• Sep 1, 2006
A while back, we had heard that there are a few dedicated car guys within the hallowed halls of Consumer Reports. At the time, we were a bit surprised, but now that they've rated the Porsche 911 as the "Top Ultra-Performance Car," their gear-head cred may have just been confirmed.

The vehicles tested in the performance arena included the Corvette Z06, Dodge Viper and the aforementioned 911. Those coupes, along with a BMW 650i, Cadillac XLR, Jaguar XK, Lexus SC430 and an M-B SL550, made up the magazine's first foray into the world of luxury sports cars.

This inaugural exam of high-end motoring proved to be the most expensive yet for the magazine. As we're sure you're aware, C.R. doesn't accept any press vehicles for evaluation, so they purchase their test subjects on the open market, just as any other car buyer would. The total for all vehicles came in at over $650,000.

The 911 was rated by C.R.'s wonks as "excellent" overall, just barely nudging out the Z06, which also received an "excellent" score. The Viper, brought up the rear with a "very good" rating, although it had the distinction of being the fastest vehicle to sprint to 60 MPH in Consumer Reports' history (4.2 seconds, if you didn't already have it firmly implanted in your cortex).

Interestingly, of all the vehicles rated in the test, only the Lexus SC430 received the 'recommended" designation, due to a lack of reliability information on the rest of the models.

Follow the 'read' link for a synopsis or wait until September 5th, when Consumer Reports hits newsstands everywhere.

[Source: The Auto Channel]


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  • 44 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Toaster testers? I looked at a Consumer Reports masthead back in April and found the names of two former Motor Trend editors and one from Car & Driver working there.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The CR testers should have waited long enough to have to pay for some of the maintenance also; the shock from Porsche dealer bills would have probably put the Vette in the top spot.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Porsche 911 is value$$$ for money but if you want real exp of zero truble then go to jaguar XK
      www.fastluxurycars.com
      • 8 Years Ago
      As far as ranking the 911 the "top ultra-performance car" - uhhh, DUH!!! However, I agree with one commenter who said that CR should reserve judgement until some of the maintenance bills come in. Two years ago, I went shopping for a new sports car, and the 911 was on my short list. Every used 911 I looked at, even the lightly-used, had minor mechanical issues that required major maintenance expense. The most egregious was a sweet 95 cabrio that needed $16,000 to replace a bent suspension arm and the coilover on the right front.

      The Corvette is a fantastic, fabulous car: incredibly sure-footed, lots of low-end torque, good brakes, astounding cornering with little driver effort. The interior could be made of better materials, to that I agree.

      The Viper is amazing, but not a car I would want to live with.

      So, Porsche 911 top ultra-performance? You bet. But considering CR's audience, wouldn't you expect them to recommend a car that has lower total cost of ownership? While the *normal* maintenance costs of the Corvette are on par with the 911, the Corvette costs less to buy, insure, fuel, and repair than the 911.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Reporting on a company/event is one thing. Posting in this forum as if you have intimate knowledge of the CR weighting scheme is another. You post as if you know how heavy interior quality scores with CR. Hence, my question on how long you worked there to gain this knowledge.

      As for "purely" and "relevant" -- when at least one comment in EVERY string you seem to participate in on the Autoblog (not to mention the GM blog, Subaru Legacy Forums, Saab forums, etc, etc) promotes your site, it begins to look less like an interested contributor, and more like shameless self-promotion.

      But, to use your logic...I'll comment on the story. According to their website, CR actually has, in the past, received reliability informaiton on the 911 and SL. So, why not test the cars and, if their reliability improves, eventually recommend them? I don't see it as a waste of money.

      Regards.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Um, that's "Porsches." Most porches don't handle very well.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Porches possess better steering feel and feel more agile than Corvettes. GM tunes everything to feel larger than it is, including the Corvette. Somewhat a matter of personal taste, and CR prefers the Porsche feel. I do as well, but not everyone does.

      CR's evaluations are also swayed by interior quality, which pretty much everyone agrees is much better in the Porsche.

      On the other hand, given how they score cars the regular Corvette might have scored higher than the Z06. It's ride is smoother and quieter, and its acceleration is quick enough to peg the meter in their scoring system. So buying and testing the Z06 seems pointless.

      The Corvette doesn't use your typical leaf spring. They are fiberglass and run across the car, from side to side. Benefits of this approach are space efficiency and weight. The big disadvantage of a conventional leaf is that they are often used to locate the axle. The Corvette's leaf springs simply serve as springs, they don't locate the wheels.
      • 8 Years Ago
      And I agree with Consumer Reports, just let me have the turbo version.
      • 8 Years Ago
      CR recommending a Japanese car? WOW! There's a surprise....can't remember a Japanese auto that they don't recommend. Perfection, thy name is Japan. (At least, to the CR folks.)

      I have a '99 911 (0K, a 996 for those of you who want to be technical about it) that has been pampered and babied through only 43,000 miles and while it IS a huge kick to drive....it is also a huge pain in the a** to keep maintained...not necessarily mechanical stuff like the engine....but smaller nitpicky stuff that you'd think a $100k+ car would not have go wrong....oh well. live and learn..but it's the last one I'll ever own...

      As to some other comments, I agree that it's difficult, if not impossible, to really compare these cars adequately. Each one is so unique and fits such a specialized set of tastes that trying to put them on some sort of equal basis is probably impossible. This sort of "test" isn't likely to sway or convince a die-hard 'Vette junkie to go with the Dodge Viper or the avowed BMW lover to tumble to a Lexus.

      Just chalk it up to an organization that at the end of the day needs to sell some mags and this is a sexy topic....I mean who wants to see the results of the head-to-head competition among the Yaris-Fit-etc crowd?

      So, have some fun with it...keep the friendly debate going and try to save up enough to get the super car of your dreams....just remember that they're still cars and they WILL (every single one of them) need maintenance.

      Cheers!
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm being called a clown by someone with bad grammar. What is this, fifth grade? (Whose comment sounds a lot like one of the main points of my original post.)

      Mr. Ryan,

      You bring up some good points. This is exactly what I was suggesting.

      Just inference with regard to interior materials. They frequently comment on interior materials in their reviews, and cars that do poorly in their area tend to have lower scores. I'll grant that this might be a spurious correlation. It does bring up one issue I have with them: they never have clearly stated how they arrive at the overall scores. Just about every other magazine does, why not them?

      As I discuss in the editorial on comparison tests (link in my original post) at least with a C&D test you can see what tipped the win one way or another, decide whether you agree with the scoring of that aspect, and finally decide whether the difference in this particular area is important for you. Often in a battle between sports cars things you personally don't care about were the deciding factors. With CR, it's usually not possible to find this out. I'm asking that they give us instruments, not idiot lights.

      You make a good point on the how this test might become useful. But the probability of this happening is low, and I'm sure they know it's low. I took a look at the 2006 Auto Issue, which is how most people learn of their recommendations (print magazine still has about twice as many members as the website). The magazine includes reliability ratings for models back to 1998. No ratings are provided for the SL, XK, or 911 for any model year. They had enough data on the Boxster for some years, but not 1998 or 2005, the most recent.

      One almost exception: The verdict on the Corvette was actually decent until 2005, the first year of the current car. Possibly just first year issues. So the car you're most likely right about is, ironically, the Corvette. If it improves the average this coming year or next, they'll end up recommending it based on this road test.

      I say "almost exception" because the Z06 is quite different from the regular Corvette--different frame, different engine. They might assume that the Z06 will be about as reliable as the regular Corvette, but I'm not sure this is a good assumption. So, in reality, they'll always have insufficient data for the Z06 as well.

      On my commenting, how about this. Go through all of the articles on Autoblog, say for a random week. Calculate the percentage I comment on. Then calculate the percentage I refer to my site on. I strongly suspect that both percentages will be much lower than you think they are.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Correction to my earlier post, where I neglected to fact check the similarly incorrect Autoblog post: three cars were recommended, not just one. Results still known before the test was conducted.
      • 8 Years Ago
      In addition to the statements about how utterly pointless the test was overall in the context of Consumer Reports' target market are the comments comparing the interiors of the Porsche and Corvette.
      Anyone who has ever perused the interior option list on a Porsche is in for a jaw-dropping and eye-popping experience. CR alluded to this in their comment about the dashboard mounted stop watch for $920. No wonder Porsche brags about being the most profitable automaker in the world.

      The interior quality issue has always haunted the Corvette. GM could address it by offering an optional interior upgrade. They could probably do it for less than Porsche charges for color coordinated interior door handles and vent registers.
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