The 911 is Porsche's ever-popular sports car. Its starts at $106,100 and comes in many variants.
I drove a Carrera GTS — a mid-tier 911 — for a week. With add-ons, mine came to $160,000.
The 911 is often seen as the "easy choice" for car buyers. Driving one reminded me why.
I remember the first time I put on a pair of glasses. I'd become so used to my smudgy surroundings — unreadable signs, sidewalks that looked like turn lanes, and television stars without discernible facial features — that I thought it was just how things were. Then I put my glasses on, walked outside, and saw that trees had individual leaves and signs had words. It was a whole new world.
When I stepped into a $160,000 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS recently, I felt that way all over again.
The 911 is Porsche's ever-popular luxury sports car, and it's one of the most iconic vehicles on the road. It's been around since the early 1960s, evolving in style and technology but always keeping its core characteristics: a slinky yet rounded body shape, a rear-mounted engine, and a universally lauded driving experience.
That's made the 911 popular in both name and sales, and in the decades since its introduction, Porsche's produced more than a million of them. Like a higher-priced version of the Chevrolet Corvette or Ford Mustang, 911s are everywhere.
But there's always a downside to popularity. In the case of the 911, seeing it for so long — and so often — can be desensitizing. Novelty often wears off in numbers, and one acquaintance recently said the thing making him doubt a 911 purchase was that "everyone has one."
"That's because they're the easy choice for a reason," another responded. No one could argue.
Porsche's 911 lineup is massive, with the cheapest costing $106,100 and some of its counterparts starting at more than twice that. The Carrera GTS I drove falls in the middle — it starts at $142,600, and various optional features brought the price of mine to $159,090. They included $3,200 "Chalk" gray paint, a $4,500 exterior appearance package, $4,000 in carbon fiber accents, a $2,800 system to lift the front nose to go over bumps and dips, and more.
Nose-lift features usually require pressing a button and then waiting for the front of the car to slowly raise, but the 911 has a "smart save" feature that lets drivers mark GPS locations where they need to regularly lift the nose. That way, it lifts on its own in the future.
There's also the choice between a seven-speed manual transmission and what Porsche calls the "PDK," which is an eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic. Regular transmissions work with a single clutch to shift gears, while a dual-clutch employs two for the sake of shifting really, really fast.
Many automakers have dual-clutch transmissions, but few are as well known as Porsche's PDK. That's because it's too good to ignore.
In real life, it's also hard to ignore just how big the 911 is. This fast little sports car, in my mind, is fast and little; its soft yet agile body lines communicate that.
But the 911 actually is wide and bulky, even if its passenger and storage compartments remain a tight squeeze. The modern 911 is a mammoth compared to early models, and it's a reminder of how much larger, safer, and more insulated cars have become over the years.
Driving the 911 is proof of why it's so beloved: It's stiff and harsh enough to remind you that you're driving a sports car, yet it's comfortable enough to take on long commutes. It hugs the road through corners like the world's smoothest roller coaster, and the PDK transmission's fast, velvety shifts feel more effortless than breath.
—Alanis King (@alanisnking) March 26, 2022
The 911 Carrera GTS' interior is full of smooth, clean lines. Its seats hug your hips and thighs, yet remain comfortable on long highway drives and short trips down a curvy road. The suede wheel fit perfectly in my hands, and the rear "seats" made a great purse shelf.
My husband and I spent eight hours traveling back and forth to NASCAR races in the 911, and there was room to spare in the back seat and frunk after adding our bags and drink coolers. With all of that space, the 911 is practically a family car — you know, if your family only has two people.
Where the 911's interior fails is in the little things. Its infotainment system can be hard to learn, and the tactile controls are a headache. Some of the switches feel more plasticky than they should in a $160,000 car, and certain buttons take a near-Hulk Smash work — press the tune and volume controls too lightly and they won't even register your touch.
Those aren't the only annoyances. There's also no accessible place to put a phone or small device in the 911 aside from the center console, and my car was full of shiny piano-black accents.
Modern automakers have been making this mistake for years now: Piano black looks great in the showroom, so they put it in every new car possible. The problem is, it immediately collects flakes and dust and grease in real life. It's disgusting in a Kia Seltos, and it's disgusting in a Porsche 911.
When piano black finally dies, I'll laugh at its funeral.
Road noise is loud at high speeds in the 911, but there's an easy fix to that: Just put it in "Sport Plus," a driving mode where the car revs so high before shifting that an angry engine drone is all you can hear.
It's also really handy anytime you want to feel obnoxious in traffic, which is more often than you'd think.
The 911 didn't just give me the chance to feel obnoxious, though — it gave me a chance to see it clearly again. Much like I'd gotten used to seeing the world without my glasses on, I'd gotten used to seeing the 911 everywhere. It felt less special because it was the easy choice for people with six figures to spend on a sports car.
But the 911 reminded me why it's the easy choice. Porsche created a formula for the ideal rear-engine sports car decades ago, and the automaker's only had time to refine since.
It wasn't the 911's fault I'd become desensitized to it. Much like the time I spent shrugging off my need to buy glasses, it was all mine.
Now that it's reminded me how special it is, I'll make sure it never has to again.
Read the original article on Business Insider