The Pinnacle of the ICE sports car

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Danoff

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With the purely internal combustion engine sports car going the way of the dinosaur, the time is rapidly coming where we can crown a champion of the era. It's not here yet, but since the picture is emerging, we can already start to identify the greatest cars ever built with only an internal combustion engine as the powerplant. Use whatever judgment you want to determine which car you think is the best. Looks? Straight line acceleration? Lap times? Comfort? It's all fair game. Feel free to vote as many times as you like, just explain why you've chosen what you have.

I'll kick things of with... the Bugatti Veyron

bugatti-veyron-super-sport-.jpg

bd8a983c4c3d0ef65e053dca48ca8ad1--bugatti-veyron-interior-design-cars.jpg


- 268 miles per hour
- Blistering lap times
- 1200 hp
- 10s quarter mile
- 16 cylinders

It ticks every box (on the road anyway). Drag race? Yes. Hot Laps? Yes. Top Speed? Yes. Luxury? Yes. Light and nimble? Awwww man. I was on a roll.
 

Liquid

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So we're talking the best ICE car rather than the best ICE used in a car.

As a pure engineering project it's hard to look past the Veyron. But the same could be said for many historical benchmarks (Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, Jaguar XKSS, Ferrari 250, McLaren F1).
 

Danoff

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So we're talking the best ICE car rather than the best ICE used in a car.

Yes best car with only an ICE. If you want to use the engine as your main criteria, just pick your favorite car with that engine. The goal is to identify the best all around offering of the ICE experience, because once you start adding electric engines, it's a different animal.
 
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mustafur
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images (5).jpg


I think this car will have some legendary nostalgia to it that I doubt many will be able to replicate in the future, sure you have much faster ICE cars but this is probably the biggest thing a Hybrid or electric car will miss and it's the pure raw sound of a Screaming N/A engine, something about this engineering work of art is just on another level, lamborghini make V10s that almost rev as high but this engine has a tone to it i don't think will be replicated ever again in a road car.

This will eclipse the Veyron for desirability in the future IMO because there can always be faster cars but the raw real sound isn't so easy to replicate or even better when things move electric.

The Sounds of the iconic ICE in history will age better then the fast ICEs that don't have the instant 100% torque of electric and in general will probably just feel sloppy in comparison.
 

Danoff

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The Sounds of the iconic ICE in history will age better then the fast ICEs that don't have the instant 100% torque of electric and in general will probably just feel sloppy in comparison.

I think another thing that may age well is light weight. Right now electric is pretty heavy. Maybe that comes down later, but typically cars just get heavier.
 

SlipZtrEm

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I'd make an argument for the Ferrari 458 Speciale, or the 812 Superfast. The former was the last nat-asp V8 berlinetta — probably ever — and left on a high note. The 812 still gets along without a turbo, and is approaching ludicrous amounts of power. Seriously, it's over 300 hp more than the 550 Maranello was putting out only 20 years ago. That is 63% more power out of one additional litre.

Turbocharged engines are their own impressive beasts, but I think the idea of pushing the ICE as far as it can go without them is arguably almost more impressive.

Oh yeah, and if we're mentioning the Veyron (completely justified, BTW), I think its polar opposite sibling deserves a mention:

upload_2017-8-16_12-4-49.png
 
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I think another thing that may age well is light weight. Right now electric is pretty heavy. Maybe that comes down later, but typically cars just get heavier.
Probably, but i think Carbon Fibre will eventually become cheap enough to be used in normal cars since the materials used are created.
 
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Lexus LFA View attachment 667261

I think this car will have some legendary nostalgia to it that I doubt many will be able to replicate in the future, sure you have much faster ICE cars but this is probably the biggest thing a Hybrid or electric car will miss and it's the pure raw sound of a Screaming N/A engine, something about this engineering work of art is just on another level, lamborghini make V10s that almost rev as high but this engine has a tone to it i don't think will be replicated ever again in a road car.

This will eclipse the Veyron for desirability in the future IMO because there can always be faster cars but the raw real sound isn't so easy to replicate or even better when things move electric.

The Sounds of the iconic ICE in history will age better then the fast ICEs that don't have the instant 100% torque of electric and in general will probably just feel sloppy in comparison.
^^^^^ 100%

I've seen three of them but the most memorable one is the green one I saw.


The sound is incredible. He hammered it down a straight and I swear. EVERYONE stopped what they were doing to look at what was driving by.
15356220891_7773efbe58_o.jpg

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I've absolutely never understood why people turbo:censored: the Lexus LFA so much.

I'm sure it's a well engineered car but I just don't see it.
The engine doesn't look overly special on paper, but it's throttle response is probably the best of anycar ever made as well as having the fastest revving engine ever made, that combined with it's sound it makes V12 Lamborghinis and Ferraris sound like a Mondeo in comparison.

Apart from that it's not that special I would agree, but you can see where Toyota spent their time and money on this car.
 

Famine

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I'd say that the Chiron has one-upped it in every possible regard.

I'd struggle with this question, to be honest. For it to be 'what's the peak of ICE' it needs a memorable ICE. But then for me the car has to be special to look at and not a chore to drive every day - no low speed driveline shunt, width concerns, increased potential for kerbing, poor over-the-shoulder visibility, or poor turning radius. And then not twitchy when you get a move on - fun, but not in a "Hahahahaha, I almost died!" way. But I'm also thinking that it can't be too thirsty at max chat, so the engine can't be too old school and the car can't be really all that heavy, or present too much of itself to the air. And then if I had a choice between all that in a two seat car or all that in a four/five seat car, the one with more seats is more practical and thus 'better' because it can do the extra things as well.

The problem with that is that I've ended up with the only possible option being an Audi TT RS, and that's not even my favourite ICE car I've driven this year.

Back to the drawing board.
 
I've absolutely never understood why people turbo:censored: the Lexus LFA so much.

I'm sure it's a well engineered car but I just don't see it.
Maybe instead of trying to see it, you should take a moment to hear it.

It's also a very good car. The LFA won comparison tests with the 599 GTO and a certain Jeremy Clarkson declared it the best car he's ever driven. Maybe it's not your cup of tea, but it's not hard to see why it has a following, so I'm puzzled as to why you made this post. Do you really not understand why other people might like excellent things that you don't personally care for?
 

Danoff

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I'd say that the Chiron has one-upped it in every possible regard.

Except for notability.

I'd struggle with this question, to be honest. For it to be 'what's the peak of ICE' it needs a memorable ICE. But then for me the car has to be special to look at and not a chore to drive every day - no low speed driveline shunt, width concerns, increased potential for kerbing, poor over-the-shoulder visibility, or poor turning radius. And then not twitchy when you get a move on - fun, but not in a "Hahahahaha, I almost died!" way. But I'm also thinking that it can't be too thirsty at max chat, so the engine can't be too old school and the car can't be really all that heavy, or present too much of itself to the air. And then if I had a choice between all that in a two seat car or all that in a four/five seat car, the one with more seats is more practical and thus 'better' because it can do the extra things as well.

The problem with that is that I've ended up with the only possible option being an Audi TT RS, and that's not even my favourite ICE car I've driven this year.

Back to the drawing board.

You get to vote more than once. ;) I intend to. It's a big question, what makes it the best - there are so many angles from which to look at it. Feel free to create sub-categories to narrow the field.
 
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Does it have to be restricted to a production vehicle and engine, or can they be something that was modified or completely redesigned by a third party?
 
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Maybe instead of trying to see it, you should take a moment to hear it.

It's also a very good car. The LFA won comparison tests with the 599 GTO and a certain Jeremy Clarkson declared it the best car he's ever driven.
So because it sounds nice and the press liked it.





You sure showed him for daring to not like a car as much as others do.
 
It was a genuine inquiry. No need to be snarky.

I don't understand the appeal of a Range Rover myself, but I'm not posting condescendingly about it.
 

Epic B

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1996_McLaren_F1.jpg

I have to give a vote to the McLaren F1. Many have upstaged the F1 in absolute performance but for me the F1 will always be legendary, given that it was not only a record breaking road car (And I doubt any other normally aspirated production car will ever beat its top speed), but a dominant force in motorsport. Also, it seats THREE people.

I'd also probably put the forthcoming Aston Martin Valkyrie on the list given the bonkers V12 it's planned to have. But I don't think it would count since it will also have a battery for KERS.
 
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"I'm sure it's a well engineered car" long known as one of the most condescending of insults that can be given to anything automotive.
You very well know that facile caveat was not what I was alluding to. If he thought the car was quite good, he wouldn't have questioned why it had a following in the first place.
 

Danoff

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Does it have to be restricted to a production vehicle and engine, or can they be something that was modified or completely redesigned by a third party?

Whatever you think delivered the ultimate purely ICE experience in a car (I wasn't really going for motorcycles).
 

Epic B

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Does it have to be restricted to a production vehicle and engine, or can they be something that was modified or completely redesigned by a third party?
From what the OP says, I think any car powered only with an internal combustion engine is fair game. So I don't think stuff like coachbuilds and tuners are off limits. Concepts might be fair game too.

00porscheturbo.jpg


Another car I'm gonna vote for is the 911 Turbo, any of the ones with the PDK transmission (997 II, 991, 991.2), especially the current 991.2 Turbo S. Mostly, for these cars' apparent defiance of physics.
 
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Hmm... the question can be asked, When was the pinnacle of the ICE? If each engine built today and tomorrow, surpasses the engine from yesterday, we haven't reached the pinnacle as yet. However, if I were to pick say, the Chevy small block V8. That may have been it(just for devil's advocate's sake). Though it wasn't the perfect engine, engines after it just became more efficient. That's what I'm getting at.

This isn't about the best engine, but the pinnacle of the ICE. Are such engines on a climb, leveled out or on a downward slope?
 

Danoff

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Hmm... the question can be asked, When was the pinnacle of the ICE? If each engine built today and tomorrow, surpasses the engine from yesterday, we haven't reached the pinnacle as yet.

That's part of the reason why I like the question posed with respect to cars rather than engines. The last ICE ever developed might be the best, but it's almost guaranteed to not be the best overall offering when put in a car. Since we're already seeing the worlds fastest most capable cars go to hybrid systems, the time has already passed where many of the major manufacturers are aggressively developing ICE-only sports/performance cars. That means there is a very real chance that, given whatever criteria you might use, we have already seen the best car that will ever be manufactured with an ICE and no other power delivery system.

Anyway, it seems like a good time to take stock of the era as we move to the next.
 
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homeforsummer

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Porsche 911R probably gets closest of the cars I've personally driven, if we're to assume that a vital component of the ICE sports car isn't just that it's a sports car that happens to have an internal combustion engine, but that the engine itself must be somewhat central to the experience.

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It's more or less the ultimate incarnation of the modern 911, and the GT3 RS engine it uses is quite spectacular in performance, delivery and sound. It's one of the best modern production car engines in one of the best modern production car chassis, which has to place it near the top of the list. That such an engine doesn't dominate the experience but rather complements it says a lot for the overall abilities of the car.

Honda NSX should be somewhere up there too, because the engine really does define that car, and it possibly makes a better noise even than the 911R's flat six.

Of cars I've not driven which I'd be tempted to answer this question with...

car_photo_576667.jpg

You could put the McLaren F1 up there, or maybe the Porsche Carrera GT, but everyone I know who has driven an F50 rates it incredibly highly. It has a genuine F1-derived engine but also one of the great Ferrari chassis. Ferrari has made some great V8 road cars over the years, but none are quite as special as their V12 one.

A great shame of trying to answer this question is that it's very difficult indeed to find something that doesn't sit right at the top of the supercar tree to answer it with - i.e. nothing truly accessible. Caterham Sevens probably get closest, but while they're incredible at being sports cars, they ultimately tend to use fairly humble, technically uninteresting engines, and when there are flat sixes and V12s out there a basic four-cylinder doesn't cut it.

S2000 doesn't cut it either - great engine, but I've spoken to too many colleagues who really don't rate it as a sports car, despite it being a darling of the internet. And sorry, but nothing with forced induction. There have been some great turbo engines, and supercharged ones, but for me the greatest ICE sports cars will always be naturally-aspirated, for the sound, the response, the power delivery and the purity.
 
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Anathema

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Personal choice so far is the McLaren F1. I don't think there are many cars that are designed with the intent of the F1, which if I remember correctly was "to give the purest driving experience" or something like that. It's always had a special place in my personal car pantheon, there's just something i can't explain about it.

Of the cars I've driven... uhhhh... because of the cars I've driven the only ones that could be remotely considered would probably be a Miata, maybe a FR-S/BR-Z or NA 240SX like my former car. Maybe if I was drunk the Volvo 240.
 

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I'd personally put forward the second gen Audi R8 V10 Plus.
audi-r8-v10-plus-2015-c932104022017195426_2.jpg


In a world where everything is getting turbocharged and/or hybridised, the R8 has remained as a last defiant bastion for the naturally aspirated mid-engined supercar. It's Lamborghini V10 has stood as one of the world's greatest engines for it's raw noise and character.
 
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The latest Pagani Zonda, whatever that happens to be. It may not approach the specific output of some of the Ferrari V12s, but it must feel much more monstrous from the combination of much higher displacement (that towering 7.3-Liter, 445-cubic-inch AMG V12) and much less weight. Combine that with the absolute artistry of Pagani and you have a pretty good argument for a high point in automotive history. The Zonda will probably go down as the finest automobile ever created. A Mclaren F1 or Bugatti Veyron seems clinical and industrial by comparison; a Lamborghini silly and juvenile.