Most memorable motoring moment of 2015
OF the dozens of cars I have the opportunity to drive each year, one usually stands apart from the rest as being most memorable. Last year it was the Jaguar F-Type V-6 S. And even though we are a month from the end of this calendar year, my fearless prediction is the Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet will go down in my personal history book as the highlight drive of 2015.
This one’s a bit different from the Jag. The F-Type was a game changer for Jaguar last year. The 911? Well, it’s been around a while, evolving constantly over several decades. Yet somehow, it just keeps getting better.
This is a sports car icon, but Porsche isn’t simply riding on the coattails of the 911’s storied predecessors. Constant improvements in performance, style, and yes, efficiency are hallmarks of each new generation of 911. This latest iteration — the 991, as it’s known by Porschephiles and in the industry — is no different.
Case in point: a naturally aspirated rearmounted flat-six that generates 430 horsepower from just 3.8 litres. An engine that howls to its 7,600-r.p.m. redline with tremendous urgency, yet is capable of ambling along to generate fuel consumption ratings of 13.1 L/100 km in the city and 9.4 on the highway. Styling tweaks and carefully chosen options that manage to turn heads even though this is a familiar shape on our roads.
Advances in chassis technology, Porsche Active Suspension Management specifically, allow the driver to compensate for rough roads at the touch of a button, giving this car a tractability around town few can match in this performance league.
Porsche’s marketing machine deserves credit as well: at last count, there are 24 variations on the 911 theme currently for sale, each catering to the discerning tastes of Porsche’s target customers. The GTS trim hits the sweet spot for me. I’ve always preferred the nonturbo versions of this car, and the GTS sits above the Carrera and Carrera S in the power hierarchy. It’s also more civilized than the track-focused GT3 RS, which is rear-drive only and lacks the amenities that would make it suitable as a daily driver. Throw in our tester’s all-wheel drive and this is truly a four-season sports car.