Car and Driver is back with its annual Lightning Lap roundup for a sixth year, with 20 of the world's best vehicles taking to Virginia International Raceway to lay down the quickest time around VIR's 4.1-mile Grand West Course.

Included in this year's running is a suitably diverse spread of sports cars and sedans, ranging from the lowly Volkswagen Jetta GLI to the formidable Porsche Panamera Turbo S – a difference of 350 horsepower and over $168,000. And, just to add a bit more spice to the festivities, C/D introduced a new class (LLT) to include two trucks in the running: the BMW X5 M and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8.

But what C/D gives, it taketh away. Gone is the LL5 class ($250,000 and up) and so are the LLU cars, like the Mosler MT900S, the current Lightning Lap champion. And we're perfectly okay with that. After all, we're more interested in how the Lotus Evora S hangs with the Porsche Cayman R and where the BMW 1 Series M Coupe stacks up against the Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca – and not just for convoluted naming conventions. Check out a video after the break for a taste and then head over to C/D for the full story.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 139 Comments
      WillieD
      • 2 Years Ago
      When you guys said trucks I was expecting to see an F-150 out there.
      Sukairain
      • 2 Years Ago
      Looks like the ZR-1 and GT-R are getting it on. :) Sounds like a good match up. On the other hand. Porsche Panamera Turbo - wow seriously!?
        KaiserWilhelm
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Sukairain
        Pretty shocked that thing beat the Mustang, its a 4-door 911 turbo!
        JR
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Sukairain
        It's a twin-turbo to be correct.
      centexvic
      • 2 Years Ago
      Dang the TT-RS laid down some smack there..smoked the 1M and C63 and came within a second or two of the Evora-S, Boss 302 and Cayman R which are basically stripped down track day cars. I wonder if moist conditions had anything to do with it by slowing the RWD cars down.
        krische
        • 2 Years Ago
        @centexvic
        And that turbo 5 cylinder sounds amazing
        Xedicon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @centexvic
        I wonder if VW went "oops" after making that car! I bet it goes away very very soon - VW doesn't want any upstarts in its lineup! I personally think it's awesome, lol!
      Xedicon
      • 2 Years Ago
      I love the lightning lap! I really like that in reading the reviews of each car they're very specific about all the fundamental aspects of what gets a car around the track. some great stuff in there! I think what stood out to me the most was that a Challenger SRT8 can hold .091g - that is totally insane for such a HUGE car. Anyone who's ever driven one will know what I mean! I can't wait until the Viper can return to the lightning lap next year, here's to hoping Chrysler did the Viper proud! :)
        Danny
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Xedicon
        Yeah, the challenger also sounded bad ass when he was switching gears!
      TokyoRemix
      • 2 Years Ago
      Oh, and the Panamera Turbo S sideways with smoking tires was also really cool. To the person below who complained about the Turbo S being "too much horsepower" -- here's a hint: buy a base Panamera. You can do it at the same dealership and everything. Is that not the stupidest complaint ever? Who buys the "Turbo S" version of ANYTHING and then complains about too much power?
      Krishan Mistry
      • 2 Years Ago
      Great improvements for the SRT8 models, especially the Challenger, going from something downright miserable on track to something astonishingly capable for such a beast. Only wish all SRT8 models (not just the Chally) had the 6 speed manual, or at least a good auto. The 5 speed slushbox needs to be dead already.
        Xedicon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Krishan Mistry
        Agreed! Even so, I really wish Chrysler would for once make a Hemi performance car that's smaller than a land yacht. take the 200 replacement, stuff the 6.4 in it, RWD and the 6 speed. YES! I say this having driven a 2011 Challenger and enjoying it for the time, but it's just too big for me to want one... The sound of either Hemi sreaming away is sooooooooooooooooooo awesome though!
      pasigiri
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm very surprised by the Boss 302. Solid rear and all. I don't know much about Mustangs, but that was a pretty good lap time. Sounded pretty good too.
      dan1malk
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm surprised the updated GT-R is still slower than the ZR1 on the normal tires. Also surprised the Boss 302 is 4 seconds (!) slower than the Grand Sport. I know they are different kinds of cars, but I thought the Boss would be closer. I guess it says more about how killer that C6 is.
        QCRamAir
        • 2 Years Ago
        @dan1malk
        Just think how much more could be extracted from the C6's if GM would just put some damn supportive seats in them, allowing the drivers to focus on cornering instead of trying to hang on to the steering wheel as they slide against the door and center console during high-g cornering. This criticism has been heard everywhere and read in damn-near every single article regarding the Corvette. It's simply mind-boggling that GM won't at least offer a supportive sport- or race-seat as an option. The seats in the C5 and C6 are nothing short of pathetic, and the critics all over the world have let GM know this since the C5's debut, and yet as easy of a fix as it'd be to offer a supportive seat as an option, GM has still ignored the criticism. Seriously, their stubbornness drives me up the wall. How can such a serious, yet easily-remedied issue go ignored for so long?
        Xedicon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @dan1malk
        Love it or hate it, the C6 puts up some serious performance, even without a supercharger on it. :)
        Krishan Mistry
        • 2 Years Ago
        @dan1malk
        The Boss 302 is 400lb heavier than the Corvette, has a higher COG, and is a bit lower on torque. The weight distribution is nose heavy, and even with R compounds, it is under tired compared to the sticky rubber steamrollers on any C6 Vette with a handling option. The Boss's rear tires are the size of the Corvette's fronts. And the GS is full of Z06 handling parts. No surprises that the GS ekes out a win, but my question is how much slower would the regular Boss be, without a splitter and R tires, and with rear seats?
        404 not found
        • 2 Years Ago
        @dan1malk
        Shouldn't be a surprise at all. The ZR1 packs over 100 more horsepower than the GTR.
      art
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why do you guys compare a 120+k zr1 with the gtr? Compare a z06 and see what results you get.. A regular (non zo7 package 100k+) z06 will be easly beat by a GTR. Its honestly not that amazing when a 120+k car with 100 more hp and 800 fewer pounds on michelin cups (which are track tires pretty much) takes a 4 seater 90k 3800 pound car. Add 100hp, michelin pilot cups and take 800 pounds off of the gtr and lets see which car comes out on top..
        graphikzking
        • 2 Years Ago
        @art
        ZR1 can easily be bought for $109,000. (sticker of $112,000) Sticker price on a GTR is $96,500. When cars can be bought within 11% price of each other and both targeted towards a RACE/Sport/Track car - you compare them. Same reason we compare a Mustang to a Genesis, to a WRX. They are each different beasts but if your price range is mid 20k's and you want something sporty - then most likely you are comparing them. BTW - they also tested the Z06 that is about $24,000 cheaper than the GTR - time: 253.5 versus 253.2 for the gtr. I think I would save my $24,000 and just get a z06. http://www.caranddriver.com/features/lightning-lap-2012-feature-sortable-times-complete-lightning-lap-times-2006-to-2012-page-8 Also, I realize the gtr has back seats - but who the hell are you putting in there? Not an adult that's for sure. Even kids in the gtr don't make sense. The GTR was a no brainer when it was in the $70,000 range - at $96,500 base price - I think they pushed it too high too fast.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @graphikzking
          [blocked]
        StephenT
        • 2 Years Ago
        @art
        And if a frog had wings........ you know the rest.
        RackAttackSnack
        • 2 Years Ago
        @art
        "Add 100hp, michelin pilot cups and take 800 pounds off of the gtr and lets see which car comes out on top.." Yet that is not available nor ever will be offered. How about losing 500 lbs, then adding 400 bhp, then making it 5 wheel drive, then giving it a head start, then... blahblahblah fool
          art
          • 2 Years Ago
          @RackAttackSnack
          you can always get a ams gtr.. Hahaa
        Jarred
        • 2 Years Ago
        @art
        I'm picturing you as the fat comicbook guy from the Simpson's when I read your post. What you are saying could be realative to any match up. Relax. I think I could go on to pick you apart more, but then I'd be more of a dick.
        Sukairain
        • 2 Years Ago
        @art
        How do you suppose anyone can remove 800lbs off the GT-R? The ZR-1 is still faster than the 2012 GT-R with Pilot Sport PS2 Street Tires.
        threefortyduster
        • 2 Years Ago
        @art
        So you're saying let's modify the cars? It's not Car and Driver's fault or Chevy's fault that the GTR weighs 3800 lbs or that Nissan puts an overly reserved tire on the GTR. And seriously, when you're playing in the $100k ballpark, if you can afford the GTR, you can afford the ZR1 and why wouldn't you compare the tops of the line?
        Lemon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @art
        Z06 with Z07 package has a comparable price to the GT-R and the lap times are very close (within 0.3 sec in C&D's lightning lap). I believe their times are very close on other tracks as well. Some tracks the Z06 has and edge while other tracks the GT-R has bragging rights. So I agree, quit comparing the GT-R and the ZR1. The Z06 is the closer match in both price and performance
        art
        • 2 Years Ago
        @art
        A lot of vette fans on this site, anyways i want to see a z06 comparison with the gtr while the z06 is using street tires.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      mitytitywhitey
      • 2 Years Ago
      An yet I still wouldn't own one. (GM fanboys are going to turn a blind eye to this post and pretend I'm talking about another car).
        Lemon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mitytitywhitey
        And you won't ever own anything faster
        Dark Gnat
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mitytitywhitey
        No one cares if you'd own one or not.
          AnthonyL
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dark Gnat
          You care enough to reply to his post....just sayin.
        mitytitywhitey
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mitytitywhitey
        People make a big deal about the $90k GT-R? $120k? Really? The GTR makes a much better argument over a base Carrera than a ZR1 does over a 911 Turbo.
      Daverytimes
      • 2 Years Ago
      The GTR in the video is not the 2013, its the 2012 as in the one that was used in the "Worlds greatest drag race" video. The 2013 GTR should be on par with the ZR1 even though it is running on inferior tyres.
        jawnath1n
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Daverytimes
        The extra 25 or so HP the 2013 GTR gets will not make up 2.5 seconds. The 2012 GTR is also 1.5 seconds slower than the ZR1 on the Pilot Sport PS2s. Its not just the tires buddy.
          mitytitywhitey
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jawnath1n
          The 530hp GTR improved its time over the 480hp GTR... The 2013 is going to be faster, and no, you don't honestly know by how much, buddy.
          Varcity
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jawnath1n
          The 2013 model only gained 11-15 hp over the 2012 model, I've seen 541 hp listed, as well as 545. That little power increase won't get the GTR any closer to the ZR1, and I'm rooting for the GTR.
          Mike B
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jawnath1n
          It gained 19hp, from 530PS(523hp) to 550PS(542hp), I blame Nissan for the confusion, they didn't converted from metric hp to hp on the press release nor the site when the mk2 came out and more than likely they're gonna do the same with the mk3, so we have american magazines reporting an imaginary 545hp.
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