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.