Ferdinand Porsche would be proud of the Carrera GT. The company he founded in 1948 has produced an amazing string of sports cars that was only recently interrupted by—of all things—a truck. If the introduction of that Cayenne sport-ute had you wondering if the folks from Zuffenhausen had gone soft, think again. The exotic $448,400 605-hp Carrera GT revealed here is arguably the finest sports car the company has ever produced.
It is an incredible car, with a plethora of juicy technical details and glorious thrust from a mid-mounted aluminum V-10 engine. We learned about both during a day of testing and driving at Italy's Adria International Raceway.
Remember the Acura NSX, the car that brought family-sedan drivability to the supercar ranks? Porsche has done much the same thing here, but with the performance bar raised to a dizzying height. Let's check the numbers.
The 60-mph run isn't a sprint; it's simply a first stride in this car. It's gone in 3.5 seconds. A scant 3.3 seconds later, 100 mph arrives. By the time your brain has caught up with the ever-increasing velocity, the GT has passed 130 mph—in 10.8 seconds, and hey, was that the quarter-mile marker at 11.2 seconds and 132 mph? The comparison with the $659,430 650-hp Ferrari Enzo is inevitable, so here goes: The Enzo gets to 60 in 3.3 seconds, 100 in 6.6, and the quarter in 11.2 seconds at 136 mph.
So the Enzo is a few ticks quicker, but consider this: Unlike the Enzo, which has an automated manual transmission that automatically operates the clutch and shifter, the Carrera GT has a good ol' six-speed manual and a traditional clutch. Although we tried our best, the Carrera is extremely hard to get off the line cleanly. The 5.7-liter V-10 engine has about zero inertia. Breathing on the gas pedal sends the revs soaring. Likewise, if you lift off, they plummet. And the engine is all too willing to overpower the rear tires.
The clutch operates like an on/off switch and is tough to engage smoothly...