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First Drive: Ruf RT12 R


At first glance, this might look like a mildly tuned Porsche 911. It even kind of feels like one. But it's not even in the same ballpark. This is the Ruf RT12 R, one of the very best supercars on the road, and a machine that reduces me to a gibbering wreck after the first full slug of gas.

Because on the most innocuous-looking back road, this monster hits 125 mph in just a shade over 9.5 seconds, rivaling the likes of the Ferrari Enzo and leaving the 458 Italia in its wake. See, Ruf is not a tuner. It's a manufacturer that happens to use the Porsche's basic shell and not much else. The Ruf RT12 R essentially is a lion in wolf's clothing.

 Only the experts who remember the record-breaking Yellowbird back in the 1980s will know this is anything other than a 911 -- them, and kids who have played too much "Gran Turismo." Only the knowledgeable few will spot the subtle badging, the air intakes atop the rear haunches, the re-profiled front with a splitter, center lock wheels, lightweight doors, and optional carbon roof. Only they'll know the rear wing isn't a cheap aftermarket add-on. The masses won't look twice, which might offend some people who have just spent the thick end of $400,000 on a car. But then Ruf never did build cars for the nightclub valet: It's all about the drive.

 The 911 Turbo was hardly a shabby car to begin with, but this is a total bare-shell rebuild to the exacting standards of a company that has achieved mythical status in the sports car world. It also comes with a 3.8-liter twin turbo that churns out 730 hp and 693 lb-ft of torque. As it fires up behind my head it settles into a deep, even scary rattle, like the sound of gravel in a dryer. That's the single mass flywheel. Only that and the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires rule this out as a daily driver. While the 650-hp RT12 S could easily handle the commute to the office, and a copy has even racked up 124,000 miles in one keen customer's hands, this Ruf is effectively a track car and weekend warrior.

(Source)


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