Car & Driver has published their annual 'Lighting Lap' issue where they pit the latest and greatest performance cars against each other in a well-analyzed hot-lapping of the Virginia International Raceway (VIR). Amongst the contenders this year and on our Audi-centric radar were the new S4, TTS, R8 5.2 FSI and the Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 SV.
That it's in its fourth year means C&D has some good legacy data with which to compare and see cool facts such as the B8 S4's faster time than that of the B7 RS 4.
So what did C learn? We don't want to spill all their beans, but we can say the Audis/Lambo gave an impressive performance. Here's a quick summary.
Audi R8 5.2 FSI
Best Lap: 2:59.5 @ 82.2 mph
Worth Noting: The R-tronic V10 R8 beat the Lotus Exige this year by more than 5 seconds and also beat the Ford GT's numbers logged in 2006 by more than a second. It's also very predictable, making the Corvette feel 'leery' in comparison.
Best Lap: 3:10.8 @ 77.4 mph
Worth Noting: The S4 was the only sedan in the field this year and likely one of the biggest. That didn't stop it though from beating the NISMO 350Z, Ford Mustang GT and Hyundai Genesis 3.8 coupe amongst others. The S4 is the most handles 'like no other Audi sedan in history'. C&D editors put the Audi Drive Select system and Sport Differential both in Auto modes to actually dial back the aggressive steering ratio and diff-induced oversteer. The latter actually made the car more tail happy than they wanted on track, something that was magnified by hot rear tires. We're guessing this is the first time C&D has complained of 'too much' oversteer from an Audi sedan.
Best Lap: 3:08.4 @ 78.3 mph
Worth Noting: Like we found when we compared the TT 3.2 quattro to the Z4 and Cayman at Gingerman, C&D were surprised with the ease with which you can be fast in the TTS. It's very composed and very forgiving and there's no perceptible body roll according to C&D. The TTS beat out the Nissan NISMO 370Z by over three seconds, a wider margin than the time by which it lost to the Porsche 911 Carrera S. For the record, it also beat the Camaro SS.
Lamborghini LP670-4 SV
Best Lap: 2:53.9 @84.9 mph
Worth Noting: The Lamborghini owned the straights, hitting the greatest peak speed of 157.4 mph. The car reportedly had its quirks, but was sickeningly fast once they really started to push it and warm the tires. C&D surmises that it lost to the ZR-1 largely because of a slightly lower power-to-weight ratio and, more importantly, because it had such tall gearing.
Enough of the tease already. If you want to read more, check out the latest issue of Car & Driver in newsstands now.