A Week With A 911
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
There can be no doubt that the Porsche 911 is one of the most distinctive and easily recognised cars on the roads today. Honed to perfection over its long life, sales of this iconic sports car are still as strong as ever.
A good few years have passed since I was last behind the wheel and I therefore jumped at the chance to refresh my memory and sample the latest version. The fact the loan coincided with my wedding anniversary was good fortune and certainly added a touch of excitement to an already planned weekend away in Northumberland.
The 911 range is now quite extensive with more than 20 editions in the line-up. Top models compete in the supercar arena, but I was more than happy to be driving a 'humble' rear-wheel drive Carrera fitted with a few choice options.
The rather eye-catching 'A 911' number plate, worth a lot more than the car, ensured the car attracted attention wherever I journeyed.
Under the bonnet sat Porsche's latest twin-turbo six cylinder engine pushing out a heady 370hp. Purists may mourn the loss of the naturally aspirated engines of old, but in real world driving the 911's performance is now more instantly accessible.
On paper it is claimed that the 911 will sprint to 60mph in under 4.5 seconds and during my week behind the wheel it felt every bit as fast. Top speed is a heady 183mph (I won't vouch for that).
The test car came with Porsche's latest 7-speed manual gearbox, which combined with a light and progressive clutch, made gear changing a pleasure.
Whether seven gears are strictly necessary, I'm not sure, but at motorway speeds in top gear the engine is barely ticking over for increased economy and refinement.
A gentle Sunday evening cruise down the A1 saw the 911 achieve just over 30mpg, not far short of Porsche's official 34mpg for the combined cycle.
At the end of the week the trip computer showed an average of 26.5mpg over 390 miles.
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Much of my time with A 911 was spent on some of Yorkshire's finest driving roads. My regular playground, I subject most test cars to a number of challenging routes and on occasions I am surprised at how inept some cars with sporting intent cope.
No such issues with the Porsche which gave a handling master class. Not only did the 911 feel safe and composed at all times, but the level of grip available even in the wet was quite astounding.
The steering felt alive and offers a level of accuracy that allows the car to be placed on the road with millimetre precision, a definite boon when 'pressing on'.
The adaptive dampers do an excellent job of isolating occupants from the battered stretches of tarmac that are now all too common. Sport mode is perhaps a tad too firm for everyday use, but will suit track day enthusiasts.
Straight line stability is excellent, great for long distance motorway cruising.
Wind noise is hushed, though on some sections of courser tarmac there is an intrusive amount of road noise. Blame the large section tyres I suspect.
And while we are on the subject of noise, I did question the fitment of a sports exhaust system to the test car as it costs an additional £1,773. However it sounds superb and negates the need for the BOSE Surround Sound System (add £963)!
The standard 911 is well equipped and so it should be for £76,412. However there is huge scope to raid the extensive and expensive options list.
I've already ticked the rorty exhaust box and would happily pay £405 for the black/Bordeaux two-tone leather interior. It complemented the subtle silver exterior paint finish rather well.
Heated seats are a necessity (£320) and I would see no need to further indulge. If I'm honest, I'd spend the £8,000 or so that the options cost on a second-hand Boxster for those sunny days. I suspect I'm not a typical Porsche customer.
The 911's interior is a comfortable place to spend time. Supportive front seats and an excellent driving position are there to be enjoyed. The cabin is beautifully made and all the controls work with a mechanical precision.
High quality materials abound and everything feels reassuringly expensive.
Rear seats are fitted but are best thought of as an overspill space for extra luggage. They can be folded flat if required.
The front boot is deep and well shaped and is able to cope with a reasonable number of squashy bags etc.
Rivals for the 911 are few and far between. An Audi R8 or Aston Martin V8 Vantage perhaps, but they are considerably more expensive than the base variant I am reviewing here.
A Jaguar F-TYPE Coupe might be on the 911 buyer's shopping list and it can be had for around £50,000, though most will spend considerably more. I'm not sure it offers the same sense of occasion however.
So perhaps the 911 is without rivals. Its appeal remains undimmed and after a memorable week behind the wheel I can understand why.
You can spend well over £100,000 on a 911 variant but I would venture that on our heavily policed roads, there is little point. A 911 proved plenty fast enough in all situations and cut a dash wherever I journeyed.
Sometimes less is more and I believe that to be true in the case of this iconic Porsche. So dig deep, reign in the options spend and you will have a true sports car that will excite and involve on even the most mundane journeys.
Porsche 911 Carrera
List price - £76,412 (£84,891 as tested)
370hp 3.0-litre twin turbo engine
7-speed manual gearbox
0 to 62mph in 4.6 seconds
0 to 99mph in 9.8 seconds
Top speed 183mph
Combined economy 34mpg
Emissions 190g/km CO2
3 year unlimited mileage warranty
A Week With A 911, 1st August 2017, 17:58 PM