Tracking the 2017 Porsche 911
Now even non-turbo models have gone turbo
Aday spent turning laps on a race track, regardless of the vehicle being driven, is usually time well wasted. But when the car being wrung out is a Porsche 911, well, that's fun on an entirely different level.
Porsche Cars Canada recently invited a group of automotive journalists to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) to sample a handful of 2017 Porsche 911 Carreras on the Driver Development Track (DDT), which sits adjacent to the daunting 10-turn, 3.957-kilometre Grand Prix track.
Sadly, there were no laps turned on that circuit this time out, but the tarmac of the updated 18turn, 2.88-kilometre DDT is plenty challenging in its own right, especially when driven with Porsche machinery.
Speaking of the cars, Porsche brought several variants of the 911 along, including the Carrera S, Carrera 4, Carrera 4S and Targa 4S. All were equipped with Porsche's excellent PDK 7-speed automatic transmission.
A rather significant change has occurred for the 2017 model year – which begins the second iteration of the current generation, known internally as the 991-2 – on the engine front.
Across the range, the 3.4-litre normally aspirated flat six-cylinder engine has been replaced with a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged flat six, which delivers more power and better fuel economy.
On the non-s models, horsepower and torque from the 3.0-litre checks in at 370 / 331, which is up significantly over the 350 / 288 delivered by the 3.4. Things get even more thrilling on the S models, where the 3.0-litre pumps out 420 horsepower and 368 lb-ft. of torque.
The aforementioned efficiency gains are also noteworthy. Non-s variants equipped with the 3.0 and PDK now achieve a city / highway slashline of 10.6 / 8.0 L/ 100 km, a marked improvement over the 11.6 / 8.4 figures from a similarly equipped 3.4 model.
Raw numbers aside, the 2017 911 is an absolute delight to drive on a race track. It sounds great, loves being driven hard and its handling is superb. While I'm not a race car driver, I pushed these cars as hard as my ability would allow (which is still quite aggressive), and was rewarded with an engaging and enjoyable driving experience.
The 3.0 screams with delight as I mash the gas and let the PDK go to work with precise shifts that launch the car confidently through corner exits and along the DDT'S long front straight – it was great fun.
Porsche's ad tagline for years has been `there is no substitute'. That line has never rung truer.
"ACROSS THE RANGE, THE 3.4-LITRE NORMALLY ASPIRATED FLAT SIX-CYLINDER ENGINE HAS BEEN REPLACED WITH A 3.0-LITRE TWIN-TURBOCHARGED FLAT SIX, WHICH DELIVERS MORE POWER AND BETTER FUEL ECONOMY."