LaFerrari vs McLaren P1 vs Porsche 918: The Verdict
.After two days in Italy, the TG mag team have picked their winners. Which hypercar wins?
So here we are at last. After 48 hours of intensive/gruelling/pinch-me-is-this-actually-happening road-testing, we've come to the end of the ultimate hypercar showdown: LaFerrari vs McLaren P1 vs Porsche 918 Spyder. Three hypercars that define this era, tested in a whole range of road conditions over two days.
And now it's decision time. If you followed our live road-test here, you'll know that each of the three contenders shone in its own unique way at different points over our two days of hard driving.
Truth is, if you're one of the absurdly lucky millionaires preparing to take delivery of any one of these hypercars in your titanium-skinned underground lair, you'll be delighted with your purchase. Each of these cars fulfils a subtly different brief, and each does its own thing in utterly superlative fashion.
But which is best? Depends who you ask, and when. As Italy's weather and roads changed, we veered from car to car, and so the conclusions that follow represent each tester's personal verdict.
Disclaimers over. Without further ado, click on for Charlie Turner's verdict. Check back later today for the assessments of Messrs Ford and Marriage.
As the adrenaline of the last few days begins to work its way out of our systems, and hypercar withdrawal symptoms start to build, it's time for answers. If, in some parallel universe where I was a billionaire, I had to choose between these three brilliant cars, where would my money go? Sounds simple, huh?
What has become most vividly etched in my mind over the last couple of days is how different each of these cars approaches the brief. They're all the pinnacle of their companies' technological prowess, ultimate automotive performance statements, and quite simply the three greatest cars in the world right now. There are no losers here, just different flavours of ultimate. But that's not what you came to hear...
The P1 demands respect as any 903bhp hyper-hybrid should. On a damp varicose vein of Italian B-road, the P1 requires your full attention, but in return for focus and commitment it will deliver an adrenaline shot on every short straight as the turbos spool over your right shoulder, and then the scenery wraps about you.
Dig deeper into its capabilities and, as the speeds rise and the aero goes to work, the P1 shines ever brighter. Of all the cars here it's the one that challenges you the most, but mastering that challenge is what makes the P1 so appealing.
It's a car whose potential you would never grow tired of exploring, and which would offer ever-greater rewards as you did.
The 918 feels like it answers a wider brief: an all-wheel drive hybrid Spyder that you could genuinely use everyday, in pretty much any conditions.
I love the quality of the interior and the peerless connectivity. OK, those might not be hypercar staples, but they certainly widen the 918's remit. Of the three it's the most overtly hybrid, and, as you push the Porsche harder, you're conscious there are a myriad of clever algorithms being processed as it manages the mass of the batteries and packaged tech.
But if you need to get from your Alpine retreat to your Monaco superyacht in the depths of winter, I doubt there's anything that would deliver you faster.
For an immensely complex car, it's the LaFerrari's simplicity and focus I admire. Both the P1 and the 918 allow you to personalise a myriad of settings to optimise their monumentally complex drivetrains and aerodynamics to suit your needs.
The LaFerrari doesn't bother with such twiddling, preferring to leave you to focus on the driving itself and how much slip angle you require by dialling up or down the steering wheel's ‘manettino' toggle, safe in the knowledge that very clever stuff is going on in the background to make you feel like a driving god.
Throw in the most sublimely responsive normally aspirated V12 in history, looks to stop traffic, and a soundtrack only Maranello could create, and you have an intoxicatingly infectious cocktail, a fitting swansong for high-performance turbo-free engines and, when push comes to shove, the one I'd have in my garage in that parallel universe. It really is that good.
Road test delivered, only one thing remains: a track test. Yep, all we need to do now is hand these three incredible creations over to The Stig and stand well back. It'll happen some time in the near future. After all, the world is waiting...
For me, it's LaFerrari that's the best to drive of these three, and by some margin. That engine, it's just so beguiling and punchy. I thought the integration of the hybrid systems, the way it just took care of those aspects for you - like Rolls' Wraith does by sorting out the gearchanges - was just brilliant. It allowed you to concentrate 100 per cent on driving, and when you did, you realised this is perhaps the best-sorted, most intoxicating hypercar there has ever been.
I struggled to come up with anything it didn't do exceptionally well. The steering is sharp and does take some getting used to, and the sheer amount of power means you can't take liberties with it, but boy oh boy, it's a genuine 950bhp driver's car that you can actually use and exploit. So supple, but because it's not spiky, I'm not sure it's as luridly memorable as the McLaren, doesn't put hairs on your chest in the same way.
The Porsche felt heavier on the tightest roads, but still manages that weight so well. It feels as if all the weight is concentrated directly under your buttocks. But you can't take liberties with it. The massive E-hit and zero lag means that in first and second gear, it'll spike the back tyres instantly.
The more I drove the Porsche, the more I thought I'd be very careful with how I specced it. I'd have it comfy, with carpets and less aggressive seats, wouldn't bother with harnesses, and would use it every day.
Oddly, as a driving experience, I think because it's so mad, it's the McLaren that stays with me the most. It understeered for the cornering unless you got very tricksy with it, riding the brakes and building up boost against them. The steering is too light and it did feel a little sketchy, but it's still a communicative car.
It feels narrower than the Ferrari, but bobs about a bit more on its suspension. And there are all those noises going on too, the turbo whoosh and chatter, the electric flickerings, the exhaust and suspension chatter.
But if it's the McLaren that stays with me, it's the Ferrari that feels so much richer as an experience when you're behind the wheel. If I could take just one away? The Ferrari, but because it feels like the end of an era, rather than the beginning.