The new Aston Martin Rapide and Porsche Panamera Turbo have been pitted against each other in an exclusive Autocar test.
Both firms set out to build high-performance, front-engined sports cars that look like coupes but function as saloons, yet the two vehicles are so different in design and execution.
The Panamera has forced induction for its 4.8-litre V8, plus a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, four-wheel drive and a state-of-the-art information interface.
The Aston Martin appeals on a more traditional level, with a conventional 6.0-litre V12 breathing at atmospheric pressure and transferring its energy to the rear wheels alone through a normal, six-speed automatic gearbox.
The Aston is nothing less than gorgeous, but that's something only those employed in Zuffenhausen might rush to say about the Porsche.
In terms of performance figures, though, the Porsche is ahead. The 493bhp Porsche fights the 470bhp Aston, but the Panamera's 516lb ft of torque to the Rapide's 442lb ft is more significant - as is the fact it delivers it from 2250rpm, fewer than half the revs required by its rival.
But being outpowered doesn't mean being outmanoeuvred. The Rapide's chassis feels as if it has been honed until no further improvement was possible. It rides more firmly than the Porsche, but with no great harshness. What's more, the steering is bizarrely communicative given the car's weight. It is only 20kg lighter than the Panamera, but on a decent B-road it feels clsoer to half a tonne less.
On a mountain road in Wales, the Aston never got left behind by the Panamera, and the German car was strangely remote and joyless to drive by comparison.