Comparison

458 vs. 911 Turbo S vs. R8

The Bugatti Veyron Super Sport has taken all of the fun out of arguing about cars. Ok, not all of the fun, but it has taken away our ability to yell at each other about which car is the "best" without qualifying it, which can be difficult when you've been drinking. Not everybody can have a Bugatti though, even the cost of maintaining one (the engine is lubricated with a blend of synthetic oil and unicorn tears) is more than buying a new Audi R8 every six months and just lighting the used ones on fire without putting in an insurance claim.

So, maybe you'd like a more practical supercar. Supercars don't usually get to be called practical, even given the highly subjective nature of the word. We have still tried to make some concessions in the name of practicality when coming up with this list of supercars. We've haven't allowed any RS's, GT's or Scuderias, not just because of the cost, but we also have our own version of Top Gear's Kristin Scott Thomas test: No woman in an evening gown wants to climb over a roll cage or buckle a five-point racing harness. Supercars are already pretty vulgar, and the addition of unpainted carbon fiber and big wings isn't going to help that either.

Our list consists of what we consider to be the best three supercars that could realistically be driven somewhere other than a track. These are the Porsche 911 Turbo S, the Audi R8 5.2 FSI and the Ferrari 458 Italia. Price was a major factor in this decision, and while there is a price difference of more than $100,000 between the Porsche and the Ferrari, the Ferrari is just too good to ignore. The R8 only costs slightly more than the 911, but what you gain in practicality is well worth the money. The sheer usability of the car has made it a favorite among people for whom supercars double as daily drivers.

Even after choosing the V10 instead of the base model's V8, the R8 still lacks the speed of the other two cars. Slower to 60 than the 458 by half a second and a full second behind the 911, the extra weight on the R8 is something you'll feel. On the plus side, the higher nose means that the R8 can take speed bumps faster than the other cars, so there's that. The Porsche is the only one of the three to offer what can even optimistically be called a back seat. This very practical touch is offset by the also practically dull looks. 911s are far too common to draw a crowd, but if it was my money, it's still the one I'd buy.

The Ferrari might be better looking, and it might be more fun to drive as well, but all of that comes at a price. All of that racing-derived technology does make the 458 into a truly amazing machine, both on the track and on the street. But with a price tag that's almost as high as the annual maintenance bill for a Veyron, it just isn't practical.

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