Now, I've always had this feeling that the Porsche 911 would be my kind of sports car. As I've got a bit older I've kind of grown out of that youthful lust Italy's finest sex machines tend to give you, and instead gravitated more towards the cars that are at least slightly more subtle. A little reserve goes a long way in my book.
It's pretty fair to say that for an expensive sports car the Porsche 911 Carrera is exactly that. Our test car was painted in the kind of metallic silver one might expect to find on a run of the mill motorway rep car, albeit with a little more sauce. Placed onto that seductive German posterior, the silver is very flattering choice. Mind you, I don't suppose a plain pair of knickers would look at all bad on Scarlett Johansson. That body was sat on some rather imposing optional black alloy wheels that added a little spice to the overall understated look of the car – plain knickers with bows then.
Climbing inside, the very first thing to do in a Porsche 911 (after adjusting mirrors and fastening belts of course) is to push the sports exhaust button. Even if you're not a lover of the 911 style, you'll appreciate the feisty growl of the famous flat six over your rear wheels. The exhaust just adds to this glorious soundtrack, a pure and undiluted smack fix for the ears which you'll be hooked on from the get-go.
Our route meant that we briefly took the local A-road just outside of Silverstone before turning off into something a tad more twisty. Perhaps slightly surprisingly, I found the Porsche 911 to be a pretty competent cruiser. The ride was sports car firm but still comfortable, and with the 'PDK' automatic gearbox set to plain old 'drive' the car was perfectly relaxing, and I was content to cruise along, albeit with occasional blasts of overtaking in order to hear that wonderful engine note yet again.
When the twistier roads were inevitably reached, the 911 didn't at all disappoint, but whilst we unfortunately weren't able to test out the full handling potential of this particular car, I can tell you some interesting things I noticed. You're certainly aware of the amount of weight towards the back of vehicle, but without ever feeling worried about it. The Porsche 911 is not a car that really gives you any cause for concern handling wise. It feels very stable and the urge to push on is always there, so confidence is certainly being projected onto the driver. A few laps on the handling circuit in a more powerful Carrera S provided some clues as to it's slightly tail-happy reputation, but the front end certainly felt very good when aiming for those apexes. Coming out of a tight right hander into a long straight was my favourite part of the course; turn in, clip, straighten, then noise, lots and lots of noise. Lovely.
Carbon ceramic brakes were fitted to this particular car and I have to say that on a road car, I can't really see the appeal. £6,000 is a lot of cash to spend on stopping power more suited to track driving. I have a hard time believing that the carbon ceramics are £6,000 better than the standard Porsche braking system, but I'd only really be able to say for sure by having longer with the car. On this particular occasion, I found them to be a little grabby and inconsistent underfoot. Whilst we're on the subject of things I didn't like about the car, I didn't really feel quality in the doors. A minor issue I know, but I sort of expected a little more 'thunk' in the door of a Porsche 911.
So what is my lasting impression from having a Porsche 911 for an hour? Well, I can tell you that I think the base 911 Carrera is perhaps more suited to the excellent feel of the Porsche manual gearbox. There's something about it that makes you want to get to grips with it and manhandle it a little bit more than you might its faster siblings. It's composed, comfortable, just fast enough to cause trouble, and above all else – it feels special without attracting too much attention. The Porsche 911 Carrera is the curvy German beauty I go to bed and think about just as I shut my eyes. Undoubtedly an encounter that needs repeating. Besides, I have to do a full review, right?
Originally posted on www.roadmag.co.uk -
Many thanks to the Opposite Lock community, who's encouragement and support in my early helped me get to do cool things like this! J.