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The Warsaw Voice » Real Estate » March 29, 2012
CAR REVIEW
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911 Porsche Carrera S PDK: The World’s Best Sports Car?
March 29, 2012   
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The Porsche 911 has been a sports car icon for nearly 50 years and many of the models in the series are now classics. No car in automobile history has been able to get people revved up like this one.

Now in its seventh generation and sold as the Porsche 991, the latest 911 was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in autumn. This was one of the most talked about cars of the year as well as one of the highlights of the Frankfurt get-together. The last time a new 911 strutted her stuff was in 2004.

So how does this latest offering measure up? According to Porsche, 95 percent of the previous version has been changed to produce a car that is bigger, more powerful and faster, but above all, lighter, more economical and more environmentally friendly. A new generation is always compared to the one being put out to pasture and not, for example, to what the competition have to offer. Could this be because there is no competition?

I’ve never been sold on the shape of the 911. I’ve always found that the small wheelbase and the large front and rear overhang detract from the overall harmony of the body. However, that’s all changed with the new body. The designers hit upon the right body proportions by increasing the wheelbase by 10 cm. The rear, with its narrower taillights and even more massive mudguards, is likewise appealing. None, and I mean none, of the previous models looked as good as this.

Making the wheelbase bigger has also made for more room inside the car. The familiar stubbornly vertical steering wheel has only ever been unconditionally accepted by diehard Porsche fans. Now, the extra space has made it possible to rearrange the driver’s seat and the steering column relative to the pedals. Even the tallest of drivers can now make themselves comfortable behind the wheel. The dashboard has also been redesigned. The idea was taken from the GT model and now looks similar to the Panamera with its lightly rising central panel. The look of the driver’s compartment and the quality of finishing materials are both world class. Nor can the ergonomics be faulted. The rev counter is in the center of all the dials. Right next to it is the speedometer, which indicates speeds of up to 330 kph, no less.

The navigational display and audio system work brilliantly. If you’re into gadgetry then you’re in for a few surprises. There are buttons on the central panel near the gearstick that let you set your individual preferences for the shock absorbers as well as the engine, gearbox and suspension (Sport and Sport+ Program). You can also extend the rear spoiler, and control the sliding roof and even the resonance of the exhaust system.

The new Porsche Carrera has been slimmed down. Special light alloys have been used in the suspension, body and engine with the upshot that the new Carrera weighs in at just under 100 kg less that the previous version, the 977. Accelerating a car weighing 1,445 kg is not much of a challenge for a 400 p.s. boxer engine.

With this power fed though a seven-speed, double clutch (PDK) automatic gearbox, which is hard to beat for either speed or precision, the Carrera can reach a ton in just under 4.1 seconds and has a top speed of 304 kph.

What I liked most when driving the Carrera was the incredible combination of engine power and drivability. Rear-wheel drive plus an engine at the rear should be the worst combination possible, but the car handles like a 4WD.

Regardless of type of surface, speed and number of turns, the car remained stable and felt like it was glued to the road. And the ceramic disk brakes can virtually stop the car on a dime. This Porsche’s drivability is the result of the rigid body, the low center of gravity, the precise steering system, the suspension, tires, and thousands of other features.

All this power, performance and technology comes at a price. The Carrera S PDK starts at around 125,600 euros. Checking off the optional extras will increase the price tag by thousands, even tens of thousands of euros. But then again, the Carrera is one of the best sports cars in the world – and that’s not just my opinion. There are those who point out that this is hardly surprising since Porsche engineers have been beavering away on this one model for nearly 50 years.
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