It would have been instructive to drive our test car on the standard wheels, especially as the basic Carrera comes with active damping as all 911s do. But Porsche’s people had chosen to fit S alloys at a cost of ￡1145, probably to make the car look better in photographs, though a peep on the configurator shows that the standard hoops look fine. It’s likely the standard car rides a shade better and generates less road noise because of its marginally taller and more flexible tyre sidewalls.
Like all 911s, wherever their price, build quality is right at the top of the class. While other sports car makers like to make an issue of the improving quality of their cars, Porsche sees leadership in this area as normal and makes it obvious. You can’t miss it even as you prepare to drive one of the cheapest 911s money can buy…
What's it like?
There’s a familiar remote hum as the engine starts and warms, and a precise, beautifully predictable engagement of drive when you decide to move. Warm the car for a mile or two, then stretch its legs. You’ll soon discover that the wide, linear torque spread of this sweet-sounding engine laughs at turbo-lag: it seems ridiculous that we ever worried about ordinary 911s adopting this cleaner, more efficient means?of induction.
Because of its sports exhaust, our test car barks quite a bit as our engine use gets keener; my own instinct would be to specify a standard exhaust that only makes its presence felt when you’re fairly hard on the gas somewhere around 5000rpm, heading for the 7500rpm redline.
Give this car its head and it’s willing and very fast. Not explosively fast, mind, but we’d suggest there are few truth-speaking drivers who’ll notice — let alone miss — the difference between a 3.7 and a 4.2 second 0-60mph time. Much easier to admire is the 911’s superbly linear power deliver and the sophisticated cog-swapping of its eight-speed paddle-shift gearbox, whether you simply let it do its own thing or use the paddles. So accurate and accessible is the kickdown that you can enjoy deciding whether to drop one cog or two, just through the subtle application of your right foot.
The 911’s handling has the very same familiar feeling of having been endlessly honed that runs through every aspect of the car. Ignore where the noise comes from and you’d never know its engine was located outside the wheelbase at the rear, except you’d wonder how the bonnet could be so low. The Carrera turns beautifully (the steering gearing, wheel size, rim effort and turning circle co-operate perfectly) and there are such high levels of stability and grip on offer that all you feel at pretty quick cornering speeds is mild and roll-free understeer.