If you need a day-to-day serious sports car that will knock your socks off but also be happy to paddle around town, the Porsche 911 is the pick of the bunch. We spent a week in the company of the 911 including three nights in the Lake District. Whereas the likes of Astons, Bentley and Maserati feel big and slightly daunting here, especially on the narrow, twisting roads of the area around Windermere, the Porsche 911 is surprisingly easy to punt along. It’s also extremely forgiving to drive and doesn’t feel as though you’re having to hold it back. If you spend a fair amount of time driving in town traffic, the 911 will be a surprisingly handy tool to ride around in.
The Porsche 911 has been around since 1963 and it keeps on getting better with every iteration. It looks brilliant while still being faithful to the original model. Over those 55 years or so, Porsche has continued to hone the 911. No wonder it is now so good to drive and live with.
The latest Carrera 911 uses a typical Porsche flat six engine, situated behind the passenger compartment but it is a new 3.0-litre twin-turbo unit. It continues to have the sort of sound that no other car produces. If you are walking along the street and a 911 is approaching from behind, any car nut will instantly recognise the telltale hum, although you now get a faint whistle from the turbos. You also get 365bhp, which converts to a 0-60mph time of just over 4.5 seconds and a top speed approaching 190mph. However, take it easy, and you’ll manage around 33-34 mpg.
There is adaptive suspension which means you can stiffen things with SPORT mode, but you might want to save that for the track.
Of course, you can get Porsche 911s with 4-wheel drive, and there are the 911 Turbo flying machines (although actually all 911 engines are now turbocharged). You can have convertible models, Targa tops and there’s the track-focussed GT models. But the bottom line is that you can’t go wrong with the entry-level, rear-wheel drive, 911 Carreras. They’re hugely capable, extremely comfortable and have a surprisingly supple ride. There is adaptive suspension which means you can stiffen things with SPORT mode, but you might want to save that for the track.
Something else we wouldn’t bother with is the twin-clutch auto gearbox. Granted, it actually shaves a couple of tenths of the 0-60mph time, but the 7-speed manual is terrific to flick around and play with. It suits the car. 7th gear is long-legged for motorway cruising, but the manual box mated to the new 3.0-litre twin-turbo engine makes the power incredibly flexible. If you were in the older models, you had to keep the revs going but with this one, ease your foot down and away you go. There’s no need to rev the life out of the engine because there is a bucket-load of low-end grunt.
Price? £77,891. You could very nearly have three Porsche 911 Carreras for the price of an Aston Martin Vanquish. The interior is terrifically stylish. You get all of the basics including a new sat nav and infotainment system. It works really well. The seats are supportive and comfy. Oh, and you get two seats in the back. OK, it’s mainly for toddlers or your local Borrower, but it’s a useful luggage area which adds to the one that is under the boot lid up front.
Overall, the Porsche 911 takes some beating. For most folk, it’ll be the ideal sports car ticking the majority of boxes. For the money, is it the best sports car out there? Undoubtedly, the answer has to be yes.
For more info, see porsche.com