As you can see from the title, this article is a tribute to a motoring icon’s 50th birthday. Most of you probably don’t know which car it is but I think you can tell by looking at the picture in the article, so happy birthday to the prestigious Porsche 911! Seven generations of precision German engineering, combined with the advances in technology throughout the 50 years past, have made the 911 a car like no other. Many changes are made in each generation, include major ones such as the body shell design and engine cooling methods, to make the 911 into a car that attacks the track and takes you home feeling like you were in a baby carriage. Out of all the cars readily available at a local dealership, the 911 is by that the best I’ve ever.
There are over 15 variants in the full 911 range and it will be impossible to go through the differences of each model, but I will shortly describe them. There is a base Carrera has 2 engine variants producing 350bhp and 400bhp, and they both come in RWD and 4WD models. Each of these models has a Cabriolet version with a retractable soft top. Next, there are 2 different twin-turbocharged variants producing 520bhp and 560bhp that also comes with Cabriolet versions for both. For pure enthusiasts, there are the more powerful versions of the base and turbo models with their own more variants.
The current model, named the 991, has many enhancements and technology to become an everyday car and upholding their motto “Porsche Everyday.” The new 7-speed transmission, Porsche Doppelkupplung or PDK, is a Porsche designed dual-clutch transmission, where the gear ratios are closer together for maximized power, increasing acceleration at any operating speed. The car I was testing had the automatic with sports plus option, which allows for later gear changes when activated, and I was surprised at what the gearbox could do. Without the sports mode activated, the gearbox changed up to 5th gear at 40 mph, with a possibility to be in 7th gear at speeds just over 60 mph. This allowed the powerful sports car to achieve fuel economy comparable to cars with engines with half the horsepower at 20/27 mpg.
When the dealer activated sports mode and told me to “floor it”, I did so. The gearbox shifted from 6th gear into 2nd in less time than I can count, and the car was propelled from around 40 mph to 70 mph in about a second. The instantaneous acceleration was brutal but very satisfying. The second my foot couldn’t go any further, my head also went back into the headrest – any harder my head would’ve gone through it. Talk about acceleration G-forces. I couldn’t lift my head off of the headrest until I backed off the throttle. Now, I can assure you that movies and cartoons are not kidding when the characters hit the boosters or rockets and get shoved back into their seat.
The steering had also been changed from the hydraulics to electro mechanical. This is quite technical and I won’t go into details, but the main advantages of this system allows for conserving energy as hydraulic steering is constantly active. The motor that turns the wheels is only activated when there is input from the driver. Most enthusiasts complained that this system caused the new 911 to lose precision response, but I did not feel this problem. In fact, it felt like every millimeter I turned made the car change a millimeter in that direction. Each and every bit of the car was precise, and the margin for error in every part was slim to none. Sitting in the drive was like being held by a lover; tightly but not suffocating, strong but caring. The suspension was so forgiving that I went over a railroad crossing at quite some speed but my spine didn’t get shook out of my head, nor did I feel the car going off course. Mind you, this car is equipped with racing tires that have less traction on cold days, and it had been chilly enough that the dealer told me to take it easy on bends. Long trips are highly recommended, as this car takes care of its occupants.
The new 911 is filled with standard equipment normally seen in luxury cars, but with an extra that I have not seen in another car. As standard, each 911 is equipped with a hard drive to store up to 10,000 MP3 songs. There was so much to explore just in the electronics of the car. In terms of options, they are costly, but it does make sure your 911 will be YOUR 911, and pricing is fair.
Everything combined, Porsche really lives up to their name and the 911 is the definition of the ultimate personal sports car. I wish I could say more, but I will save further thoughts for discussion on the Vector website.