SAVING THE BEST 'TIL LAST
Saving the best 'til last - Luxury Travel Magazine
Saving the best 'til last
|By: Joshua Dowling, Issue 48 – Spring 11|
|WITH AN ALL-NEW 911 AROUND THE CORNER, PORSCHE HAS MADE SURE THE CURRENT MODEL ENDS ON A HIGH NOTE, WRITES JOSHUA DOWLING.|
|Fine wine is not alone when it comes to saving the best until last. Car makers do it as well, although some do it better than others. We’ve come a long way from the days when Holden used to raid the parts bin, fit the leftovers to the final run of vehicles and, with a “Vacationer” badge or similar, convince the public it was a highly prized special edition. Those in the know knew it meant a new model was around the corner. The problem is this: the shelf-life of a car tends to be about five or six years. But car makers need to sell their vehicles consistently through that period, right up until the new model is due. Demand is always high when a freshly-minted model appears, but customers soon lose interest. In most circumstances, the key is to buy when the car is near new – not in the first six months, because you’ll pay top-dollar. |
The other good time to buy is when a model is nearing the end of its run, and, to maintain interest, the car maker throws everything into the bargain. The latest example of this is the new Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. It arrived in Australian showrooms just as pictures were released of next year’s model – which, incidentally, will go up in price. Despite the allure of an all-new model around the corner, most of the 42 GTS 911s allocated to Australia are spoken for. And here’s why. At A$288,700, the GTS is only A$13,000 (or five per cent) dearer than the regular Carrera S on which it is based – but gains a whole bunch more equipment, some of which money can’t buy. It has more power, a wider body and luxury features – the Bose sound system, navigation and sunroof – that are optional on other 911 models. It also has race-car style centre-lock wheels (one big nut locates the wheel, instead of five small ones). Porsche helpfully gives a technical explanation about how they reduce the rotating mass of the wheel and this makes the steering respond better. But really, it’s about the look. And bragging rights.
The centre-lock wheels are a dazzlingly expensive option on other 911s, but they’re standard on this one. Porsche also took the liberty of eliminating some unnecessary weight and removed the back seats (they’re a no-cost option if you want them refitted). This means the 911 GTS is five kilograms lighter than the regular model. Its wider rear hips aren’t just for show, they enabled Porsche to move the rear wheels further apart for better stability in corners. Think about a sumo wrestler in a wide stance and you can understand why the broader footprint is helpful. The finishing touch: a sports exhaust, tuned especially to match the 300kW, 3.8-litre six- cylinder engine. It also revs higher (a giddy 7300rpm) than the standard model, which delights the senses. It may seem like a cliché to say there is no such thing as a bad 911 – they’re all special. But there is better, and better again. The 911 has always had poise and ample power, but the GTS to me feels like a 911 that’s been to finishing school. It gets ‘angry’ when you want it to, and is mild mannered when you don’t.
As with the rest of the 911 range, it is surprisingly easy to drive. Some purists may not like that. They prefer the bad old days when Porsches could bite back by having the tail step out unexpectedly in corners. But that’s no fun for anyone. Porsche has finally found a way to put all its power and engineering prowess successfully to the road. And that’s worthy of a celebration. Or, indeed, a send-off.
|Fast facts: Porsche 911 Carrera GTS |
|Price: From A$288,700 |
Engine: 3.8-litre six-cylinder
Power: 300kW @ 7300rpm,
420nm @ 4200rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual or seven-speed automated PDK manual.
0 to 100km/h: 4.6 seconds
Top Speed: 306km/h
Consumption: 10.2 to 10.6L/100km