Porsche 911 GT3 RS vs. Lamborghini Huracan STO

It might not get any better than this. Quite literally…

By Matt Bird / Saturday, 21 October 2023 / Loading comments

For 20 years now, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS has been the track-focused super sports car to beat. Since 2003 it’s been less crazy expensive (at list price) than the Ferrari equivalent, lighter than the BMW M track cars, faster than anything Aston has conjured up… it’s little wonder they’ve become so revered. It’s no different with the latest 992 generation, either, which you’re likely already be up to speed with. If not, the TL:DR of both road and track drives is something that’s literally race car fast on a circuit while stopping short of being unbearable – on the contrary, it’s genuinely enjoyable – on the public highway. Peak GT3 RS, basically, and a formidable adversary. 

It demonstrates just how far Lamborghini has come in 20 years that 2003 only saw the debut of Sant’Agata’s first non-V12 car. Since then the baby Lambo has just become better and better and better: facelifts improved the Gallardo, as did stripped-out versions like the Superleggera and Balboni. From there, the Huracan didn’t quite hit the spot to begin with, only for it to evolve into stone-cold stunners like the Performante, Tecnica and STO you see here. It really wasn’t that long ago the notion of a Lamborghini road racer would have seemed as daft as an SUV, yet we know from prior experience the Huracan most certainly has what it takes to rival the 911. Precious few mid-engined supercars can claim to be more thrilling than the Super Trofeo Omologato. 

Given the standard Huracan’s reputation as a user-friendly and easy-going supercar (perhaps to a fault), the STO is unapologetically raw. There are no carpets, the view back is basically non-existent because of the rear shell, the door cards seemingly are a sheet of carbon with a rope on and the seats feel barely padded when you first encounter them. That’s the comfiest they’ll be, too. Start it up, scare yourself and the rest of the village half to death, then move away – the diff graunches if you dare move with any lock or throttle, and the Bridgestone Potenza Sports feel like they might have benefitted from tyre warmers. The STO might be automatic, it might be a Lamborghini from 2023, but you’ll want to concentrate. Hard.

Paying close attention, however, reveals one of the Huracan’s more endearing traits: it feels like an old Lotus. No, honest. Partly that’s because you’ll probably never locate a truly comfortable driving position, but also because you feel right at the pointy end of a great wedge of very special sports car, the front end responding to any and every request. The way the STO rides, too, even with firmer suspension, is redolent of that uncanny ability usually found in Hethel’s playbook – the capacity to stay low yet remain uncannily supple and unflustered in the face of abrupt gradient changes. To look at the wildly OTT STO and to experience how calmly it deals with a road is to be utterly confounded. 

A Lotus has never had this sort of powertrain, though. It’s easy to revel in chassis furnished with fluidity and poise, but matched to such a mesmerising V10 you could be forgiven for stopping every five minutes just to take it all in. Even at meandering speeds, the 640hp 5.2 is compelling; you flick those gorgeous paddles like a pianist on ivory, just to hear what kind of new symphony can be created. Here’s a car that sounds evocative when its cylinder deactivation is running, a gruff five-pot warble like an old Audi with a straight though zorst. With all 10 firing and the valves open around 4,750rpm, the Huracan’s baleful din is as spine-tingling as ever. Once you’ve overcome the seat-induced sciatica. 

So wild is the STO experience that, by comparison, the GT3 RS with the spoiler taller than its roof feels almost civilised. The engine is initially less hysterical, the road noise reduced, the driving position more natural and the interior less… well, purple for starters. But it’s a 992, so it’s ergonomically superior, makes more sense, and (surprise, surprise) feels a lot like a 911. 

But the RS flatters to deceive. It takes all of two corners to be reminded that it is anything but another 911. No road-going Porsche with its engine behind the rear axle – or ahead of it, for that matter – has ever turned in like this, inspired such confidence from the first tilt of the wheel, or displayed such unflinching composure through a bend. The Lamborghini intimidates initially, with its lightning-fast, overly light steering and snatchy brake pedal, whereas the RS feels like your bespoke, made-to-measure race car from the first rotation of those incredible magnesium rims. You’re at home, gosh darn it. And probably it’s never felt better.

While the tendency is to think of the 911 and Huracan as different classes of car (a notion underpinned by the historical difference in price) it is notable that the RS, to a surprisingly obvious extent, feels more and more like a mid-engined exotic now. Partly that’s due to the way it drives, although there’s no escaping the sheer size either. While both are more than capable enough on a B-road, they really do take up the entire width of their lane, cats-eyes thumping through semi-slicks and stripped-out interiors. Par for the course, arguably, in a Lamborghini; still something to get accustomed to in a 911. 

It’s famously easy to make a heart-string-twanging ‘emotional’ argument for a Lamborghini like this in Viola Bast, much as it’s convenient to dismiss the Porsche for being ‘clinical’ and ‘aloof’. It’s typically nonsense, underselling the merits of both, and never more so than here – look at this 911. Even around the STO it’s hard to believe the RS is road registered. To drive along and watch the DRS flaps open and shut in the wing mirrors, to fiddle with diff settings on the fly like a proper actual racer, and to bask in the architectural excellence that is the Weissach roll cage is to be totally enamoured with the 992 RS. The devil is in the detail, after all. And while it is not unreasonable to snipe about the model’s ever-expanding scale, it’s fair to say that supercar drama has arrived with those supercar proportions. 

And even if the flat-six doesn’t start out more mildly mannered than the great V10 gurgle, boy does it come good in the end. Somewhat incredibly, the 4.0-litre seems even more liberated from inertia than the V10, accruing revs and speed at a ferocious rate – that final 1,000rpm to 9k (when there is the chance to experience it) is utterly intoxicating. More so, probably, than the Lambo’s rush to its 8,500rpm limiter – although it can counter with burly, barrel-chested, addictive mid-range muscle the Porsche can’t quite match. The RS’s PDK might shift a fraction quicker, but the STO’s paddles are nicer to use. The RS launches harder – and yet once you’re rolling, the Huracan seems faster. Truthfully, while their differences are readily apparent, there is a subjective hair’s breadth between them – and that’s appropriate too for such an intoxicating brace of atmospheric engines. Now more than ever, to experience both in a day feels like a privilege. It is a tribute to their mightiness that you could wile away weeks in the Peak District attempting to choose a favourite, and even then it would only register as a personal choice. Rarely have 16 cylinders and 1,065hp been deployed to such awe-inspiring effect between two cars. 

Against that backdrop, it’s doubly intriguing that it’s the damping of the STO and RS which really marks them out. Not as marketable or as sexy as a mega engine or a crazy downforce claim, but it’s the character trait we most often returned to on the day. Doubtless, it’ll be felt at its most epic on circuit clubbing every kerb without complaint, though even on the road it’s the ability of each to deal with craggy, bumpy, really quite unpleasant tarmac which strikes you as extraordinary. Lesser cars, even lesser models from their respective ranges, would surely be flummoxed by the challenge, yet both retain remarkable composure throughout – they’re almost like tarmac rally cars. The ability to truly dissect a road coaxes bewilderment, then confidence, then yet more speed, followed (if you’re lucky) by an internal reminder to calm down a bit. But any lingering suspicion that these two are best confined to a circuit can be dispelled after 10 minutes on a bucking B road without a graunch or scrape to be heard. There’s colossal ability still in reserve, yes, and the occasional flicker of frustration when the limit seems distant – but more often than not you’ll be grinning too much to care. 

Of course, if you really wanted to prise them apart – without overstating the 911’s superiority in braking feel or the Huracan’s flightier enthusiasm for turning in – a track would be necessary. To feel the Porsche’s motorsport-grade aero work its magic in the really scary stuff, to experience the Lamborghini romp its way through third, fourth and fifth rather than just first and second, would be an experience to savour. Knowing that the Lamborghini has a more aggressive tyre option (the Potenza Race) and the Porsche a whole world of Track mode adjustability up its sleeve (from ESC to PTV) only serves to make the prospect more salivating. Both are memorable when you’re scratching the surface; previous experience elsewhere suggests they become unforgettable with speed limits no longer a concern. 

But we stuck to the road for good reason. Tedious folk will tell you that a Carrera T or an Evo RWD are all the 911 or all the Huracan you could ever need, and we’ve heard it often enough in this life cycle to wonder if it might be true. Emphatically, it is not. Obviously, they’re more money. And we take nothing away from the comparative talent of the more affordable stuff. But even as static objects both STO and GT3 RS are on another planet of desirability compared to their stablemates, so extreme are the concessions to track driving. It’s impossible not to peer, point and prod at this extension and that exhaust, brimming with the kind of childlike glee that cars seldom generate these days. Indeed, for all the engineering nous and aerodynamic subtlety at work, neither must be explained to a child; they stand out in the imagination like dinosaurs or glowering giants. Which is apt when you consider the chapter now drawing to a close. 

Time has already caught up with the V10, and the stopwatch is surely ticking on the continuing viability of a naturally aspirated flat-six, too. It is impossible to properly mourn for either while in their company because they are simply too outrageously good and obviously alive to get your head around the prospect of them not continuing. It’s like watching the Rolling Stones live in concert; it’s hard to conceive of a world that does not encompass them. Both models will earn successors, of course, of one sort or another – and it is thanks to non-stop evolution that we have two such remarkable cars in the first place. But we defy anyone sharing the same roadside gravel not to blow their cheeks out when asked to reflect on where exactly the unapologetic, unbridled road racer has come to rest in 2023. And if you need actionable consumer advice beyond that point, we’d refer you to a tried-and-tested solution: buy them both. 


Engine: 3,996cc, flat-six
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 525@8,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 343@6,300rpm
0-62mph: 3.2 seconds
Top speed: 184mph
Weight: 1,450kg (DIN)
MPG: 21.1 (WLTP)
CO2: 305g/km (WLTP)
Price: £192,600 (as standard; price as tested £235,007, comprising ParkAssist with reversing camera for £1,007, seat belts in Shark Blue for £222, LED main lights in black including Porsche Dynamic Light System for £498, Porsche Carbon Ceramic Brakes for £7,473, Front axle lift for £2,546, Accent package in Indigo Blue for £615, Weissach Package for £29,600 (!), Wheels painted in Indigo Blue for £446.)


Engine: 5,204cc, V10
Transmission: Seven-speed dual clutch, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 640@8,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 417@6,500rpm
0-62mph: 3.0 sec
Top speed: 193mph
Weight: 1339kg ‘dry’
MPG: 16.9
CO2: 331g/km
Price: £221,011 (price as standard plus VAT; price as tested £297,061 plus VAT, comprising Viola Bast paint for £9,540, Smartphone Interface for £2,480, Rims Hek 20″ Forged in Matt for £1,380, Upper Dashboard for £460, Full Exterior Carbon Pack – Shiny Carbon for £15,150, Lower Dashboard for £460, Livery – Pack 3 for £15,310 (!)Seats for £2,580, Ad Personam exterior details for £1,210, Floor Mats in Carbon for £3,210, Sport Seat for £ 5,050. Steering Wheel for £1,380, Electro-chromatic exterior mirrors for £730, Contrast Pack for £4,130, Anti-theft system for £510, Tunnel & Console for £820, Lifting System for £2,750, Cruise Control System for £650, Dark Chrome and Carbon Twill Package for £5,960, Fire Extinguisher for £550, Door Panels for £270 and Rear View Camera for £1,470

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