Raw and tactile, or a silver bullet without the drama? Paul Gover samples two Porsche 911s
ONE Porsche 911 is more than enough for most people. So what do you do when a silver bullet and the yellow terror are sitting in front of you and you have the choice of keys? You take both, don’t you. Then you quickly find a friend— let’s call him Harry — to ferry the second car through a day of driving indulgence with the quickest Porsche 911s on sale in Australia.
The silver bullet is the latest 911 Turbo, an allwheel-drive supercar which finally has paddle gear levers to shift its gears and 368kW/650Nm in the engine room, and the yellow terror is a track-focused, rear-drive 911 GT3 that comes complete with competition bucket seats, a rollover bar and five-point safety harnesses.
But which one first, as we head out of Melbourne into some seriously tasty driving roads?
It has to be the Turbo, partly because the numbers are more impressive, but also because it has more of the everyday nice stuff — cruise control, punchy sound system and cushy seats — to make the first freeway leg more enjoyable.
This one is loaded with stuff like ceramic brakes and the $950 paddles, but it’s the basic package that works.
The GT3 is very quick, with its own 320kW and 430Nm, but it’s also noisy and spartan.
It’s not as basic as a Hyundai Getz, and it also has ceramic brakes with trick stuff such as special engine mounts and a ‘‘nose lift’’ system for speed humps, but it’s a car you always have to drive— and it’s always shouting ‘‘look at me’’.
As soon as we hit the twisties it’s time for a sprint in the GT3, which reveals its hard-edged character by howling to the redline in any available gear.
It’s a classic driver’s car that you thrash and cajole and tease and encourage to give its best.
You must plan ahead in the GT3, because going briskly is about being in the right gear all the time, as well as working the brakes hard and keeping the suspension loaded.
There are times when the low front spoiler drags over big bumps, but this is tough stuff in a serious car.
Still, I know the only place to really stretch the GT3 is on a racetrack like Phillip Island.
And these roads run past cows and ducks and beautiful scenery, and there are mums and dads about, so we take it easy.
Then I switch to the Turbo and I expect the yellow terror to disappear as Harry has a thrash.
But the silver bullet is just as swift, without the drama. It has a mountain of pulling power in any gear and, thanks to its double-clutch, sevenspeed gearbox, I don’t have to worry so much about what’s coming.
It’s possible to brake later than the GT3, then pick a gear for the corner, all at the same time.
We switch again and I discover the GT3 is crazy fun because it’s raw and tactile and rewarding.
Harry is a huge fan of the GT3 and he makes a solid case for the car.
‘‘I can live with its shortcomings as an everyday car, because there is nothing I have ever driven that offers the exhilaration and reward