Fortunately, standing on the brakes lets the six-piston calipers clamp down on 15.0-inch ceramic composite discs at each wheel. The car scrubs off speed immediately, aided by ABS and traction control. It's an immense car, refusing the wiggle even when standing on the center pedal.

But there are lots of cars out there with telephone number top speeds and the kind of acceleration figures that could seemingly get them into space. In Germany alone more than 10 tuners/manufacturers are indulging in their own private arms race. Most are merely missiles, sacrificing any kind of driveability or sanity in the name of high-end numbers.

Ruf's genius through the ages has been protecting the Porsches' everyday capabilities, and while the CTR 3 is pushing the envelope and would never be an all-encompassing track, shopping, and workday tool--that's what the 911 is for--it is genteel in this rarefied company.

The suspension is firm and relates every bump and ripple to the cockpit. The shift lever would leave most men lopsided after a long drive and prolonged use will result in tinnitus. But the engine can be left in a higher gear and the car will lope through town, and the interior is every bit as good as any in the world. Too often in this class we find ourselves excusing imperfection from niche manufacturers, accepting flaws as character.

But not here. The CTR 3 is perfectly trimmed with quilted Alcantara and the remains of a Porsche dashboard have been used to manufacturer standards. It even comes with a full Bose sound system and, yes, even cupholders. It's a driveable, usable supercar and a work of art all at the same time.

Only the Pagani Zonda F can compete in terms of looks and sex appeal, and even that is slower. There are faster cars, there are more beautiful cars, but this could just be the most complete, usable hypercar on the market right now, and with just 50 scheduled for production it should by rights be sold out already. Ruf is done with tormenting tuners and his small band of fanatics. Now he has declared war on the world, and it looks like he could win.

Ruf CTR 3
* Layout
Longitudinal mid-engine rear-wheel drive

* Engine
3.8-liter flat six, dohc, 24-valve, twin turbocharged and intercooled

* Transmission
Six-speed sequential manual with synchromesh

* Suspension
MacPherson struts, anti-rollbar coil springs and dampers (f), multilink axle, anti-roll bar, horizontal coilover dampers (r)

* Brakes
Six-piston calipers, 380mm perforated and ventilated rotors, Bosch ABS

* Wheels and Tires
Ruf forged centerlocks, 8.5x19 (f), 12.5x20 (r)
Michelin Pilot Sport, 255/35R19 (f), 335/30R20 (r)

* Exterior
Carbon-Kevlar body shell

* Interior
Custom Alcantara and leather upholstery, 160 mph speedometer

* Performance*
Peak Power: 700 hp @ 7000 rpm
Peak Torque: 656 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
0-62 mph: 3.2 sec.
Top Speed: 234 mph
*Ruf data, DIN hp (691 SAE)

Ruf Auto Centre
Ruf Automobile GmbH
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