Back in 2012 my bud Albert picked up a Ferrari 360 Modena that was to be shipped out to Australia. Before it could go, we headed over to our favourite bypass to grab some rolling shots. We also had a 997 Turbo with us, so it was the perfect opportunity to compare the two very different sports cars.
In recent years Ferraris have really grown on me. I used to believe they were a posers’ car, and although there is clearly an element of Italian extravagance, these cars really are uncomprimising high-performance vehicles (no form over function here!). When jumping in the Ferrari the cabin did feel slightly dated, but I was pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of the interior fittings; almost “no frills”.
The no frills approach was directly translated in to the chassis. Throttle reponse is aggressive, steering is lightning quick, acceleration is undeniably fast and the noise is just beautiful. The 360 Spider is in no way shape or form a ‘GT’ car or a cruiser. This thing felt like a race car, and reminded me why I love ‘older’ sports cars so much.
You can keep your semi-auto gearbox!
On the road the 360 was much slower than the 997 Turbo, but what it lost in straight line speed, it made up for in experience (it’s worth noting that this isn’t a slow car; the 997 Turbo is very fast).
I stand by my opinion that I’d much rather have a car that was fun to drive than a car that does the quickest lap times. The 360 Spider embobies this; the perfect balance between style, speed and driver experience.
After getting used to the Spider, the 997 Turbo couldn’t have been more different.
This car is fast. Very very fast. Other than a well driven GTR, I can’t think of many cars that would keep up with it whilst simultaneously being so compliant. Terrific speeds were simply effortless.
Whereas the Ferrari let you know just how fast you were going, the Porsche did the opposite. It flies up to 3 digit speeds so easily that you very easily forget how fast you are going. The cabin was beautifully finished, understated and comfortable. This car is perfect for munching miles on the Autobahn.
Which would I choose?
In all honesty, both. These two cars are like chalk and cheese. The Ferrari, now getting on in years, still holds its own in driver enjoyment. It would make the perfect weekend car, but I’d dread to drive it every day. At the other end of the scale, the Porsche is the perfect daily driver, should you not require rear seats. It can be driven to work in comfort, and I have no doubt that long trips are extremely comfortable. If in the market for two sports cars, one of which was extremely practical and incredibly fast, and one which puts driver experience above everything, you could do much worse than getting a 360 Spider (or Modena), and a 997 Turbo.