Although their recent proliferation may dull the shine somewhat, some supercars will stay special. Among the vehicles on that select list are the Ferrari F40 and the Porsche Carrera GT. And despite the years separating them, these two supercars have a similar approach to speed. But which one is more impressive: the classic F40 or the modern Carrera GT? YouTuber Doug DeMuro got behind the wheel of both to answer.
Even today, the Ferrari F40 “is still an outrageous poster child,” MotorTrend says
Some may call it overrated, and a Honda Civic Type R can out-pace it. But the Ferrari F40 is still a striking piece of functional design. And it’s arguably “one of the mightiest and most iconic supercars of all time,” Automobile says.
The Ferrari F40 earned this status from a combination of factors. Firstly, it’s one of the last road cars designed under Enzo Ferrari’s direct supervision, MotorTrend reports. Secondly, unlike its successor, the F50, the F40 didn’t originate with Formula One. In the ‘80s, Ferrari wanted to compete in Group B rallies with the 288 GTO Evoluzione, but the class folded before the car was ready, MT explains. And rather than see the work go to waste, the Evoluzione morphed into the F40.
However, that wasn’t the only thing that inspired the Ferrari F40. Two years before its 1987 debut, Porsche unveiled the 959, a rally-inspired technological supercar tour de force. And Enzo wanted something that could beat it, Hagerty explains.
That’s the third reason why the Ferrari F40 is held in high regard: how it went about rivaling the 959. Compared to the 959, the F40 is rather spartan. It has A/C, but there’s no radio, no adjustable dampers, no AWD, and no ABS. And the windows are crank-operated while the door pulls are literal cords, Hagerty reports.
But the lack of equipment makes the Ferrari F40 light. So does a Plexiglas engine cover, carbon-fiber bucket seats, and a chassis and body panels made of carbon fiber and Kevlar. And with a mid-mounted 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V8 linked to a gated five-speed manual, the F40 is fast. With 478 hp and 424 lb-ft of torque, 0-60 mph comes in 4.2 seconds, Car and Driver reports. And thanks to its sleek shape and rear wing, it tops out at 201 mph—faster than the 959.
The Porsche Carrera GT was one of the last gasps of the truly analog supercar
To be sure, the Porsche Carrera GT is a more advanced and more powerful supercar than the Ferrari F40. But in some ways, the newer Porsche mirrors the classic Ferrari.
For example, unlike the F40, the Carrera GT has ABS, airbags, audio and navigation systems, and power windows, MT reports. And rather than cloth, it has leather upholstery. Plus, while it has magnesium wheels and aluminum suspension components, the Porsche also has a carbon-fiber chassis, seats, and removable roof panels.
And yet, although it has traction control and an adjustable anti-roll bar, the Porsche lacks stability control, Automobile points out. That last ‘missing’ feature is why the Carrera GT continues to fascinate owners like Jay Leno. And it’s why, in today’s world of high-tech vehicles, the Porsche still looms large.
Plus, while the Ferrari F40 might be spartan, the Porsche Carrera GT is arguably more old-school in one area: its powertrain. Instead of a turbocharged engine, the Carrera GT has a mid-mounted 5.7-liter V10 rated at 605 hp and 435 lb-ft of torque linked to a six-speed manual. A manual that, in a nod to Porsche race cars of the past, has a beechwood shifter.
So, although it weighs more than the F40, on paper, the Porsche Carrera GT is faster. Car and Driver recorded a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds. And flat out, it can go up to 205 mph.
Which one does Doug DeMuro think is better, and which does he prefer?
YouTuber Doug DeMuro has driven both the Ferrari F40 and the Porsche Carrera GT in the past, though never back-to-back. And in a past video, he called the Carrera GT his “favorite car ever made.”
But ever since he drove an F40 for the first time, DeMuro has been thinking that he “might actually like [the Ferrari] more.” So, what did he glean from driving what he calls “the most driver-focused” Porsche and Ferrari back-to-back?
For Doug DeMuro, the Porsche Carrera GT drives better than the Ferrari F40. “Perfect clutch, perfect shifter, perfect sound, perfect handling,” he says. But he concedes the F40 is still “a thrill” to drive, too, and arguably more of an icon. And if he were going to spend his money on one of these two supercars, he’d buy the Ferrari—if it cost as much as the Porsche. Or rather, as little as the Porsche.
Although a Carrera GT isn’t cheap, you can still find sub-million-dollar examples, Hagerty reports. In contrast, it’s not unusual to see F40s valued at $1.5 million or more. So, with that in mind, DeMuro would pick the Porsche.
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