2008 911 New Car Test Drive
The Porsche 911 is an automotive icon and it's one of our top choices for enthusiasts who want a sports car for daily driving. The 911 combines driving excitement with everyday comfort. The latest-generation model, designated 997 internally and referred to as such by Porschephiles, is the best ever. Porsche has sold 100,000 examples of the 997 series since it was launched in April 2004, making the 997 the fastest-selling 911 in Porsche history.
The 911 lineup presents a wide range of models, from the Porsche Carrera to the 911 Turbo. Coupes and cabriolets are available, along with a Targa. Most offer endless options. Just about every possible combination is available between coupe and cabriolet, 3.6-liter and 3.8-liter engines, rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. You name it, they've got it.
The Porsche 911 Turbo is one of the easiest supercars to live with in daily use. It's more user friendly than competitors, from the Corvette to the Ferrari F430. Getting in and out of it is relatively easy. It rides smoothly and comfortably by sports car standards. It's happy to putt around all day at a Buick pace, particularly with the Tiptronic automatic transmission. It's easy to drive, whether streaking down a highway like a bullet train, charging up a mountain road, poking along in rush-hour traffic, or working the tires and brakes on a racing circuit. It's neither fragile nor unreliable. It's really a terrific car.
The base model is the Carrera coupe, but owning one is hardly settling for second rate. It's a fantastic sports car, enjoyable to drive and comfortable. The Carrera 4 adds the traction and handling benefits of all-wheel drive and is loaded with active safety features; it's the best choice for rain and winter weather. Cabriolets put the wind in your hair and sun in your face. The Targa features a clever clear roof that slides back to provide a top-down feeling. The GT3 is an absolute hoot for drivers who want a track car, a lot of fun, sounding and feeling like a real race car, which essentially is what it is.
After a major overhaul for 2006, the 2007 lineup carries over with just a few additions. For 2007, a new tire-pressure monitoring system is standard on all 911 models, and new 19-inch wheels in the Turbo design are available.
The Porsche 911 lineup starts with the Carrera ($72,400), powered by a 3.6-liter version of Porsche's classic flat six-cylinder engine generating 325 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Standard equipment includes leather-trimmed height-adjustable seats with power recliners, a digital AM/FM/CD stereo, trip computer, leather telescoping steering wheel, power windows, power locks with keyless remote, cruise control, 18-inch wheels and a speed-dependent retractable rear spoiler. The Carrera Cabriolet ($82,600) is similarly equipped.
The Carrera S ($82,600) and Carrera S Cabriolet ($92,800) are powered by a 3.8-liter six-cylinder, delivering 355 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Besides the bigger engine, the Carrera S gets the Porsche Active Suspension Management system (PASM), 19-inch wheels, bigger brakes with painted red calipers, Bi-Xenon headlights, a sport steering wheel and aluminum-look interior trim. The Carrera S Cabriolet is similarly equipped.
The Carrera 4 ($78,200) is equipped similarly to the rear-drive Carrera, but features all-wheel drive, larger wheels and tires, and the wider fenders needed to accommodate them. The same idea holds for the Carrera 4S ($88,400), Carrera 4 Cabriolet ($88,400), and Carrera 4S Cabriolet ($92,800).
The Carrera Targa 4 ($85,700) is equipped similarly to the Carrera 4, but features Porsche's unique roof system that provides occupants with a panoramic view even when the top is closed. The Targa's roof is made from two glass panels and extends across the full width and length of the passenger compartment. In other words, the entire roof is glass, and in combination with the windshield and side windows provides a panoramic vantage and protection from the elements. The Carrera Targa 4S ($95,900) features the same unique roof system along with the other standard components of a Carrera 4S.
The all-wheel-drive 911 Turbo ($122,900) gets Porsche's race-bred, twin-turbocharged version of the 3.6-liter engine, producing 480 horsepower. The Turbo comes with Porsche's Ceramic Composite Brakes, which use exotic nonmetallic discs. It also comes with a full leather interior and a high-power, Bose-tuned stereo with a six-disc CD changer.
The GT3 ($106,000) has a 415-hp, normally aspirated 3.6-liter engine. For 2008, the GT2 ($191,700) is joining the line, boasting 530 horsepower using an engine based on the Turbo.
Options include ceramic composite brakes, Porsche Communication Management, which incorporates audio, navigation system, and trip computer into a single control interface ($2,680); heated seats ($480); metallic paint ($690); and a CD changer ($650). Porsche maintains its long tradition of factory customization, with options that cover colors and materials for virtually every part or surface inside the car. And if there's not an existing option, Porsche will likely go off the card, for a price.
Safety features on all models include Porsche Stability Management (PSM), an electronic stability control system that helps a driver maintain control in the event of a skid. New for 2007 is a tire-pressure monitoring system as standard equipment. Frontal airbags, side-impact airbags, and door-mounted head-protection airbags come standard.