You know how sometimes those childhood dreams…if and when they finally comer true later in life….never seem to live up to your expectations?
Not this one.
Always wanted to drive a “basic” non-turbo 911 stick shift.
Finally got to.
It was worth the wait.
Let’s explain “basic”. 350 HP 3.4 liter six with a seven speed stick. Zero to 60 in 4.6 seconds. 179 MPH top speed. And that’s the “basic” 911. They only go up from there….way up…..in price and performance.
Get an “S”….get a Turbo….load ‘em up with options and you can easily spend an additional Toyota Camry’s worth of money making that 911 Carrera distinctly yours. Do you need to? No?
Our test 911 started at $84,300 + a $995 destination charge…and had only a small handful of options. $2,950 for a sport exhaust….$2,940 for sport seats with 14-way memory…and $1,000 for Sirius XM and Sport steering wheel.
Let’s start with that steering wheel. It kinda’ defines the whole vehicle. Covered in glove-soft leather with three perfectly-positioned spokes. No radio controls or other distractions on the wheel. Just the unspoken command to “Place both hands here…pay attention….and drive.”
And when you do, it’s a sweet experience indeed.
The steering is waterbug quick and precise. Just what you’d want in a vehicle like this. But no daydreaming allowed behind this three-spoke wheel. A mere twitch of the wrist can have you changing lanes.
As for the engine…..perfectly mild-mannered and tractable around town. Doesn’t even feel like a supercar….until you nail it. Step on it gently in any gear and you get a beautiful exhaust burble that quickly becomes a growl….as if you poked a stick into a basketful of sleeping bears. But really nail it and you’ll be thrown back into your seat as that engine “burble” becomes a baritone machine-gun blat blat blatting you toward triple-digits!
And as you’d imagine, the 911 has the brakes to bring you back to sanity in mere seconds.
Porsche, like so many manufacturers now, has an automatic that will out-run it’s stick-shifts…and give better mileage while it’s at it.
We had a traditional stick, tho’…..in this case a seven-speed. While seven speeds might seem almost too many, with Porsche they’re perfectly placed and each gear brings a slightly different melody from those 3.4 liters. The clutch is firm, but even in this amateur’s hands, seemed “lurchless”. Again, just more well-thought-out pieces of a total package that is a delight to drive.
In fact, the 911 could easily be a daily driver…even in the city…even for someone in their 60’s.
In a concession to fuel mileage, the 911 has an engine cut-off when you’re stopped at a light in neutral. As soon as you re-engage the clutch, the engine re-starts. It’s a seamless system that’ll save you a little gas. The other advantage of the “auto-restart” technology is on those rare occasions when you stall it out ( sorry ), it automatically re-starts for you in an understanding face-saving gesture.
Speaking of mileage, people don’t buy cars like this for their mileage…..but they could. Rated at 19 city and 27 highway ( premium, of course ), we got almost 30 on a road-trip. Almost embarrassing to get that kind of mileage in a Porsche, I know, but hey…..it was a fire-engine red Porsche….forcing me to just go with the flow in the right-hand-lane to insure a ticketless trip.
Just one note to Porsche….and I’m sure I’m not the first one to suggest this, but dump the rear seats and just make the whole area a luggage shelf…which it pretty much is anyway, as there’s no real legroom back there. And while we’re talking about room, there’s a compact, but surprisingly deep trunk in the front that will easily hold two airline carry-on bags.
The 1% has it good….as will I when I win the lottery. But….Porsche has been earning such high marks in the various quality and owner-satisfaction surveys that maybe… just maybe…I could justify a pre-owned 2011 or ’12. Hey honey…………