Motors: The epitome of motoring

For some, the word ‘Porsche’ means only one thing: the 911. Twice British Rally Champion and owner of Karting North East (KNE), Guy Wilks, takes the latest version for a spin

Iconic, beautiful, sleek and fast, the 911 has never lost the attraction over the years, despite its many guises.
The finest German design, engineering and craftsmanship has satisfied owners – including myself – and admirers alike. And according to the new Porsche brochure, this latest version is “the best 911 of all time”. So is this claim correct?
The base spec of the new 911 includes leather seats, a leather dash and a leather heated steering wheel, and nestled behind the wheel are the things that make this into a technologically advanced sports car: the gear change paddles that control Porsche’s wondrous ‘PDK’ 7-speed transmission.
I’ve criticised paddle gears in the past but I do think there is a place for them sometimes; the new 911 being one.
Like the hair trigger of a rifle, apply slight pressure and you’ll change gear in an instant. It doesn’t matter if you are cruising and want to short shift up the box to limit effort or if you want to drop two or even three gears to get past a lorry with minimal effort. I’ve tried paddle gears previously – in cars with price tags of more than £100K – and gear changes were laboured and poor. This definitely wasn’t the case with the Porsche.
The German automobile manufacturer also continues to excel when it comes to the drive.
Ergonomically, the designers have got nearly everything right on this car. From the seats and seating position to the thumb scrollers on the steering wheel, meaning everything is – quite literally – at your finger tips.
Combine this with Porsche’s Communication Management (PCM) system that gives you real-time traffic information and you feel that everything about this car is geared towards making headway on your journey.
Speaking of which, I should talk about the engine.
For the first time ever, there is no naturally aspirated engine in the new lineup. This may devastate some Porsche enthusiasts, but it’s hardly surprising given that car manufacturers are pushing toward economy and lowering emissions by turbo charging everything from Fiestas to Bentleys.
But don’t worry, the new 911 still retains the irreplaceable flat six (not three, yet) cylinders that are now turbocharged – meaning 420hp pushes this ‘base’ 911 to 60mph in a spritely 4.2 seconds.
Thankfully, it also hasn’t lost that resounding deep burble on tick over, nor that rasp at top end revs either.
During my test drives, I like to try and use each car for as much of my everyday life as I can. This was no different with the 911.
When I previously owned a 911 this was before children and getting two children and two adults into this 911 did prove a struggle – especially for my youngest, Matilda, and her carseat. I had to pull the driver’s seat forward to accommodate the seat, which resulted in a compromised driving position for me.
Once we were out on the country roads, the 911 offered fast yet comfortable driving thanks to its Porsche active suspension management, which is fitted as standard. Everything is adjusted with the push of a button and you can definitely feel and appreciate the change.
I especially enjoyed my usual commute in the 911: the school drop off for our eldest daughter, Flourence, just before 8am in Durham, then it was a serene cruise along the A690 to the Karting North East track.
The only slight negative of this car, for me, is the price. For a little under £79,000 on the road for a PDK base 911 (a manual is £76,412), the Porsche needs to fit your life day-to-day and arguably it can. But if you really want it to look good, you should expect to spend at least £10k on extras.

Verdict
Porsche’s exceptional engineering and craftsmanship continue with the new 911, making it a tempting choice for petrol heads.

 

Porsche Newcastle
Silverlink Retail Park, Wallsend, Newcastle, NE28 9ND
www.porschenewcastle.co.uk

Karting North East
Warden Law Motorsport Centre, Sunderland, SR3 2PR
www.kartingnortheast.com  |  @GuyWilks

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