Ace of Base – 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera
Let’s get one thing clear straight away: this car doesn’t exist on any Porsche lot. Finding a no-options Porsche 911 is like finding leftover beer at a frat party or a Prius owner who isn’t smug. If you want this, you’ll have to order it.
The base Porsche 911 Carrera starts at $89,400 and is devoid of extraneous technical frippery, making it closer in spirit to mythical 911s of the past than anything else in the current catalog. And yes, I’m aware of the existence of the psychotic 911 R and GT3 RS.
Ceramic brakes, rear steering — all the performance gear appearing higher up in the 911 range serve mostly to set a faster time on the Nurburgring at the expense of a pure driving experience. Just like its grandpappy, the base 911 is more likely to swing its loaded diaper to the left when the driver throws it into a sweeping right-hander. Standard brakes mean you can’t dive into that 90-degree bend with reckless abandon and hope the carbon ceramics will save your bacon; you’ll actually have to deploy a modicum of driving talent to get through it without crashing. Tires whose sidewalls are more than black paint smeared on an alloy rim means the thing actually rides decently. These are all Very Good Things.
“But, Matt!” you scream, while hurling Vachon cakes and tins of WD-40 in my general direction, “A 911 neeeeeds to be equipped with the Sport Chrono package!” I respectfully disagree. The Sport Chrono package will add dynamic engine mounts, a timer wart on top of the dash, and transmission programming that’ll blip the throttle on downshift. To this I say: learn to deal with the weight transfer of the rear engine, buy a stopwatch, and practice your heel-and-toe technique. You do know how to heel-and-toe … right? Naturally, this necessitates leaving the $3,200 PDK on the shelf.
Porsche purists are a fanatical lot, brandishing pitchforks and generally frothing whenever the boffins from Germany make changes to their beloved sports car. Now that the base 911 sports a pair of turbos, I fully expected the Porsche faithful to self immolate on a pile of whale-tail spoilers and air-cooled engines. That hasn’t happened because, by all accounts, the new 911 goes like a torched weasel while failing to exhibit massive amounts of dreaded turbo lag or light-switch power delivery. Sure, we see pictures of the scattered 911 in a ditch, but that’s because the majority of One Percenters don’t know how to drive.
The shade of Miami Blue, while fabulous, costs over three thousand dollars. Three grand! I recommend the $0 Guards Red for purists in the audience, while my own extroverted tendencies gravitate towards the gratis Racing Yellow. Beautiful 19-inch Carrera wheel are $0. Four-way power Sport seats can be selected in three different colors without financial penalty.
The best $0 option of all? European Delivery. Porsche’s factory collection program allows buyers to receive their Porsche right in Zuffenhausen and includes transport to the plant, hotel reservations, and a factory tour. Why anyone would buy a new 911 and not select this opportunity is beyond comprehension.
It is said that old 911s are one of the few cars on the road which actually sit in the garage at night, plotting creative and high-speed ways to kill its owner. This newest 911 Carrera isn’t the Grim Reaper but it is arguably the purest distillation of the 911 line right now. Entry level? Best of the line? That’s what we call an Ace of Base around here.
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The 911's options list is basically lease fodder. $120k for a Carrera S is a much more difficult pill to swallow than a $1300 lease payment. Non-exotic sports and luxury cars depreciate like rocks--the best 911 is a base model with one or two sporty options like the Sport Chrono package and some wheels. Oh wait, that's like $6000 right there.
Don't you find it interesting that Prius "operators" are reading about a a base Porsche? Wonder why that would be The case.