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
The Ferrari is more electronics-based, combining its E-Diff3 and F1-Trac systems to effectively torque-vector across the rear axle both on- and off-throttle. Combine that with the magnetorheological suspension control on the damping (Ferrari refers to it as SCM2) that deals with the same inherent issues of roll and pitch as the 12C's hydraulics, and there's a car that turns and grips nearly as well as the 12C, but with a touch more feedback. It rolls just a fraction more, but the compliance seems to suit a road-biased car. You get the feeling that the Mac would possibly make the 458 Spider feel a little soft for track work.
Interestingly, the ease with which you can access performance vicious enough to mug your senses is also now laughably simple - just drive them completely into their own traction-control systems. Now, traction-control and stability- control systems used to be a simple prophylactic against crashing, but, in modern supercars like these two, they now offer a very different take on traction management. Set both cars in Sport or Race mode, and you can benefit from very clever people arranging what now feels like semi-prescient suites of electronics. Traction-control systems used to be reactive, waiting until the car had started to fling itself off before either slamming on the brakes, bleeding out the engine power, or a bit of both. The best you could hope for was a stutter in momentum; the worst, a big gopping pause while the electronics mitigated and then reinstated the power and torque. Now, they seem to be much more... involved. More interested in maintaining speed rather than simply preventing the potential accident. So, instead of trying to avoid the traction-control system getting involved, you can actively use it.