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Welcome arrow Articles arrow Car Reviews arrow Porsche 911 Carrera S Coup
Porsche 911 Carrera S Coup PDF Print E-mail
The celebrated Porsche 911 has been with us for more than 50 years, and amazingly, retains the same basic layout: rear-mounted engine hanging out over the rear wheels; front luggage compartment; and minimal space within its interior.  Yet, it is selling as well today as it ever has.

The 911 was introduced in 1964, based on the previous model, the 356 which itself owed a great deal to the Volkswagen Beetle, which of course was designed by Dr Ferdinand Porsche on the orders of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.  The original 911 featured a flat-six two-litre engine producing a modest 130 bhp (95 kW).  Although it was more expensive than the 356, both cars were produced side-by-side for a while before the ageing 356 was finally phased out.

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Porsche 911 Carrera S Coup?

By 1971 the power of the 911 had been upped to 190 bhp, thanks to a now 2.4 litre engine, although still in the same configuration: air-cooled flat-six beyond the rear wheels.  But in 1974, the Porsche sports model - indeed at the time, its only model - came of age with a potent 3-litre turbocharged motor delivering an impressive 260 bhp.  The 911 Turbo is still around - with 480 bhp and demand exceeding supply - but in Thailand there are just four models currently available: the Carrera Coupé and Cabriolet; and the more powerful Carrera Coupé and Cabriolet S derivatives.

The 911 Carrera S still features a six-cylinder, horizontally-opposed engine, but it is now water-cooled rather than the previous air-cooling.  Maximum power output from its 3.8 litres (3.6 for the basic Carrera) is a healthy 355 bhp (261 kW) at 6,600 rpm (325 bhp/239 kW for the Carrera), offering a maximum speed in the region of 293 km/h (285 km/h).  All models available in Thailand feature the popular five-speed Tiptronic transmission with finger-tip controls.  Additionally, a computerised optimised gearshift program is incorporated that ‘recognises' a driver's style and shifts accordingly.

The Tiptronic marginally increases both acceleration times and fuel consumption but it is unlikely that any Thai-based owners will notice the difference.  Certainly the benchmark 0-100 km/h sprint time is sub-six seconds; more than sufficient for most traffic light Grand Prix starts.

Safety is of course an important issue with any modern vehicle, but in one that can top in excess of 280 km/h it becomes a matter of supreme gravity.  Consequently the latest Porsche has a host of electronic features that add to its occupants' well-being, including active dampers offering a choice of two suspension systems: sports or comfort; also fitted is a dynamic stability control that hopefully will prevent the car spinning at extreme speeds.

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Porsche 911 Carrera S Coup?

Brakes are massive, cross-drilled ventilated discs all round, while rather expensive ceramic composite discs are an option, lowering unsprung weight and offering superior retardation at constant high speeds.  The problem with the ceramic composite brakes is lack of pedal feel, although they will produce stops from high speeds time after time with little or no fade.

Passive safety is taken care of by side impact bars in the doors, a head airbag which interacts with the thorax bag in the front seat backrest.  A total of six airbags now protect front seat occupants.

For those increasingly concerned with the environment, the latest Porsche engine is equipped with two oxygen sensors and a two-stage catalytic converter, while electronic ignition and sequential multi-point fuel injection all ensure minimal noxious emissions. The CO² output of the Porsches, claim their makers, are 270 grams per kilometre for the standard Carrera and 283 g/km for the Carrera S.  Still excessive by world standards but at least progressing in the right direction.

Carbon dioxide (CO²) is the principle cause of the so-called ‘greenhouse effect', or global warming.  Currently, the world as a whole produces, from motor vehicles alone, in excess of six billion tonnes of CO² annually. It is a fact that CO² levels have increased by approximately two per cent in the last five years, contributing significantly to global warming and climate change. Unfortunately, there are only two of the 92 chemical elements that are considered as controllable energy sources: carbon and hydrogen. Carbon is the main energy source within crude oil, but releasing this energy also regrettably releases CO² into the atmosphere.  And hydrogen technology is, so far, far from perfected.

The interior of the latest 911 is barely distinguishable from past models although the seats are hip-hugging sports varieties offering adjustable side supports and backrest to suit each and every driver.

Driving the 911 - any 911 - is an exciting and exhilarating experience: the way it accelerates so effortlessly; the amazing stopping power from those massive discs; the way it dispenses with turns in the road with barely a murmur.   However, in the wet or in tricky, greasy conditions, it pays to be a little more cautious, particularly with respect to the loud pedal as the car can still become dangerously tail-happy despite the electronic stability control, due mainly to the location of the power plant, way out beyond the rear wheels.

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Porsche 911 Carrera S Coup?

The companion car, the Porsche Boxster, is however mid-engined and is decidedly more balanced at the limit.  It is though not nearly as much fun as a 911 and, with the hood up or the hardtop installed, can be a little claustrophobic in the cockpit.

Porsche has just announced that it will start building a four-door model, known as the Panamera, at its Leipzig plant, although the fully-painted bodies will be supplied by Volkswagen from its factory in Hanover.  The Leipzig facility was established initially to produce the Porsche Cayenne luxury off-roader, which was also engineered in conjunction with Volkswagen.

The Panamera will make Porsche, already the world's most profitable car company, a four-model manufacturer - five if you include the limited production, V10-engined Carrera GT - and will go a long way to securing the future of the German workforce.  Said Porsche president and CEO Wendelin Wiedeking: "Right from the beginning in the production of the Cayenne and the Carrera GT, our Leipzig plant has proven impressively that it is in a position to build premium cars of the highest quality." 

Porsche's main plant, where the 911-series is made, remains at Zuffenhausen just outside Stuttgart in southern Germany.

Prices for the Porsche 911 series start from 13.6 million baht for the entry-level 911 Carrera, or 14.7 million for the Carrera S.  The Cabriolet versions are 14.9 million and 16.2 million respectively.  Visit http://www.porsche.co.th/ for more information.

 
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© 2018 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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