It’s time once again for a high-budget battle royale between three very high-performance V8-powered supercars, this time courtesy of Road & Track magazine. First off is the fiery Ferrari 458 Italia, which comes in as a horsepower underdog. Then there’s the McLaren MP4-12C, which lies about its amount of cylinders right in the name (shouldn’t it be 8C? Must not have sounded as sexy). Finally, there’s the Corvette ZR1, whose stale interior jokes mean nothing on a track. These vehicles are considered the best three V8-powered cars on the market today, so it’s only fitting they square off in a winner-take-all, with the ‘Vette seeming like a bit of an oddball. But after crunching the final numbers, it was clear the American was right at home.
The ZR1 was the clear winner on the dyno, with its supercharged 6.2L LS9 engine putting down just over 559 horsepower to the rear wheels and 526 pound-feet of torque — 175 more pound-feet than the naturally aspirated Ferrari. Check one for American muscle. But the testing doesn’t just stop there.
Road & Track then took the cars to the drag strip, and unfortunately for the Corvette, the Ferrari and McLaren both dusted it by .4 seconds in 0-60 acceleration time (3.0 to 3.4 seconds), and a full half second in the quarter mile (the Europeans ran 10.9 to the ZR1’s 11.4). This is largely in part due to the ZR1 being the only vehicle in the test equipped with a proper manual transmission, while the Ferrari and the Mclaren both use a faster, smoother paddle-shifting setup.
However, the Corvette did edge the European cars in the slalom at a full three miles per hour faster through the course, and also trumped them both in the skid pad, proving once again that Magnetic Ride Control is one of the best suspension setups on the market. And the ‘Vette comes in at least a full $100,000 less than both the MP4-12C and the 458 Italia. And it’s almost four years old. The Corvette ZR1 has aged well, but apparently not well enough to dethrone the 458, which the magazine praises the car’s overall feeling of driving precision, exotic looks, luxurious interior and power delivery. But at nearly $130,000 more than the Corvette, we wonder if it’s even worth it.