound mean and mean. With the roof down, the roar of the engine and the crackling of the exhaust are much better. Why are you buying a convertible rather than a coupe in the first place? I would argue for visceral experience. The AMG is quite dramatic. That said, the red line at 7,000 rpm is too low. Please increase it to at least 8000 rpm, thank you.

As for the 992 Turbo S, it’s something new. Something totally different. “It’s not the 911 Turbo I remember,” said Evans. “It was a Grand Touring car but not a Porsche GT in the Weissach sense. This Turbo S is a Porsche GT. It just misses the number.”

Difficult to argue, especially when said Turbo S is fitted with the PASM Sport suspension developed by the Porsche racing division in Weissach. “More than anything, the Turbo S is a beast to drive,” said Cortina. Beast is a good word, because the forward thrust of the Turbo S is animal. Its 640 horsepower will grab all the headlines, but it’s that torque – 590 lb-ft of good stuff – combined with all-wheel drive that makes this Porsche a monster.

The McLaren is incredibly fast in a straight line, but the Porsche is incredibly fast everywhere, especially when blasting, clawing, scraping corners. Ready for this? I think going from A to B on a winding road, the 911 is faster than the 720S.

A perpetual blow to the AMG GT R coupe is that the rear suspension is comically rigid. Like the Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE, the shock absorbers are of the drawer type and supplied by Multimatic. In short, the drawer shock absorbers work wonders on soft butter racing tarmacs, then hit the lower back with a 10 pound hammer on real, real roads. The GT R Coupé and the big dog Camaro are driving excruciatingly.

My big concern in this comparison was exactly that. I don’t know if it’s the extra weight compared to the rear of the GT R Roadster or if AMG has really readjusted the shock absorbers, but the driving of the convertible top is much, much better. Put it like this: every time I’m asked about the GT R coupe, I immediately reject it and say instead, check out the GT C coupe. You lose 27 horsepower but gain everything else. Here? I would recommend the GT R Roadster to the GT C version.

However, the handling of the GT R was the least inspiring of the three. “The steering is too fast,” said Cortina. “You have to sort of trust the car and turn just as you walk into the corner. The hood is huge.” Evans added that it “feels like you are sitting on the rear axle and the front of the car is turning before you”.

Does this mean that the GT R behaves badly? No, it’s just a strange feeling. Once you learn to trust it, I would say it handles the other two as well. It just isn’t the most satisfying way to drive. I appreciate the efficiency of the steering of the GT R – I don’t think my hands have exceeded 45 degrees – but it is too urgent. Evans again: “The Porsche needed an arm flex to steer. It requires a tick.”

I suspect this is largely due to the aggressive configuration of AMG’s rear steering. Years ago, on a prototype GT C, I asked Tobias Moers, then boss of AMG (in May, he was appointed the new CEO of Aston Martin), the difference between his steering system integral and that of Porsche. Basically, Porsche uses an electric motor for two wheels and AMG uses two. AMG is therefore able to steer the rear wheels a little further. This strategy works in terms of getting the GT R in the corners, but it just feels bad.

The McLaren also has sensation issues. “He was the only one of the three who gave me sweaty palms,” said Evans. “The steering is both a blessing and a curse. In speed, it almost looks like a manual rack, it has so much perspective. It’s wonderful, but like an old manual rack, things get interesting when you brake. trams and 720S movements The front tires never really feel like they have enough contact area for the braking power of the brakes. You have to be at the top of the steering at all times. “

I agree; the direction is beautiful. That said, the 720S is one of the last cars on sale that fills me with terror. Another is a Koenigsegg. The steering is perfectly balanced and requires low inputs. The grip is good, although the car mainly adheres via the rear tires. The fronts are a little busier. These front tires were and remain a width of 245 relatively lean. I’m still waiting for McLaren to do the right thing and give this car the right tires. The new 765LT will come on racing compound rubber, but McLaren should at least make P Zero Trofeo R tires an option on the 720S.

Like the McLaren, the Porsche is also equipped with standard Pirelli P Zeros (the AMG is in Michelin Sport Cup 2 with compound R), but there has not been a single complaint concerning the way the 911 behaved . Miguel was almost speechless, stammering, “The 911 really delivers on all fronts.”

Scott was a little more talkative: “You don’t have to handle it. Just be firm. Driving this car reminds me of target practice. Each movement is compression. Control your breathing and then step on the gas. brakes. Tighten your forearm muscles. Hit the target. “

I got into the thought of Porsche – firmly thinking – that there is no way on earth either that the Germans have a chance against the maniac Briton. They would both be upgraded. However, during my mountain climb in the Turbo S, I realized that it is as fast as the 720S and inspires confidence about three times.

That’s the key: trust. In half a mile, I knew everything about the car and I just started to start it. The McLaren takes a few kilometers to travel to allow you to take advantage of its true potential. I don’t know if I could ever trust the AMG like I do the Turbo S, mainly due to the steering of the GT R.

Another victory for another Porsche? Yeah sorry. It is true. If you remember the 1997 movie Devil’s advocate, Satan from Al Pacino lectures to Keanu Reeves on what is wrong with his character “Florida stud”: “Look at me, underestimated from the first day. You would never think I was a master of the universe now, right? “

This is this Porsche. Looking at the three, the Turbo S is a wallflower, especially in this (terrible) shade of orange. The 720S is one of the craziest supercars in history (I find it bloody sexy), and the AMG is both muscular and gorgeous. Knowing nothing, I think the Porsche would be the last child chosen for kickball. But as Pacino says about his evil character, “They don’t see me coming.” We certainly didn’t do it with this Turbo S.

First place: 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet

An upset victory if there ever was one. Porsche is more relentless than ever. The new Turbo S picks up where the GT2 RS left off.

Second place: 2020 McLaren 720S Spider

A four-wheel cruise missile. Exotica pure. 720S Spider customers will undoubtedly want a 911 Turbo S for everyday tasks.

Third place: Mercedes-AMG GT R Roadster 2020

At low power but full of charm, this AMG most likely beats all convertibles on earth, with the exception of the two rivals above.

2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet2020 McLaren 720S Spider2020 Mercedes-AMG GT R Roadster
TRANSMISSION LAYOUT Rear engine, all-wheel driveCentral motor, RWDFront engine, RWD
TYPE OF ENGINE Twin-turbo flat-6, alum block / headsTwin turbo 90 degree V-8, alum block / headsTwin turbo 90 degree V-8, alum block / heads
VALVE TRAIN DOHC, 4 valves / cylDOHC, 4 valves / cylDOHC, 4 valves / cyl
SHIFTING 228.6 cu ft / 3745 cc243.7 cu ft / 3994 cc243.0 cubic inches / 3,982 cm3
COMPRESSION RATIO 8.7: 18.7: 19.5: 1
POWER (SAE NET) 640 hp @ 6,750 rpm710 hp at 7,500 rpm577 hp @ 6,250 rpm
COUPLE (NET SAE) 590 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm568 lb-ft @ 5,500 rpm516 lb-ft @ 2,100 rpm
RED LINE 7,200 rpm7,500 rpm7,000 rpm
POWER WEIGHT 5.9 lb / hp4.6 lb / hp6.5 lb / hp
0-60 MPH 2.4 seconds (MT is)2.6 seconds (MT is)3.5 s (MT is)
TRANSMISSION 8-speed dual-clutch auto7-speed dual-clutch auto7-speed dual-clutch auto
AXLE / FINAL TRANSMISSION REPORT 3.33: 1 / 2.03: 1 (front), 3.02: 1 / 1.84: 1 (rear)3.31: 1 / 2.27: 13.88: 1 / 2.68: 1
SUSPENSION, BEFORE; BACK Cylinders, coil springs, adjustment dampers, anti-roll bar; struts, coil springs, shock absorbers, anti-roll barControl arms, coil springs, interconnected shock absorbers, hydraulic anti-roll and support resistance; control arms, coil springs, interconnected shock absorbers, hydraulic anti-roll and support resistanceControl arms, coil springs, adjustment dampers, anti-roll bar; control arm, coil springs, dampers, anti-roll bar
MANAGEMENT RATIO 12.5-14.1: 115.2: 112.7: 1
BRAKES, F; R Ventilated disc, drilled 16.5 in carbon-ceramic; Ventilated disc, drilled, 15.4 ” carbon ceramic, ABSVentilated disc, drilled 15.4 ” carbon-ceramic, ventilated disc 15.0 ” drilled carbon-ceramic, ABSAerated carbon-ceramic disc, 15.4 ” drilled; Ventilated Disc, Drilled, 14.2 ”, Carbon Ceramic, ABS
WHEELS, F; R 9.5 x 20 inches; 12.0 x 21 in forged aluminum9.0 x 19 inches; 11.0 ” x 20 ”, forged aluminum10.0 x 19 inches; 12.0 x 20 inches, forged aluminum
TIRES 255 / 35R20 97Y; 315 / 30R21 105Y, Pirelli P Zero NA1245 / 35R19 93Y; 305 / 30R20 103Y Pirelli P Zero Corsa MC275 / 35R19 100Y; 325 / 30R20 106Y Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 MO
WHEELBASE 96.5 inch105.1 inch103.5 inch
TRACK, F / R 62.4 / 63.0 inch65.9 / 64.2 inch66.7 / 66.2 inch
Length x Width x Height 178.6 x 74.9 x 50.8 inches178.9 x 76.0 x 47.1 inches179.7 x 78.6 x 49.4 inches
ROTATING CIRCLE 35.8 ft39.7 ft37.6 ft
EDGE WEIGHT 3,800 lbs (MT is)3250 lb (MT is)3750 lb (MT is)
DIST. WEIGHT, F / R 40/60% (MT is)42/58% (MT is)47/53% (MT is)
ROOM 37.9 / 32.5 inch37.5 inch38.0 in
LEGROOM 42.2 / 27.2 inch42.4 inch43.5 inch
SHOULDER ROOM 52.6 / 47.9 inch51.2 inch58.4 inch
CARGO VOLUME Front: 4.5 cu.ft. / rear seats folded: 9.3 cu.ft.Front: 5.3 cu.ft. / rear: 2.0 cu.ft.5.8 cu.ft.
STARTING PRICE $ 217,650$ 317,500$ 191,745
TESTED PRICE $ 236,120$ 372,750$ 216,240
AIRBAGS 6: double front, side / head, knee6: double front, side / head, knee8: double front, side, head, knee
BASIC GUARANTEE 4 years / 50,000 miles3 years / unlimited miles4 years / 50,000 miles
POWERTRAIN GUARANTEE 4 years / 50,000 miles3 years / unlimited miles4 years / 50,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 4 years / 50,000 miles3 years / unlimited miles4 years / 50,000 miles
FUEL CAPACITY 17.6 gal19.0 gal19.8 gal
EPA CITY / HWY / COMB ECON 20/25/22 mpg (MT is)15/22/18 mpg15/20/17 mpg
ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY / HIGHWAY 169/135 kW-h / 100 miles (east)225/153 kWh / 100 miles225/169 kW-h / 100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.88 lb / mile (east)1.11 lb / mile1.15 lb / mile
RECOMMENDED FUEL Lead-free premiumLead-free premiumLead-free premium

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