The result is apparent: Ferrari became the most admirable sports car manufacturer making artistic masterpieces while Porsche wins in sales figures as well as racing circuits, making efficient driving machines. Very fair.
Here below you will see how the 911 and Ferrari V6/V8 series rivalled in the past 30 years. Before reading it, please bearing in mind that the 911 Carreras were approximately 20% cheaper than their Maranello opponents, thanks to much larger scales of production.
|Ferrari: 206/246GT (1967-74)|
|Porsche: 911S 2.0/2.2/2.4 (1967-74)|
started its competition with Porsche 911 with a new "cheap Ferrari", Dino
206GT, launched in the same year as the first 911S. Both of them had 2-litre
6 cylinders engine, but the Ferrari provided 180 horsepower, 20 more than
the Porsche. The Dino V6 engine was smoother and higher revving as well.
In the chassis department, the baby Ferrari won even more comfortably. The Dino was regarded as the best balanced Ferrari ever made until the arrival of F355. Mid-engined design, stiff tubular space frame chassis and aluminium body made an unbeatable combination, giving it inherent advantages in handling over the early oversteering 911s. Simultaneously, the Dino was gifted a good suspension setup that led to agile handling as well as good damping.
Ferrari updated the 206 to 246 in 1969 by using a 2.4-litres engiine with 195 hp and steel instead of aluminium as the body. Performance gained slightly but overall handling remained unchanged. The 911S upgraded its engine, too, in 1970, bored out to 2.2 litres, thus capable of 180 hp. Engine flexibility was improved but still hardly challenged the Dino. In 1972, Porsche again upgraded the 911S to 2.4 litres with 190 hp, this narrowed the gap but was still no match. However, the price gap was also narrowed. It was just marginally cheaper.
Porsche launched the 911 RS 2.7 in 1972, which would have a good fight with the Ferrari if it were not so raw. Itís not the kind of car that Ferrariís mainstream models wanted to be.
|Ferrari: 308GTB (1975-85)|
|Porsche: 911 Carrera 3.0 (1976-78), Turbo 3.0 (1975-78)|
308GTB was described as the most beautiful car in the world. People easily
fell in love with its Pininfarina styling and the marvellous 3-litre V8
which produced a maximum 255 hp, although it did not handle as good as
the Dino 206/246GT. The 308 was also easy to live with. Itís not too expensive
(cheaper than a 911 Turbo), with sufficient cabin space and a decent boot
behind the transversely mounted engine.
The Porsche seemed to be coming from another planet. The contemporary Carrera 2.7 and 3.0 remained to be one of the ugliest cars available. However, keen drivers overcame that and enjoyed its superior performance, no matter in straight line or real world. The normally aspirated 911 had already eclipsed the Ferrari in the handling department, thanks to the experience gained from the RS and racing RSR, but also because the Ferrari opponent was not good enough.
In contrast, the early 911 Turbo 3.0 was not really competitive. Technology breakthrough it might had, it was not quick enough to justify the additional money.
|Ferrari: 328GTB (1985-90)|
|Porsche: 911 Carrera 3.2 (1983-89), Turbo 3.3 (1978-91)|
308 to 328, Ferrari introduced more changes than the specifications suggested.
In particular, the chassis was strengthened, accompanied with retuned suspensions,
the 328GTB handled a lot better than its predecessor. Good balance, higher
cornering limit and more predictable handling made it virtually unbeatable.
The 32-valve V8 was enlarged to 3.2 litres, pumping out 270 hp in a sweet
manner and enabling vast improvement in performance - 0-60 now reduced
to 5.5 seconds. Top speed matched the 911 Turbo.
The contemporary 911 Carrera 3.2 was no slower either. The 300 hp Turbo was even supercar-quick. However, they didnít handle as sensational as the properly tuned mid-engined Ferrari. The latter not only looked sexier but was also perceived as more prestige, thanks to elegant build and rarity, although it was priced exactly between the Carrera and the Turbo.
|Ferrari: 348tb (1990-94)|
|Porsche: 964 Carrera 2 (1989-93), Turbo 3.3/3.6 (1991-94)|
launched 348tb in 1990 as a replacement of 308/328 series. In specifications,
it must be a better car - 3.4-litre 300 hp V8, wider track, lower centre
of gravity and stiffer chassis. However, inadequate suspension setup hardened
the ride while handling also suffered. Increased weight offset any power
The contemporary 911s, code name 964, were no better. The Carrera 4 had too much understeer, the Carrera 2 handled better but thereís still hardly any ride comfort to talk about. However, the 3.6-litre M64 engine made them quicker than the Ferrari - 0-60 took just 5.1 sec compare with Ferrari's 5.6 sec.
The Porsche also had a decisive edge in pricing, thanks to the unreasonable money the Ferrari asked for. In fact, the 348tb was as expensive as the 911 Turbo 3.3 and 3.6. The latter arrived in 1992 and was capable of doing 0-60 in merely 4.5 sec. That was more than enough to justify its deficit in image. As a result, 348tb could hardly attract any real driving enthusiasts from Porsche. Playboys seemed to be more likely.
|Ferrari: F355 (1994-99)|
|Porsche: 993 Carrera (1993-97), Turbo (1994-98)|
the last fight, both sides presented their best products in many years
- the Porsche 993 introduced new multi-link suspensions thus offered far
better control than its predecessors. Handling became predictable, with
smoother ride and more neutral steering tendency. New styling injected
new lease of life. In addition to the improved paint and visual build quality,
the 993 now became as attractive to look as the Ferrari.
Unluckily, Ferrari F355 was even better. It came with a new high-revving 40-valve V8 rated at 380 hp. Thrilling aside, this made it a true 180 mph sports car and eclipsed the Carrera in any acceleration. Retuned suspensions dramatically cured any 348's flaws, released its original potential. Again, good balance and high cornering limit made it superior to the 993. No matter how much improvement the 993 had made upon 964, it was still no match for the very best Ferrari.
The 993 turbo won back in
terms of performance and braking, but steering was less sensitive than
the Carrera. Imagewise, the Ferrari was still superior, thanks to sexy
look, prestige-style cabin and the sense of occasion it delivered. Surprisingly,
it rode more supple as well.