Battle of the spiders: Ferrari vs McLaren
Which V8 drop-top supercar is best? 458 or 12C? Time for a road trip...
Posted: 24 Jun 2013
Out on the road, the 12C feels all but identical to the coupe. Even the worst thumps fail to upset it, and there's a real feeling that you give nothing away for the extra air-conditioning. The Ferrari is also impressively rigid, but, on the same road and at similar speeds as the 12C, there's the ghost of a wiggle through the frame. Not enough to upset the steering - it's more something you feel through the seat of your trousers - but enough to sense when compared with the rock-solid little Mac. Both have excellent steering, the Ferrari a little more intense, turning absolutely from the wrists, the paddles long, elegant scythes mounted to the steering column. The 12C is slightly slower, a forearm rotation that carries the paddles with the wheel, but incredibly accurate when placing the car. And both cars have carbon-ceramic brakes that would make the Tooth Fairy poor if you fail to wear a seatbelt.
A light smear of first blood to the 12C, then. But when the Ferrari blazes into life and runs through the gears, you'll forgive the 458 anything. Because this is one of the best sonic experiences in motoring, bar none. A naturally aspirated, 562bhp, 4.5-litre V8 engine that revs to a stratospheric 9,000rpm and sounds entirely happy banging off the limiter. And the way that it makes power is so deliciously linear that it allows you to place and play, to metre and orchestrate, with complete confidence. This is a car that melds traditional reactions with modern technology in the best way. It is, quite blatantly, stunning.