These five cars might have been loosely grouped together as couples, but the 911 is a sports car. In fact, the 911 defines sports car, and redefines it every evolution. The standard 911 gets an invitation because, altogether the 997 model designation hasn’t changed, and the car has been very heavily reworked There are new, direct- injection engine that both increases peak outputs and significantly reduce fuel consumption and therefore CO2 emissions. This S produces 385bhp- up 35bhp- and nails 60mph in 4.5 seconds and 100mph in under ten, but returns 27.7 mpg and emits just 240g/km. Porsche has done every other car here a favor by showing that the fast car has a future, but it has also set a standard that will be hard to match. There’s also the option of Porsche’s new Doppelkupplungsgetriebe seven- speed twin- clutch gearbox. Our test car totaled a mighty $86,221; much went on cosmetics, but the major chassis options that influenced how it drove are the rear LSD, PASM adjustable damping and 20mm lower suspension for $753 and the ceramic brakes for $6349. Sorry about all the tech and prices, but 911s are so endlessly, deliciously configurable that its important to define exactly what it is you are driving before you describe it.
You need a circuit’s long straights to properly explore the new engine and ‘box’. The former is a little guttural at lower engine speeds but the noise resolves into a rich, deep, deafening mechanical blare at full effort, accompanied by an absurd level of thrust that the last- generation Turbo would have struggled to match. The PDK transmission is magnificent, nailing the smooth/ fast balance better than any other similar system. And while you could learn to live those wheels- mounted button shifter, there’s no question that paddles work better. Even after four days I still found myself consciously looking for the button mid- corner, then thinking about which way to push it; no good in a car this quick.