Arab Today, arab today ruf rt12 r the 370kph yellowbird revival
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Arab Today, arab today
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RUF RT12 R: the 370kph yellowbird revival

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today RUF RT12 R: the 370kph yellowbird revival

London - Arabstoday

This might look like a Porsche 911, at first glance anyway, but it's not. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Ruf RT12 R, and you'll have to take my word for it that it's one of the very best supercars on the road today. That's about as much as I get to gibber after hitting 200kph on a ridiculously small slice of tarmac down the road from the factory. It hits that landmark in slightly more than 9.5 seconds, which rivals the likes of the Ferrari Enzo and Lamborghini Aventador and leaves the likes of a 458 Italia trailing in its wake. See, it looks like a 911, it even feels like one, but it drives on a higher plane altogether. Now there are two groups of people who know Ruf's wares: car nuts who drooled over the original Yellowbird and those too young to drive. They know the German manufacturer from the Gran Turismo games. It might start out as a 911, which is hardly shabby to begin with, but this car comes with Ruf reg plates and is a total bare shell rebuilt to the exacting standards of a company that has achieved manufacturer and mythical status in the sportscar world. It also comes with a 3.8-litre twin-turbo that churns out 730bhp and 940Nm of torque. As it fires up behind my head, it settles into a deep, rattling chunter, which is quite scary. Also somewhere behind my head is the rattling sound of gravel in a drier. That's the single mass flywheel, a racing touch that combines with the ludicrous power to make this one of the fastest accelerating cars on the road. That's the one major addition over the RT12 S, together with the track-focused Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres, essentially barely road legal cut slicks, that makes the R a real racing proposition and perhaps less of a daily drive, and if that sounds stupid I've seen shots of Rufs with 200,000km on the clock and still going strong. Because Ruf builds a car that is every bit as usable as the cars that left Porsche's production line, with the handy addition of lightning pace. Alois Ruf's engines spend a year in the development phase and are pretty much a block up rebuild, closer to his 3.6-litre R Turbo than the Porsche engine now. This car comes with a cast alloy intake manifold, larger throttle bodies, gas-flowed cylinder heads, titanium con-roads and Mahle pistons, as well as purpose-built camshafts. And even this car, effectively the race version, comes with the full Porsche Communication Centre console and luxurious trim on the carbon race buckets. That means a more track-minded individual could order their car with at least 45kg less weight. That's courtesy of lightweight doors, side and rear windows made from plastic and the optional carbon roof that drops more lard from high in the frame. Look closely and you'll see other, subtle, differences over the standard 911 Turbo, too. The air intakes sit on top of the wide rear haunches to channel air into the engine bay and also create downforce, the racing rear wing is just that and the front end is now completely different, with a bigger air intake to feed this monster and a front splitter to push it to the deck. It's an awful lot of work for a car that ends up looking so like a mildly-tuned 911 that only the true fans will be able to tell it apart. But that's the point of the car, and it's reassuring to know as I prepare to drop the hammer and experience the full onslaught of Ruf's most powerful creation to date. And when I do there are simply no words, which is inconvenient here. It launches off the line with the judder of a car that is at the legal speed limit before you realise it's moved at all. Officially it's good for 100kph in 3.2 seconds, but I'll bet you my pay cheque it is much faster than that and would bet yours it's sub 3.0 secs. It almost feels too fast, that single mass flywheel means it hoovers up speed and just throws itself down the road faster than the brain can really take in. Then I realise I still have half a throttle pedal that remains untouched, there's still loads of performance left… It feels stupid fast, it feels Veyron quick, it feels as fast as anything Pagani, Lamborghini and more can churn out although it runs out of steam somewhere beyond 370kph. That's more a factor of the less-than slippery aerodynamics and the fact that the gearing and performance have been tuned to work more effectively at the speeds we're actually likely to travel on road or track. Could it be engineered to break 400kph? Almost certainly, but Ruf's headline numbers happen by happy coincidence of pure engineering. He doesn't chase them. The four-wheel drive constantly shuffles underfoot as the computers best work out how to deploy this kind of insane power but I'm the slowest part of the equation. The needle just screams round the redline and a yellow light on the dash blinks, telling me it's time to change up; with a traditional six-speed and clutch, even a quick change feels like an affront to the car's power. I think it might be bored with me as I interrupt its insane charge towards the horizon with my clumsy inputs and for the most part I'm merely a passenger as the whooshing sound of the turbos and the anger of the flat-six gives the impression of being sucked into a vortex. It doesn't help that the car acquires speed faster than your eyes can cope with, and the road appears to narrow to a pinprick in the middle distance, it looks like you're screaming towards the end of the world. In fact, I'm so overwhelmed by the performance that I have to lift off, and that's when it strikes me that the car didn't twitch or falter once. OK, so the corners are pulling amongst themselves, arguing over the power delivery, but the car as a whole pulls perfectly straight, I don't need to fiddle with the wheel, I don't need to correct over bumps, there is no tramlining from the monster wheels. Ruf installed his own fixed suspension with a 50mm lifter kit that replaces Porsche's own adjustable set-up. And in doing so Ruf has once again mastered the black art of making a comfortable car that grips like almost nothing else on the road. And now, at a sane speed, it trickles along at 1,000rpm without a complaint, bar the rattling from the flywheel, and if you could handle the noise it could handle a long journey with ease. I don't fiddle with the traction control, it's too much car to take that kind of liberty on first acquaintance, but I'm assured it could hold four-wheel drifts all day long in accomplished hands, and with the roll cage almost invisibly fitted into the body, the new suspension and the lightweight structure, it feels twice as fast through bends as the base 911 Turbo. If this article sounds like a eulogy, then it is. Ruf is simply a master at what he does, taking an already great car and turning it into an automotive work of art that can blow more or less anything into the weeds. This is the way Porsche would build its cars if it felt the market could stand a €390,000 (Dh2.1 million) 911, which is the only downside of this whole equation. And it's still a performance bargain compared to its flashier, more pronounced hypercar peers. You can't really consider this next to the 458 Italias of this world, it belongs in the Enzo, Zonda and Agera class. It's that well finished, it's that well engineered and it's that much better than Zuffenhausen's finest. Ruf's most extreme 911 of the moment, was always going to leave an indelible impression. But as the trembling in my legs subsides and I look back on this machine for the last time, I think I might just be staring at automotive perfection.

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