Musing on purity – Porsche style.
By humble, allow me to draw your attention towards the base model – if indeed one can deign to call anything from the house of Porsche bog standard? Motor journalists of this world along with, it would seem, most people with blood racing fervently require the cream: the Turbos, the GTs, the ones immortalised in computer game-land.
£82,795 is the price of a basic Carerra typ 992 in the United Kingdom. For your hard earned, you get 385PS, and 182mph v-max. 0-62 mph takes a mere 4.2 seconds. Petrol consumption is mid twenties. Probably the most important figure however being the one perched behind the wheel of such a vehicle for just over £1200 per month. Don’t ask for the end-game value. And no, they don’t take wives, children, right arms nor camels as payment. I asked.
All remarkable figures, for this is indeed one remarkable car. They even throw in four choices of colour for you – free. Black, white, Guards Red and Sport Yellow. As with most other extras on this Zuffenhausen produced, Michael Mauer designed express, you’ll pay handsomely. As you might expect, for this bloodline has been around longer than plenty of manufacturers.
When you purchase a 911, you are buying into history. No, that’s not just regurgitated rhetoric from the sales brochure, it’s pure fact. Considering this car is deemed the icon, the benchmark, the journalist, pub bore and aficionado’s reverential go-to, how come the base model is so overlooked?
Eons have passed since last giving the official website a glance. A vainglorious hope of one day being in the enviable position to buy a car with the Stuttgart stag on the front, fortunately now long gone. Only by researching this piece did I find that they now make a Panamera estate. And that the 718 is both Cayman and Boxster. How that shield has lost mine favour.
Not fully, mind you. A book purchased direct from the heartland inspired today’s piece. The Porsche 911 Design Book – 992 The Next Generation, written by Michael Köckritz (a Ramp Design book) is a lavish, well crafted and entertaining tome. Superb photography and some learned words (with some of that rhetoric, admittedly) but it distils the essence of the nunelfer using its forbears to nurture its offspring.
We begin our journey from the days of yore. From Ferry’s initial 901, encompassing Anatole Carl Lapine’s G version, Pinky Lai’s fried egg lights 996 to the current (up to the publication date in 2018) eighth iteration. The whole book primarily concerns itself with that central core of being – pure, unadulterated engineering prowess.
Michael Mauer explains his stylistic input; he slaps several rolls of duct tape onto his team’s creation to accentuate various curves and radii that are frankly lost on me. Photography includes close ups, clay models along with sketches. Add in some workflow charts (in German) along with liberal use of colour. A great coffee table book, easily dipped into. Even Dieter Rams’ ten orders of design are listed.
By far the most quality item in the otherwise overly expensive Porsche Museum shop – add that shield, heighten those euros – a Porsche ethic of old that continues to this day.
Speaking of which, these days it is considered de rigueur to lavish thousands on extras for your new car. But what else does the 911 want for or need? Returning to the website for those answers we find the usual suspects but also the debasing process, adding to the coffers after all does not always equate to enhancing the appeal.
From the book to the absolute latest model, my eyes were drawn to the exhaust pipes. Initially circular they are now trapezoidal, a more oval based pipe and switchable sound will set you back another two grand, should you require nanocoating. Seats: standard no good? Fourteen and even eighteen way memory seats can be had. Has contrast stitching ever been considered when thundering past that string of inconsiderately slower traffic? I expect not.
Talking power; £1700 gains you the ever popular Chrono Package, effectively altering your base nunelfer into a track weapon – with another dial, but with no actual power increase. The standard brakes can only be enhanced by painting the callipers a natty shade of gelb. Prepare to dig deeper than those ceramic discs can bite if they require changing, mind.
As one who appreciates the verve and mobile grandeur of this evolutionary sexagenarian, this entry-level 911 screams to my senses louder than any synthesised exhaust note that less really is more. In our dreams, we can mete out as prospective Walter Röhrls, but on today’s mean, modern-day streets, a car of such abundant capabilities needs no addenda, no fripperies and barring colour choice, none of the 241 options available. But perhaps for three final temptations: a £263 tool set, the £38 smokers package or the incredulously large roof box for £913. Shouldn’t that be £911?
Time to stand up, be counted, swim against the aggressive tide and place your faith (along with that eighty grand plus) in one base version that can only be described in one word – pure.