The passing of time isn’t kind — particularly when high-performance and supercars are concerned. That super-slick, wind-cheating shape that stirred the blood in the ’80s and ’90s is a now a cherished runabout that only emerges on Sundays.

What’s more, its driver is usually more concerned about scuttling into the slow lane to let hatchbacks pass than in pressing his right foot into the metal.

There are several reasons for this. Keeping an ageing icon on the road isn’t cheap and then there is the “T” word. Technology has become a great leveller, and its presence is most apparent when it comes to the performance stakes. 

Finally, who wants to give someone the joy of being able to brag that their hatch blew away a Lamborghini on the highway? Supercars have always been about performance, but there is always merit in preserving what was the  “best of the best” for no other reason than that it is beautiful.

The tale of the tape

The tale of the tape, however, isn’t all one-sided. The Porsche 959 produced between 1986 and 1993 as a rally car and later a street-legal rocket, many say marked the emergence of the true supercar. With twin turbochargers and all-wheel drive, it was the world’s fastest production car and the first to break the 300km/h barrier. 

Today, 27 years after the last model was produced, even this venerable Porsche would face some competition from a hot hatch. Consistently rated as amongst the hottest hatches in various publications this year, are: The Golf V11 GTI Clubsport, Honda Civic Type R, Audi RS3 and the Renault Megane RS.

The Audi RS3. Image: Supplied

Manufacturers and testers figures from various sources published in 2020 show the following:

Car 0-100km/h 0-160km/h Standing quarter-mile
Porsche 959 3.7 seconds 7.9 seconds 11.8 seconds
Audi RS3 3.9 seconds 9.6 seconds 12.2 seconds
Golf V11 GTI Clubsport 5.7 seconds 12.2 seconds 13.9 seconds
Renault Megane RS (Mk 111) 5.9 seconds 13.3 seconds   14.2
Honda Civic Type R 5.6 seconds 11.6 seconds 13.5 seconds

Porsche still a winner

So, more than two decades on, the Porsche is still a winner. Take several steps further back into history and, remembering that timeless beauty ambling along in the slow lane, and the figures show that:

  • All the rated hatches outperform a 1965 Lamborghini 350 GT (0-100km/h in 6.8 seconds and standing quarter-mile 14.9 seconds).
  • Up a decade to 1976 and the Countach LP400 ( 0-100 km/h in 6.8 seconds and standing quarter in 14.4 seconds) and the story is the same.
  • Move to 1985 and a Lamborghini Countach LP5000S, and the situation changes. The Lambo performance notches up to 0 to 100km/h in 5.1 seconds and does the quarter in 13.5. Easy meat for the Audi RS3.

The arrival of the hypercar

What must be considered is that today we are living in the time of the two-second cars and the ‘hypercar’. In this list is the Bugatti Veyrons from 2006 onwards with times that vary from 2.7 seconds to 100km/h to 2.5 seconds in 2015. Pushing this back has been the Chiron, recording 2.3 seconds in 2018.

The Bugatti Veyron. Image: Supplied

Ultimately, these types of comparisons may be fun, but shouldn’t be taken too seriously. What is important is the enjoyment of seeing the car that featured on your favourite poster cruising along next to you on a relaxed Sunday afternoon.

Onlineautos
Author: Onlineautos