5 Cars

February 6, 2014 Comments (0)

By Adrianne Ross

Adrianne Ross is the Editor of the PCA North East Region’s monthly magazine the Nor’Easter, and a frequent contributor to the MMR Newsletter. Here Adrianne shatters the myth that Porsche owners have little interest in other cars. Her position offers her the opportunity to drive many new cars and she has offered to share with us her thoughts on her favorites. We think you may be surprised and a tad envious.

While some of the best cars on my list are Pcars, sadly the top of the list… isn’t.

And so, here in black and white, is my top 5 list of the best drives I’ve known.

Five – is the Ferrari 599 GTO. Yup 5. It’s half a million dollars worth of completely stunning, and completely unreasonable. This one is in the top 5 (representing almost all Ferraris on my list). I’m not really a Ferrari girl (but I’m learning). I’ve driven a few, and when I’ve said to Fcar enthusiasts, “I don’t like the shift.” They tell me it’s supposed to feel that way. This car is all animal… feral animal. It’s fast, it makes an amazing noise, and if you’re not grown up enough to deal with it, don’t get in one.

Ferrari GTO

Ferrari GTO 2

Four – the Lamborghini Gallard. This car makes it on aesthetics almost alone. It’s a crazy pretty car. The Lambos on a racetrack make for an unparalleled picture. It’s raw, the seats feel like one layer of leather over carbon fiber, and it’s planted and fast. I wouldn’t throw one out of my garage.

Lambo Gallard

Three Porsche Panamera. Go to your dealer and drive one. I guarantee you’ve never felt anything like it. It’s not a 911, and it’s not a GT3, and it’s not meant to be, but every model goes over 150MPH—in a sedate sedan. It’s comfortable, elegant, sophisticated, and I could sit in California traffic all day in this thing. You can drive it with 2 broken arms and legs; it’s that smooth. I never wanted to leave.

Porsche Panamera

Two the Porsche Cayenne. I took my Cayman into the dealer to have recall work done and I got this as the loaner. When I got back to Porsche, I started talking about buying one. The 2013 model of this car brings over the cockpit of the Panamera, with a big screen for directions, and enough buttons to make you feel like you’re in an airplane. I like buttons. I like them to heat my seat, cool my seat, navigate through traffic, and the big red one that says “sport.” This thing moves. Plus it tows 7500 pounds. That’s more than enough for one race car and an open trailer.

Porsche Cayenne

One – The McLaren MP4-12C. The happiest car in the world. They smile, have you ever noticed? Now, what I like about how this car drives was a recent argument with a friend, so I’ll lay it out, then you can know which side you’ll take.

McLaren

Him: “The car is too computerized; it’s not raw enough.” (He’s a Ferrari guy… you can tell.)

Me: The McLaren’s response to the driver feels like an extension of the driver. It’s not me and the car, it’s us, like a Borg, “We are one.” A flick of my pinky raised a response from the front tires, and it took me a solid 10 minutes (much to my passengers chagrin) for me to figure out how to brake without giving us both whiplash. In the end I hovered my foot above the pedal, and just imagined braking, and the McLaren responded; with a grace and style I’ve never experienced. The interior is comfortable. It’s not cushy, but it’s not stiff. It’s well equipped with nav, and a radio with more than one option, and it’s big enough to suit my 6’3” passenger. The scissor doors garnished a good deal of attention at the gas station, and the way they open is sublime. Nope—I’m not telling. It’ll sound weird, and it’s something you just have to experience.

On the highway, I burned through gears with lightning speed. It felt like lightning too, you didn’t know exactly what happened, but you were completely electrified. “I don’t have enough bail money on me for this!” my passenger warned. My mind flashed to the stack of credit cards in my wallet, but I relented.

I drove it in automatic through some small Massachusetts towns, because I wanted to focus on the car, and not shifting for slow traffic. Which leads me to one of the best experiences in the car. At a sustained 25 miles an hour through town, it had shifted, (I think), into 4th. As I braked for the lights 50 feet away, the car downshifted. That’s what it’s supposed to do, right? But on each down shift, 3…2…1… it blipped — RAWR! Shift. Rawr! Shift. rawr. Shift. Three engineered, completely unnecessary, wonderfully acoustically aesthetic, nerve tingling blips, at 15 miles an hour. Each one perfectly smooth, with just enough bump to let you know it happened.

You should have seen the grin on my face.

A very long time ago I went to my first autocross. “How fast did you go?” people asked. And I said I didn’t know but it felt FAST. I just wasn’t paying attention to that aspect.

When I told this story about the McLaren, someone asked if I got a lot of looks, or stares at the car. You know what? I have no idea. I was so engrossed in the experience of this car that I didn’t notice, and that’s never happened to me on the street before.

Supercars are built for speed, and experience. Some people want a raw, unadulterated, undomesticated experience. I’ve discovered I like the engineered, refined, cultivated experience. Someone at McLaren got it exactly right… just for me.

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