PORSCHE 911 ENGINE: me, even the decals. The test example looked especially fetching thanks to some choice options including black wheels and tinted glass. Inside, it added a full-leather cabin with yellow stitching, seatbelts and door pulls. I even liked details such as the manual shift pattern etched in red and “911” embroidered into the headrests. There’s Bose audio and aircon, of course. A hairshirt it ain’t.
And, rarely for a press car these days, it was a manual. Three pedals are the perfect match for a car like this, and a bit of a treat because at this level, in particular, most brands don’t even offer one any more. It’s quicker with a double-clutch automatic but where’s the purity in that? Happily, Porsche still makes great manual gearboxes and from behind the wheel it means you cannot help but engage with the car. I enjoyed every minute.
The T also serves to highlight the nature of the 911 – imperfect but engaging. Its chassis and steering say “drive me”. It has a great stance, feels connected to the road and even rides well.
Of course, there are drawbacks: the fiercer suspension settings can bounce the car around on country roads, forcing a return to Comfort mode. Bumps kick back through the wheel. And tyre noise can be excessive, while the engine could do with more drama. In a car like this, it’s impossible not to be reminded how Porsche’s naturally aspirated sixes used to sound.
But there’s a reason why Porsche makes money with such an unlikely hero as the 911. It has a little magic and even at the level of its simplest card trick – the 911 T – it forces anyone with driving genes to suspend their disbelief. No wonder that’s an elusive formula.