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Ferrari 512TR vs. Porsche 911 Turbo – 1990s Battle!

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Ultimately, I decided on a 1990s battle: I would pit their 1996 Porsche 911 Turbo against their 1993 Ferrari 512TR, and I would decide which 1990s exotic is the better car — 20 years after everyone else already made the decision.

So I started with the 911 Turbo. Folks, I spent 40 minutes with this thing, and I truly couldn’t find a weird quirk anywhere. Modern Porsches have some odd quirks — just because they’re so loaded with technology that some of it has to be a little strange. But not the 1990s model (dubbed, in Porsche enthusiast circles, the “993”). This car has precisely what you need, exactly where you’d expect to find it, labeled precisely how you’d think it should be. No car is more precise than a Porsche 993 Turbo: It has literally no excess. There are only six buttons in the center control stack. The driver’s armrest doubles as a storage pocket.

It’s, uh, a different story with the 512TR. With the 512TR, if you can think it, Ferrari has made it weird. Every button is illogically placed, differently sized, and cryptically labeled. When you push one climate-control button down, another one pops up, like a whack-a-mole game. The exterior door handles are hidden, reverse gear is where you’d expect first to be, there’s no radio, and the hood and trunk releases display only the Ferrari logo and nothing else. It’s almost as if the person designing this car wanted you to laugh as you looked around the interior.

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