Lee’s top five Porsche 911 drives of 2014
We’re lucky here at Total 911 as we get to sample a delicious selection of Stuttgart’s finest flat six sportscars on our way to delivering first class Porsche journalism. 2014 has been no exception either: between our entire team we’ve piloted everything from a 1967 SWB 911 all the way up to every conceivable model from the current 991 range this year via the 997 GT2 RS, 930 3.0 and 911S.
So, by way of a flat six-powered salute to 2014, I’d like to share my top five 911 drives of the past 365 days. Aside from the late nights at the office and ensuing bouts of deadline delirium, it has quite literally been a blast – and I can’t wait to do it all again next year.
Without further ado, here’s my finest five:
5) Porsche 991 50th Anniversary
Far from other ‘limited edition’ 991 variations that amount to little more than a few choice panels covered in evocative decals or contrasting Exclusiv paint (see the Martini 991 Carrera S and 991 Turbo S Exclsuive GB Edition), the 991 Anniversary, celebrating 50 years of the 911, is a thoroughbred special that offers much more than limited-run exclusivity.
Michael Mauer’s design team have expertly melded classic elements into this modern 911, and it’s lavished with a healthy selection of options as standard for a perfect commemorative package to celebrate all that’s great about the 911. It still irks that the Powerkit doesn’t come readily available on UK variants of the 50th Anniversary car, but that doesn’t distract from a stunningly capable 991 with a manual gearbox as standard.
Read our anniversary 911 group test in issue 112, available here.
4) Porsche 993 Turbo S
Any 911 Turbo is part of a rolling icon, and for many the 993 Turbo is perhaps the finest off the Zuffenhausen production line as the last of the air-cooled generation. While the 993 Turbo is a superbly capable classic supercar, the 993 Turbo S is even better. Built courtesy of Porsche’s Exclusive department, the extra 42bhp breathes even more fire on the impressively powerful M64/60S engine, which pulls so strongly in every gear.
Even more impressive is the relatively little turbo lag, yet you’re still treated to the whirring vocals of an air-cooled Porsche flat six behind you. The cabin is predictably luxurious, with generous amounts of carbon fibre reminding you of a time when the material was genuinely used for saving weight rather than adding aesthetical flare. I’d driven this particular 993 Turbo S previously at the start of 2013, and it’s incredible to think since then market valuations have dictated that the car has more than doubled in value.
Read our 993 v 991 Turbo S head-to-head test in issue 115, available here.
3) Porsche 964 Carrera 2 Targa
Although some might say there’s little to hold precious from a drive in a 964 Carrera 2 Targa (and at face value I’m more than happy to concur) this particular 964 Targa holds high in my estimations for a number of reasons. Not only has it been on earth for as long as I have, it’s also spent its entire life living at the Porsche Museum, covering only 1,990km in the process.
Piloting the car (its immaculate roof stowed neatly in the front compartment) for a spirited drive out of Zuffenhausen and into the countryside surrounding north-west Stuttgart was incredibly special, even if any speeds above 60kph was akin to driving with an open parachute behind me.
Read our 964 Targa v 991 Targa head-to-head test in issue 117, available here.
2) Porsche 3.2 Carrera Clubsport
The 3.2 Carrera at large is a popular choice among enthusiasts, and rightly so: boasting quintessential 911 looks and supreme 80s sportscar refinement, the 3.2 is arguably also the last 911 that can be run or even repaired at home in the garage. For me, the creme de la creme of this era was the Clubsport. As there was no Rennsport of the time, the Clubsport was bestowed with the lightweight treatment, though not to the hardcore levels of an RS. Minute adjustments included raising the rev limiter by 200rpm or so, removing electric seat operation and deleting headlight washers and passenger sun visors.
Sure, the negligible revisions aren’t necessarily tangible on the public road, but I love that the 3.2 Clubsport represents the blueprint of Porsche: slight revisions in their minutia combining for the greater good. It might be the emotion instilled from the car’s ethos rather than any noticeable change in feel that make the 3.2 Clubsport special, but with only 340 units made, it’s a feeling that not many can readily experience.
Read our celebration of the 3.2 Carrera in issue 114, available here.
1) Porsche 993 Carrera RS
By far the most enchanting drive I’ve had this year. So lithe, so precise and so devastatingly quick to cover ground – even by today’s standards – the Rennsport 993 experience is scintillating. As I quickly found out, it’s not a car you can simply hop into and drive with little hiccup. So pure is the 993 RS that you must effectively hustle the car to get the most from it: you must be proactive in your driving rather than merely reactive.
The scary part is, despite a jolly good push during my test drive, I walked away from that 911 (with beads of sweat rolling down my forehead) knowing that I’d got nowhere near the limit of its capabilities. The 993 RS is simply a mesmerising machine of Porsche engineering excellence.
Read our road test of the 993 Carrera RS in issue 119, available here.