RAC Cars News


When Cars Get Competitive

By raccars Published

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Think Coca Cola vs Pepsi, Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier, the Beatles vs the Stones... The automotive world is full of famous rivalries of its own, and the most recent is mouthwatering.

The Porsche 918 and McLaren P1 were originally in a competitive triangle with the Ferrari LaFerrari. The latter, even more expensive and powerful than the other two, seems to be hoeing a slightly different path but the Porsche and the McLaren seem to be egging each other on, to even faster and more agile lengths. Next up, McLaren is planning to apply its GTR badge to a new, track focused P1, that will no doubt prompt Porsche to respond in kind.

Ford and Chevrolet have undergone years of the same with their Mustang and Camaro muscle cars, both released in the Sixties. This year, the spark was relit as both companies released new, very modern versions of the iconic vehicles, designed to keep up with the changes in automotive culture that have seen customers reluctant to keep fuelling thirsty engines but still retain the original muscle car spirit.

In Britain in the Eighties, it was all about the hot hatch. The Golf GTI was an obvious choice with all the performance wrapped up in a practical and reliable VW body. However, the Peugeot 205 GTI made a huge splash with a 7.4 second 0-60mph time and a funky hatchback body. It's hard to say which came out on top - the long defunct 205 GTI is still considered a legend of Eighties motoring but the Golf GTI, a little more staid, is still going strong.

Japanese firms gave us a couple of blistering rally road cars in the form of the Subaru Impreza and Mitsubishi Evo, which brought supercar performance to the masses. Their jaw dropping performance was the result not only of massive power outputs but also road gripping four wheel drive systems, that allowed over excited owners to throw themselves around the tightest bends without fear of disaster. As fuel hungry, high performance cars went out of fashion, the Evo and Impreza were superseded but are set to return to the streets in much more modern format.

Apart from one on one rivalry, Mercedes-Benz and BMW have been fiercely battling through the years, each trying to take the premium German auto maker crown. For every class of car produced by one, the other comes up with something equally excellent and both have extremely loyal but forever divided fan bases. It's a bit like cat vs dog - you either drive a BMW or a Mercedes, and seldom do the two mix...

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