Tested: 1997 Dodge Viper vs. Porsche 911 Turbo S vs. Acura NSX-T

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From the archives: Find pure speed with three different cars from all over the world.

Car and driver.

Of the 77 themes and variants that we regularly build for comparison tests, this one requires the least imagination: "Hey, let's put together the fastest cars in the world and take a ride."

It's easy to say. But now, let's talk about the small issues. What does "the fastest car in the world" mean? Here, we act according to the rules of the Red Queen: these words mean exactly what we mean. A "car" is a new car that can be legally sold in the United States as a road car in the United States, and was sold in stores in the spring of 1997. ET (elapsed time) is the referee. In order to avoid the crowds, we assume that every continent of automobile production has the right to participate in this Olympic Games.

What is the fastest street car manufactured in North America? The new Corvette is fast, but

The exaggerated 488 cubic inch V-10 Viper is faster. The brawler never said "after you" to anyone. then what.

The first supercar from Japan that comes to mind is

, As if anticipating the runoff, in 1997 it had increased 20 horsepower to 290 and gained sixth gear in its gearbox. This

It can match the NSX-T's 13.4 seconds quarter mile ET, but the higher, uncontrolled top speed attracts the attention of NSX.

On the other hand, Europe has many attractive express trains. But what are available in the United States? Is not

: "The North American quotas are all sold out," he said

. Of course, Ferrari has other fast cars, including F355 and 456GT, but they were taken away by other brands when they became the fastest team in Europe in the competition.

The 523-horsepower "Diablo SV" will be a competitor, but there is no such product here. This makes 492-horsepower rear-drive Diablo SE possible (the same power but heavy all-wheel drive VT is slower).

Here, we must make a judgment.

While celebrating 30 years of production of the 911, the Turbo S model that was celebrated was adjusted to 424 horsepower, while the standard Turbo was 400 horsepower. Porsche said that fewer than 200 S models have been sold in the United States.

Turbo S is a real car, not a four-wheeled car equivalent to a cylinder. The quarter’s speed should be faster than the 12.3 seconds we last recorded at 114 mph

, We think this will enable Lamborghini Diablo SE to enter a close sprint. Therefore, the Porsche 911 Turbo S won the title of representing Europe as the fastest car on the European continent.

This brought three wild individualistic machines to the starting line: a large-displacement (nearly eight liters) front-engine rear-wheel drive; a small-displacement high-revving (8000 rpm red line) mid-engine model; and A twin-turbo rear-mounted all-wheel drive two-door sports car. Prices are also unlimited: from $74,016 for Viper GTS to $164,510 for Porsche, NSX-T (targa) is in the middle at $92,943.

Gentlemen, it's time for you to bet: cubic inches vs. whistling turbine vs. screaming speed. Let's see how they work.

This is a 16-pound climb method for g-force. When idle, the V-10 trembles and trembles like Maytag, trying to spin Mrs. Murphy's rock collection. The gearbox input shaft bearing sits in traffic and is large enough to compete with the radio. At creep speed, even if the large throttle moves back and forth between the driver and the sliding surface of the tooth, even the smoothest movement of the throttle foot will generate enough torque to produce a huge clang. Viper's atrocity behavior is well-designed, a simple statement-"mine is bigger than you", and Ferrari has yet to compare with Yankee's shameless behavior.

Yogi Berra said: "If you can do it, it's not bragging." Viper can definitely do it. Its acceleration flattened the eyeballs and stayed in the fast dust removal vehicle. In this runoff, the Porsche's four-wheel drive made the German unparalleled traction beyond the target, so this is a great advantage in the first tens of feet when the flywheel energy is dumped and moved forward. This enabled Porsche to reach a speed of 60 miles per hour first. But now, the eight liters of Viper is charging. Equal at a speed of 100 mph. The sprint only takes 8.8 seconds. Then the viper pulled forward and kept widening the gap to 170 mph, when we were out of orbit. If you are interested, the 0 to 170 mph of this car only takes 35.1 seconds.

We believe that the more meaningful number is the speed at the end of the quarter mile, which is an excellent indicator of the power-to-weight ratio of a car. The Viper's speed is 118 mph, which represents the high water mark for mass-produced cars, and can easily overshadow the muscle car, which left such a lasting impression in the late 1960s. At the time, the typical Mopar 426 Hemi was 105 to 107 mph in a quarter mile.

Although the viper's swagger contains a lot of rude sounds, it is completely related to the creation of g-forces. The huge Michelin grip is also excellent, enough to surpass other anti-skid pads by 0.95 g on the skid plate, although this achievement only makes Porsche's 0.94 g slightly better. The brakes are more moderate than other brakes. It may be due to the lack of anti-lock function. Otherwise, it will be impossible to repeatedly obtain the best grip at all four corners.

Surprising as it sounds, it is easier for this car to drive at racing speed on the track than to rush in the country. On the track, the steering is indeed reliable, although there is no oversteer. More power brings more understeer; and can tolerate bumps. Usually, its behavior is the behavior of a classic front-engine, rear-wheel-drive roadster, although you would hardly think of a road car with Godzilla's g-force. Per snake turned the fastest lap during the processing of the Chrysler proving ground and was the easiest to drive. The Viper has more than 2.5 seconds on the 911, which is equivalent to the speed of a game. What are the advantages of family courses? No, it's more like 490 pound-feet of torque and tough grip.

With the weird way of the Viper, neither the torque nor the grip can fully fulfill its promise. The output curve of the engine is so flat and flat that we can achieve reliable results on the track without having to change gears. But on the road, the Viper wants more gear changes than others, thanks to the longer fifth and sixth gears, which keep the engine within its chuggachugga range at normal speeds.

The handle is not easy to use on the road. The center snake turns quickly when it is in the center, and the path will oscillate due to uneven road surfaces. In addition, the driver's low visibility to the inflated hood makes it difficult to place the car reliably between the ditches. Therefore, the machine feels about three feet wider than it is, which is hardly conducive to rushing through detours.

Although the viper has amazing speed, it is not needed in daily driving. This is the original scream-

There are not enough witnesses. It sparked CB gossip on the interstate, pulled the office workers out of the window while cruising the Main, and PiedPipers made all the little boys walk out of the playground. People want to touch it and take a photo next to it. A 15-year-old child persuaded his mother to drive him to our overnight parking lot.

So that he could stay on the same acre of land with this arrogant barbarian.

Of course, the Viper is an absurd express. But this did not seem to hinder its excitement.

450 hp V-10, 6-speed manual, 3,410 pounds

Base price/test price: $72,396 / $74,016

60 mph: 4.0 seconds

100 miles per hour: 8.8 seconds

130 mph: 14.8 seconds

1/4 mile: 12.2 @ 118 mph

Braking, 70-0 mph: 177 feet

Roller, anti-slip mat with a diameter of 300 feet: 0.95 g

C/D fuel economy observed: 16 mpg

When the Viper and Turbo S are driving fast, the driver will hang up and let the machine complete its work. This is not the case in NSXT. In this car, you drive. The smallest and highest-speed engine in this group has only a small fraction of the other torques, so you need to keep it spinning in the best position on the curve. Narrower tires have much less rubber on the road, so you have to rely on your skills to maintain gravity. For those who like to be partners in speed, NSX-T provides the best seat for a trio.

Speaking of seats, NSX-T's furniture and its arrangement also scored the highest. The cockpit is well organized. Only a few adjustments are provided-column tilting and telescoping, seat sliding back and forth, backrest tilting. There is no other need. We rated the ergonomics of this car as 10 points. This is a cockpit that has caused zero complaints. All controls are exactly where they should be while driving. The windshield itself gives an exciting IMAX view, but it can also help when you are trying to place the car exactly on the road. This is a machine that can provide you with everything you need so that you can work faster.

And the individual is about to be more fun than pure power. The six-speed shifter is frictionless and extremely precise. With the increase in speed, the engine’s singing voice increased sharply. As the VTEC system switched from torque cam to horsepower cam, the engine’s fever became higher and higher, and the air intake shutter shortened the final sprint, reaching the 8000 rpm red line. There is no violence, no onerous control measures. You can guide the NSX-T with your fingertips and reward your skills by turning, braking, and passing in the textbook.

Nevertheless, it is undeniable that the actual test numbers lag behind those of other cars. Should we be disappointed with 0 to 60 in 4.8 seconds? Are you troubled by the speed of 106 mph (13.4 seconds ET) at the end of the quarter mile? The grip strength of the non-slip mat is only 0.90 grams. If this news comes out, can NSX owners still look up?

You have to decide for yourself. But we are here to remind you that cars cannot only rely on track numbers to meet demand. The NSX-T's precise response to driver input makes others feel happy when it becomes a burden. This is the only car among the three who knows how to go straight. Steering provides needle and thread path control, which is different from Viper's darts and camouflage on wide tires, while Porsche is not affected by wind gusts.

Precision translates into trust, and our confidence in the NSX-T is shown in lap time-only a second behind Porsche, even though the German leads by 8 miles per hour at the end of the quarter mile , And has obvious advantages in cornering and braking grip. The point here is that the driver can use more features provided by NSX-T. The understeer is slight. Of the three cars, only one did not have any weird steering feedback that would warn you not to push hard when the car still has grip. Similarly, NSX-T suffers the least from bumps. You can drive it closer to the edge.

But keep in mind that this is a mid-engined car. By design, it has less flywheel effect on the road, so the inertial resistance to rotation is less. If you suddenly release the power to unload the rear tire when you are approaching the turning limit, the tail will extend. We classify this as a driver error, not a car error. However, certain operations in low-inertia cars are inherently more difficult. The NSX-T was the most unstable in our lane change test and was slower than the other two cars.

Does comfort have a place in the discussion of speed? If so, NSX-T will score again. Riding quality is the best. The cockpit is very private. It fits like a pair of Italian sandals. The controls all show Honda's smoothness and Honda's logic. The low profile and track call it a peculiar car, but we are happy to choose it as a peculiar car for daily driving.

290 horsepower V-6, 6-speed manual, 3136 pounds

Base price/measured price: $92,943 / $92,943

60 mph: 4.8 seconds

100 miles per hour: 11.7 seconds

130 mph: 22.5 seconds

1/4 mile: 13.4 @ 106 mph

Braking, 70-0 mph: 162 feet

Roller, anti-slip mat with a diameter of 300 feet: 0.90 g

The speed secret is not the only one

For decades, as a high-performance car manufacturer, we have learned. The company also learned that some people are just too wealthy to be satisfied with a sports car that only costs $105,000. That is the price of the 911 Turbo. Therefore, for this particularly needy group, in the old 911 last year, Porsche carefully manufactured the $163,000 "limited run" model 911 TurboS. This is also not a very limited movement, because the lid does not fall off. Until 199 of these S models were delivered to North America.

After driving 1,000 miles in the Silver Box Turbo Red bucket of the Boxster Red that was previously unveiled at the New York Auto Show, let us be the first to say that this is an exciting car. In this comparison, it won the first place with a clear advantage.

At the same time, it is also a fascinating exercise in the rare art of increasing car prices. This S has more shovels than Baskin-Robbins. Inside, all sundries decorative panels and rocker switches, even instrument dimming knobs, not to mention the ring around the blinking LED of the alarm system, are wrapped in tomato-colored leather. The decorative panel used to be chrome alloy in the past, and recently it is black in high-end fashion cars such as this, and now it shows the texture pattern of resin-infused carbon fiber fabric. Even where no one wants to see: the aluminum tube bracket on the suitcase is also dressed in this shiny carbon fiber interior. The tentacles of price inflation are everywhere. The brake calipers have worn out some miraculous coatings, making them bright yellow, perhaps to better show off the black Porsche logo and play a peek-a-boo role through the wheel spokes. you understood.

From a serious perspective, at 5750 rpm, the engine output has been increased to 424 hp, which is the highest-volume production engine Porsche has sold in North America. The 18-inch wheels also use 225/40 and 285/30 ZRrated tires in the front and rear, which also attracted people's attention.

Once moved, all contacts of the decorator will soon be covered by the g-force envelope. However, it does not rely on machines. This is a very quiet car. The engine is relatively quiet even when accelerating at full speed, and the gears and bearings in the all-wheel drive layout do not attract people's attention. On the road, you can almost hear the pavement texture of tires buzzing. Gentle, of course.

This is a car that is easy to drive on the road. Both power steering and power assist clutch have a pleasant feel. There is no wasted movement of the brake pedal. As with all 911s, you can sit on the high seat of the chair and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

You can move forward quickly by touching the toes of your right foot. In higher gears, turbo lag is obvious, but this is hardly a problem. Reducing to fourth place can make the semifinal situation short. In fact, it's like no work at all, because the needle swings from 60 to 100 while clearing the 18 rollers.

From standstill to top speed, Turbo S and Viper fought a seesaw-style battle. Porsche's grip initially gave it the lead, and then Viper soared at the end of the quarter, only allowing Porsche to speed 188 mph again easily; The forehead area of ​​a viper can restore it to 186 miles per hour. When driving at high speed, a gust of wind reached 12 mph, and the movement of the Porsche far exceeded that of the other two.

In the brake test, Porsche was indeed a super sports car at a distance of 151 feet from 70 mph. However, the road race performance did not meet expectations. Driving hot circles is work. The high recoverability of the steering pushes the steering force to the limit. The seat lacks lateral support, which means you have to support the wheel on the wheel with your arm at the same time. Understeer will rise sharply as the power increases, and when the front tires hit the ground, the slight loss of traction will exacerbate the understeer. Lift it too fast and the tail will break. Oh yes, did we mention the $164,510 window sticker? Together, these factors make the venomous snake smaller and smaller in the distance it travels.

After each sprint is completed, each comparison is a little bit, time and gravity measuring equipment are put away, and then we conclude, "Well, what is wow Diata thinking?" From its daffodil yellow brakes to leather The wrapped power window rocker, and then to the full push, this 911 Turbo S never stops. It won us.

424 horsepower twin-turbocharged flat 6-speed, 6-speed manual, 3390 pounds

Base price/measured price: USD 162,754 / USD 164,510

60 mph: 3.7 seconds

130 mph: 15.9 seconds

1/4 mile: 12.2 @ 114 mph

Braking, 70-0 mph: 151 feet

Roller, anti-slip mat with a diameter of 300 feet: 0.94 g

Cup holder: Only on NSX-T, if you want to drag other things, the two holes can be moved, but it has very little space.

Adjustable pedal: Viper standard equipment, not in other cars here, can keep your feet and seat in a good position.

Windshield gasket: Porsche's true high performance. When you pull the column straw, the two nozzles on both sides of the windshield will immediately gush out.

Adjustable steering column: Porsche is gone, it’s okay, the tested price is $164,510.

Eye-catching, annoying fingers: For about a year or five months, Porsche’s metal gear lever is like grabbing the wrong end of a popsicle or a soldering iron, depending on your climate.

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