FEA­TURE CAR

New Zealand Classic Car - - FEATURE CAR -

The op­tional PDK (Porsche Dop­pelkup­plungs­getriebe) gear­box is truly some­thing to be­hold (we’ll get into the boxes you’ll need to tick later, but suf­fice to say we think the PDK op­tion is worth ev­ery cent). While the tur­bos push you through the revs quickly — quicker than you even con­sider the gear change, you’re back at the bot­tom of the power curve not hav­ing lost any mo­men­tum or pace. Back in real life sit­ting on gnarled mo­tor­ways at 35kph, the PDK slips qui­etly back into a more se­date pace, lulling you into a sense of calm and safety.

As a way of shed­ding weight on the pre­vi­ous car, around 45 per cent of the body is alu­minium, with the bal­ance be­ing very thin but strong pieces of mag­ne­sium and slightly heav­ier steel. This made for a re­duc­tion of 40kg from the 997. This lat­est-gen­er­a­tion 991 has put a bit of that beef back on, as it has to haul around the ex­tra weight of the tur­bos. It’s not no­tice­able, but I’m quite sure it will irk the de­sign­ers of the car to the point that the next ver­sion will again be headed for the ve­hic­u­lar equiv­a­lent of Jenny Craig.

One of the con­cerns I had was the noise th­ese changes might cre­ate. I’m a fan of the Porsche’s muted scream, and I hoped the tur­bos wouldn’t over­power that too much. I shouldn’t have wor­ried; the sonorous flat-six drone re­mains, with a slight whoosh from the tur­bos un­der sus­tained ac­cel­er­a­tion.

Once on the back roads and with Sport mode en­gaged, the 911 be­comes the car it wants to be. Our test model was the Car­rera 4 (un­com­pli­cat­edly, the ‘4’ stands for 4WD). This sys­tem, paired with the op­tioned 20-inch wheels, made for some very im­pres­sive cor­ner­ing from the Porsche. It felt planted at ev­ery point and was for­giv­ing enough to let you have a sec­ond crack at the oc­ca­sional apex. The wider rear track means a type of sta­bil­ity that in­stils ab­so­lute con­fi­dence. As some lovely West Auck­land back roads un­furled in front of us, this base-model 911 took the drive in stride and did every­thing we would ex­pect from a proper sports car. It felt planted (re­as­sur­ingly so with a bit of pace up) and happy to be flung in and out of some tricky cor­ners.

sys­tem via USB. This al­lows Siri to be ac­ti­vated via a but­ton on the in­di­ca­tor stalk. But, per­haps most vi­tally in this new re­la­tion­ship with Ap­ple, there is ded­i­cated iphone (or other smart­phone) stor­age, mean­ing no more phones fly­ing around the cabin if you hap­pen to get a touch overzeal­ous on a back road.

Google Earth and Google Street View are stan­dard fare for nav­i­ga­tion sys­tems now. With the nav-view avail­able on the dash, this set-up makes find­ing and ar­riv­ing at any un­known des­ti­na­tion a breeze via a rec­og­niz­able in­ter­face.

While you’d not ex­pect a cav­ernous in­te­rior in the 911, the Car­rera re­mains 55mm longer than the 997, mean­ing that the cabin has ben­e­fited ever so slightly. While there are back seats in a 911 — and Porsche takes pride in of­fer­ing them — they are best suited for those with no re­quire­ment for blood flow be­low the knees. But no mat­ter; the rear seats fold onto them­selves to pro­vide an al­most gen­er­ous shelf which, at a push, will fit a set of golf clubs. The front boot space is

ac­tu­ally quite a large area (at 145 litres) and com­fort­ably swal­lowed all of our pho­tog­ra­pher’s gear, as well as a few other bits and pieces, so we’d say more than enough space for a long week­end away with­out the kids — or maybe you could just keep driv­ing as Sun­day night rolls around and buy new clothes as you need them? front axle lift might be a step too far, as we found the stan­dard ride height more than ca­pa­ble of man­ag­ing jud­der bars at very low speed. Our test car’s 20-inch Car­rera Clas­sic wheels don’t come cheap (at $5500), but they’re cool, so we’d ei­ther fork out for them or go for the slightly more cost-ef­fec­tive 20-inch Sport De­sign wheels ($3900).

One nifty fea­ture our test car was fit­ted with that we quite liked was the lane-change as­sist ($1590). Us­ing radar sen­sors, the sys­tem is­sues a warn­ing sig­nal via the door mir­ror when­ever a ve­hi­cle rapidly en­ters your blind spot on ei­ther side of the car. One op­tion not fit­ted to the test car that we’re al­ways a fan of is adap­tive cruise con­trol, and at $4320 it seems a good box to tick.

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