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Auto blogTue, 07 May 2013 11:27:00 EST
One of the greatest things every Corvette has had going for it, and also one of the most re-used arguments against it, is its price-to-performance equation - long before the Nissan GT-R became the de facto Porsche 911 comparator the Corvette spent decades as Exhibit A. Depending on which side of the argument you stressed, supporters crowed about how much performance you got for how (comparatively) little, detractors carped on how little you got everywhere else in the bargain.
It appears Chevrolet is working as hard as ever to render the argument meaningless. Spy shooters at KGP captured a convocation of European birds of prey leaving the General Motors test center, and aimed at benchmarking the C7 Corvette ZR1. The road train comprised of two C7 Corvette Stingrays, a 2013 Corvette ZR1, McLaren MP4-12C, Ferrari 458 Italia, Audi R8 V10 Spyder and Porsche 911 Carrera S and it was last seen heading down the same kinked-up back roads used to hone the Corvette Stingray.
The C7-series ZR1 and its possible 700 horsepower are still a ways off. If it really is being positioned to compete with the celestial exotica in the testing group, could it be the first Corvette to regularly be the first answer to the question "Cost no object, which would would you rather have?"
Today, we have the Porsche 918 Spyder. Before that, there was the Carrera GT. While both of those cars are dramatic departures from the traditional, rear-engine Porsche formula, they owe their very existence to another wild child of the iconic German brand - the 959.
Like so many of the great performance cars of yesteryear, the 959 was a homologation special, built just so Porsche could go racing in the clinically insane Group B rally series. Fewer than 400 959s hit the streets, but those that did were some of the most advanced cars of the 1980s. A rear-mounted, twin-turbocharged flat-six sent its power through a still-rare all-wheel-drive system, creating a race-inspired rocket that was, for a short time, the fastest production car on the planet.
Xcar has the story of the 959, from its inception to its conquest of the Paris-Dakar rally, which is interspersed with a drive of the legendary coupe. Scroll down for the full video.
Manufacture of the next-generation Porsche Panamera could be moving, if a report from Reuters is true. The current-generation Panamera range has its bodies welded together and painted at a Volkswagen facility in Hanover before being shipped to Leipzig where final assembly takes place.
According to Reuters, Porsche is looking to cut VW out of the equation and focus production of the Panamera in Leipzig. While this could cost 800 of the 14,300 workers at Hanover their jobs, it's not entirely clear what Porsche stands to gain by the move. It recently invested 50- million euros (about $680 million at today's rates) on a paint and body shop for its Leipzig factory, ostensibly so the facility could have Macan production underway by that car's spring 2014 on-sale date. If the facility was also designed with next-generation Panamera production in mind, then Porsche's decision to put all of its eggs in one basket could make a lot of sense. It currently ships the semi-completed Panameras from Hanover to Leipzig, a distance of around 160 miles by road, and presumably it's a costly and time-consuming process.
The Leipzig factory produced 27,000 Panameras last year, although it's unclear just what its production capacity really is. Besides the Panamera and the upcoming Macan, the factory also builds the Porsche Cayenne.