New Porsche 911 Carrera Supercar On Track And Road
When I drove the new Porsche 911 Carrera supercar round the track at Millbrook, England, I hadn't been there before. Fortunately, I had driven another car for a few laps before I got into the Porsche, which was one of the most powerful cars available for journalists to drive.
The first thing that struck me about the new 911 Carrera was that it looks nicer in the metal than in the pictures, either in red or silver. The latest engine is very powerful for 3.6 liters, with a power output of 325 bhp @ 6,800 rpm. It is a wide car, and sits of wide tires, so I expected the car to corner well ? up to a point.
FUN TO DRIVE
Overall, I soon discovered that the latest 911 is really fun to drive, especially on the open roads. Actually, the hill circuit at Millbrook consists of steep hills, sharp bends, including some hairpins, and some poor surfaces. So you don't get to drive at over 70 mph ? all very legal, but nevertheless it gave me the chance to feel the quick response of the engine and the power, particularly on the longish straight up a steep hill to one of the hairpins. The maximum speed of this supercar is about 175 mph!
Even so, I found that the 911 Carrera is a great car, with smooth clutch, and the ability to pull cleanly with good power from 2,000 rpm. Of course, you need to use the revs if you want to motor fast ? it produces real power from 3,000 to 7,000 rpm. As you'd expect, the rev counter is right in the middle of the instrument panel, so you can keep your eye on it, and there's a neat little digital speedo below, and this is in addition to the main speedo, of course. All Porsches seem to have excellent instruments that are easy to read quickly, which is important when you drive fast.
The ridged roads leading to the track made themselves felt at low speed, but once onto the smooth track, the car was a delight. The speed-sensitive steering is nicely weighted, and there is some feel even at quite modest cornering speeds. Needless to say the car cornered on rails, turning in nice and sharply, and just going around as if it was out for a stroll.
WATCH THE HANDLING
I didn't get the chance to push the car hard through the corners, but when I did later I was surprised to find that understeer could be a problem ? although people who have driven Porsche 911s a lot say that the transition from understeer to oversteer is the tricky thing about 911s. You need to be watching what is happening and feeling through the steering all the time.
Although the gearshift on an almost new car was a bit notchy, each gear went in easily. In fact, the gearshift is superb. Performance? Need you ask? Great acceleration, so long as you give the engine some revs, and it hurtles off without any show or fuss. An absolutely brilliant car for overtaking safely ? you're past before the other driver knows you're there!
Oh, and front visibility is really good, while rear visibility is also far superior to almost anything else in its class.
About the Author: John Hartley is editor of http://www.fast-autos.com, an online magazine devoted to fast cars and supercars. He has written from many of the world's top auto magazines, and has written about 10 books about cars and the auto industry, including 'Suspension and Steering Q&A' and 'The Electronics Revolution in the Motor Industry'.