Porsche 911 Carrera

Meet the new 911 – baseball cap not essential

Price: £71,449
Engine capacity: 3.4-litre flat-six
Power output (hp @ rpm): 350 @ 7400
Top speed (mph): 178
0-62 mph (seconds): 4.6
Fuel economy (mph): 34.4
CO2 emissions (g/km): 194

Every few years Porsche unveils an "all-new" 911, and every few years wealthy buyers snap it up in their droves while car nuts without £70,000 burning a hole in their pockets are left playing spot-the-difference with last year's model. Fast and expensive, the 911 has always been a rich man's plaything. And while its critics claim it doesn't look anything like a supercar, is incredibly impractical, totally unaffordable and its front end jiggles around like mad, they are shouted down by the hordes of baseball-cap wearing men in their fifties who flock to Porsche dealerships to pay serious cash to be seen bombing around in one.

My test model (the latest entry-level 911) came over Easter, the week that its creator Ferdinand Porsche died. The engineer and grandson of Porsche's founder designed its long, sloping roof, sleek bonnet and front-engine layout in the early 1960s. Before taking it for a blast I held up a picture of his first design (then called the 901) next to the car's current incarnation. Not much has really changed. For Porsche, it is a case of if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

The exterior design is much the same as the most recent model it replaces. Only the most observant would notice the new concept-car inspired rear lights or the extra 100mm between the front and rear axles (this makes the inside surprisingly spacious). Inside, the Cayenne/Panamera-inspired sloping centre console remains but the build quality has improved and there's extra headroom. It is, perhaps, a little poorly equipped at base level, where £70k doesn't even buy you heated seats or Bluetooth for you mobile – Porsche charges £558 for the latter.

Out on the long straights and tight bends of Norfolk's rural roads over the Easter weekend its 3.4-litre engine (down from 3.6 in the model it replaces and with lower emissions and fuel consumption) still pushes out 350bhp and is blindingly fast. The throttle response is immediate and brutal, the brakes brilliant and the front-end grip and control much improved.

The ride is firm – too firm, probably, for most everyday use without Porsche's expensive additional damping system – and the auto gearbox can be a little lost in normal mode, but hit the sports button and the handling is precise. Yes, it bucks and weaves a little at times thanks to its rear-engine weight distribution, but that's part of the fun and you'll be amazed at how quickly you feel able to get on the power out of the corners, or how late you are happy to brake.

A major change is the new electric power steering, which has supposedly taken feeling away from the ride. Only the most pure of purists will be aggravated about this. And while it is true you can get rear-wheel drive fun at half the price (Nissan 370z or Toyota GT86), nothing quite offers the sheer throttle-hoofing buzz of a 911. Just leave the baseball cap at home.

The competition

The new Jaguar F-Type, launched next year, will be a big challenger, as will the £25k Toyota GT86. Traditional rivals include the pricey but fantastic Aston Martin V8 Vantage and the good-looking Audi R8.

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Swiss Banking and Finance

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - 6 month FTC - Central London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...

    Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application) - Agile

    £215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before