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.