Can I Keep It?

Offering precise handling and premium styling, the fuel-friendly Porsche 911 is still a class leader

I remember buying my first Porsche like it was yesterday. Looking at the adverts in Top Marques magazine, I spotted this reasonably-priced car for sale at the Porsche dealership in Edinburgh. I called the salesman and managed to do a deal over the phone as I didn’t have a part exchange. I paid the deposit over the phone and was so excited I remember counting down the days until I picked it up. As most of my uncles loved Mercedes cars, I was the first person in the family to own a Porsche. The night before I was due to pick it up, I couldn’t get to sleep with excitement. But, before I knew it, the train journey to Edinburgh beckoned.

The salesman picked me up from the station and whisked me to the garage to complete my paperwork. I remember starting the Boxster so well; the hairs on my neck stood up and I felt a tingle down my spine from the noise of the engine and the meaty growl from the exhaust.

Most Porsche fans will say the Boxster is not a ‘proper’ Porsche, but let’s not forget this car and the Cayenne have helped the company become the money-making machine it is today.

This brings me on to the car I had the pleasure of driving this month – the new turbocharged 911. Once again, Porsche purists will be appalled to read about the company going down the turbocharged route. The company’s justification for doing so is for greater efficiency and economy. With so many manufacturers going down the hybrid electric route, it was only a matter of time before the 911 was made more environmentally-friendly. The 911 was originally launched back in 1963 and it has been improved every time, but this has to be one of the biggest changes to the car ever. The only non-turbo version in the range will be the GT3 which, for now, will still have a naturally aspirated engine. The car is available in a Coupé, Cabriolet or a Targa which is a half-way house between the two and with either two or four-wheel drive.

I have been given the best-selling Coupe S to drive and first impressions are the car is not too dissimilar to the outgoing model from the outside. There are new mirrors, more aerodynamic body styling, new door handles and a more retro looking rear air cover. The main changes are to the engine and the cars dashboard – step inside the cabin and you realise the 911 really is a car you can drive every day. The car’s dash is leather trimmed and the scattering of aluminium gives the car a real premium feel. The touch-screen controls all of the car’s satellite navigation and phone and the inclusion of Apple Car Play makes it easier to play music and view messages.

The driver and passenger have plenty of head and legroom, the two rear seats can be folded for luggage and cases and are ideal for two young (or small) adults. The front boot is ideal for a couple of weekend bags or a small case. And, just for the record, there is more than enough room for a supermarket shop as well.

Being such a sporty car with massive alloys and tyres, you would expect the ride to be very firm indeed. The car I drove had Pasm fitted as standard and what a difference it makes to the car’s ride. I can honestly say that the imperfections in the road were handled with ease. The car’s electronic stability is excellent and should keep most drivers out of trouble. Should you be unfortunate enough to be involved in a crash, the front, side and window airbags will protect the cars’ occupants. Optional safety equipment includes blind spot monitoring, active cruise control and more powerful carbon brakes.

Given the choice of the 7-speed manual or the 7-pdk auto box, I would go for the optional automatic all day long. It is a real joy to use and you physically can’t change gears as quick as the box does. The manual also has a very heavy clutch which makes driving in traffic more like a workout for your left leg. I always remember hearing horror stories about 911’s losing control on bends, but this car is no longer intimidating to drive at all. A normal driver now feels like Lewis Hamilton behind the wheel – it is just so easy to drive.

The car’s steering is so precise – you simply move the wheel and the car goes exactly where you want it to. Factor in the amazing road holding and you really have a car to have massive amounts of fun in. The base model Carrera now gets to 62mph in a blistering 4.6 seconds, the Carrera S has so much pulling power you could literally leave it a high gear all day long. The Carrera is supposed to average 38mpg, but in the real world most drivers should achieve 30mpg with a mix of town and motorway driving.

The 911 comes with leather upholstery, satellite navigation, digital radio and dual zone climate control as standard. The list of options is extensive and most owners can spend another £10,000 above the car’s list price with consummate ease. The new turbocharged engine makes the car more efficient than ever and the bonus of better economy makes it an even more practical car to drive daily. Despite the engines being a touch more refined, this car is still the class leader and I can honestly say I didn’t want to give the keys back!


Car supplied by Porsche Newcastle | porschenewcastle.co.uk

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