No in­tro­duc­tion re­quired

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Jon Smith

CALL it iconic, call it a throw­back...you can call it what you wish, but the Porsche 911 needs lit­tle in­tro­duc­tion and ev­ery car en­thu­si­ast is sure to hold an opin­ion of it.

It’s, in many ways, a Mar­mite car – a model that strongly di­vides opin­ion. I will hap­pily nail my colours to the mast as a hope­lessly com­mit­ted fan.

The lat­est range, the Gen2 991-se­ries, is markedly dif­fer­ent, yet amaz­ingly sim­i­lar-look­ing for a new model.

For a start the en­gine size of the Car­rera S Cabriolet I’ve been driv­ing has been dropped from 3.8 litres to 3.0litres and it is tur­bocharged which in­creases power by 20bhp to a hulk­ing 414bhp.

De­spite still be­ing a flat-six, the ad­di­tion of twin tur­bos, has for tra­di­tion­al­ists slightly changed the char­ac­ter of one of the long­est run­ning model lines.

Ex­ter­nally, there have been tweaks – new bumpers, ver­ti­cal slats on the en­gine cover, four-dot day­time run­ning lights and 3D tail lights.

But it’s still very recog­nis­able as a 911 with its roots back in the early Six­ties.

And the great thing about it is that un­like most of the su­per­cars it’s up against in per­for­mance terms, the Porsche re­mains prac­ti­cal and easy­go­ing ev­ery­day trans­port. De­spite com­pact ex­ter­nal di­men­sions, it’s got two small rear seats and a de­cent sized front boot which can take 150 litres of lug­gage.

OK, you may pre­fer (wisely) to use those diminu­tive perches in the back for lug­gage rather than ac­com­mo­da­tion – it’s so handy to have some­where to sling a brief­case of a coat rather than hav­ing to lock it in the boot. With the rear seats folded there’s space for an­other 260 litres of cargo.

Then there’s the shape. Al­though the nose slopes away, the wings are eas­ily vis­i­ble and al­low you to place the car per­fectly through bends, un­like some low-slung ex­ot­ica.

Old-school looks there may be but there’s now an up-to-date in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem on board and Ap­ple CarPlay.

The en­gine note may not be quite so pure as pre­de­ces­sors but the ex­tra power and torque al­lied to im­proved flex­i­bil­ity lifts the 911 to a new high. And the op­tional sports ex­haust gives it a bark that’s vi­cious enough for most.

With the elec­tric hood down, you are able to fully ap­pre­ci­ate the sym­phony of sound.

Fit­ted as stan­dard with a sev­en­speed man­ual gear­box, the S wipes out 0-62mph in four and half sec­onds.

The op­tional PDK au­to­matic trans­mis­sion trims the time by a few ad­di­tional frac­tions. The man­ual is a pleas­ing gear­box with a slick change but the clutch is a tad heavy.

No sign of turbo lag here, as the Cabriolet surges for­ward, but there is a dis­tant whis­tle from the turbo units.

Smooth roads and tight bends bring the best out in the 911 as squirts be­tween the curves, then crouches and hugs the Tar­mac with lit­tle sign of ei­ther un­der­steer or over­steer. Steer­ing is pre­cise and in­for­ma­tive... bet­ter, in fact, than the last model.

The Sport Chrono pack gives you a lit­tle dial on the steer­ing wheel al­low­ing you to choose Sport or Sport Plus which sharp­ens re­sponses and blips the en­gine as you change down. A tri­fle child­ish – but good fun.

De­spite enor­mous per­for­mance, the Car­rera S is sur­pris­ingly easy on the wal­let when it comes to fuel. With CO2 emis­sions of 202g/km, the of­fi­cial com­bined fig­ure is 32.1mpg. Even tak­ing in some hard driv­ing, my av­er­age was 23mpg and on a more re­laxed cross coun­try run I got 28mpg.

Few, if any, sports cars are able to of­fer such breadth of abil­ity. Hugely rapid and sat­is­fy­ing, yet so easy to drive, the 911 has earned its place as a gen­uine icon.

TEST DRIVE PORSCHE 911 CAR­RERA S CABRIOLET

MODEL: Porsche 911 Car­rera S Cabriolet PRICE: £94,698 ME­CHAN­I­CAL: 414bhp, 2,998cc, 6cyl petrol en­gine driv­ing rear wheels via 7-speed man­ual gear­box MAX SPEED: 196mph 0-62MPH: 4.5 sec­onds COM­BINED MPG: 32.1 IN­SUR­ANCE GROUP: 50 CO2 EMIS­SIONS: 202g/km BIK RAT­ING: 36% WAR­RANTY: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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