Most mem­o­rable mo­tor­ing mo­ment of 2015

Winnipeg Free Press - Section E - - AUTOS -

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.

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