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15 years of the Porsche 997.1

A new model of 911 is always controversial. Porsche enthusiasts tend to get so used to the current version that they can be almost resentful when it is replaced.

Indeed, the arrival of any new 911 is usually at least slightly controversial, and with over half a century of history, examples abound: the 964 disappointed for resembling its aging predecessor so closely; the 991 shocked some with its considerably larger dimensions and, for more conservative types, the 992 was not only wider still, but a daunting tech-fest.

Then, of course, there was the 996, Porsche’s imaginative and brave attempt to translate the 911 into the 21st century idiom. Such was the outcry that it was hard to distinguish whether it was the styling or the water-cooled engine which upset diehards more.

The original 901 attracted more curiosity than outright admiration, but in 1963 nobody knew what the future 911 would be capable of. 30 years later and the 993 was mostly favourably received, if still seen as quaintly old fashioned outside Porschedom

By contrast there was one 911 for which praise was unanimous when it appeared, and that was the 997. Here, Porsche managed to combine tradition and progress as never before or, for many people, since. Allow us to take you through the 997’s history, tech, and current standing.

Planning dictated that the 996 would run out six years after its launch, and preparations for that successor began within a year of the 996 appearing in the showrooms. In response to market and press reaction, ideas for its successor were already taking shape.

Two things became clear: if aesthetically modern, the 996 was a little too radical. The Carrera was seen as a shade too refined-looking, lacking a certain aggressive element.

If the Aerokitted versions partly addressed this, in reality they still looked too much like aftermarket modifications. The cabin, too, was not quite right: certainly it was more spacious, and ergonomically it addressed the classic faults of the old 911 cockpit, with its scattered and not always logical switchgear.

But the 996 interior’s curves were, for many observers, overstylised. There was also the matter that the 996 shared not just its cabin, but the entire body from the doors and A-pillar forward with the much cheaper Boxster. 


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Porsche 928… Et si la meilleure des Porsche c’était elle ?!

Dans l’histoire automobilesque, une seule GT sportive a obtenu le titre de voiture de l’année, la Porsche 928… C’était en 1978 et à l’époque elle devait doucement et secrètement venir remplacer la Porsche 911, aux côtés de la 924. Sauf que le plan n’allait pas se dérouler sans accrocs… La secte des Porschistes réfractaires en […]


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Porsche: concepts mules and prototypes

Before any new model goes into manufacture the design – in various stages of finalisation – has to go through practical testing. These vehicles are prototypes, recognisably and most often visually identical to the subsequent production vehicle.

Far less frequently these days, where more extensive research and dynamic development can be carried out with software simulations, a manufacturer experiments with a radical new idea by building some of the technology into the preceding model. These cars are often referred to as ‘mules’.

In the past, the need to keep particular experiments confidential even led to some mules wearing total disguises to fool both press and competitors.

Examples of this at Porsche include the Audi 100 Coupe, into which Weissach shoehorned the 928’s V8 and running gear; later the 928’s innards would also be built into an Opel Diplomat.

Concepts are used by manufacturers to float an idea, to test acceptability of a particular design or style. A phenomenon which in today’s homogenised and regulated auto industry has become unusual, the most successful example in Porsche history was the Boxster concept, greeted with standing ovations when it was revealed in 1993.

That the resultant Boxster – which would closely prefigure the new 911 – was so similar to the concept was a tribute to Porsche’s original design, achieving homologation with a minimum of compromises which usually dilute and sometimes completely spoil the original idea.

The real workhorses of pre-production are, of course, the prototypes, masked these days if their makers want to hide them by an astute application of chequered tape, which brilliantly sabotages visual perspective.

Of the thousands of prototypes built, virtually all of them are subsequently broken up, occasionally to the dismay of auto historians. In deference, however, to the interest they generate, Porsche has selected a handful of the more remarkable prototypes it has kept, and sometimes displays them at the Museum at Zuffenhausen…


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991 v 992: the ultimate battle

It’s fair to say Porsche’s executives can be mighty pleased with the way the company’s eighth generation of 911 has been received so far. The Neunelfer is, after all, the bedrock of Zuffenhausen: an entire automotive operation is administered with this iconic car at its centre.

Of course it’s crucial that any new 911 must succeed in obtaining the approval of a global fanbase so impassioned by it. In the case of the 992, succeeded it has… and then some.

Not since the arrival of the 997.1 has a new generation of 911 been met with such resounding acclaim by all corners of the motoring spectrum. The 992 has built nicely on the foundations of the 991 before it, an era which didn’t exactly enjoy the same instant endearment.

Its bloated size over the outgoing 997 was lamented, as was the uptake of electrically assisted steering, both of which were seen as surefire signs of a general creep away from the 911’s all-out sports car demeanor in favour of a more comfortable grand tourer.

Despite what might best be described as a takeoff with turbulence, the 991 has gone on to become one of the most popular 911 generations of all time, right where it matters – in the showroom. Even after that mid-life introduction of turbocharging for the entire Carrera range, customers continued to back the car handsomely with their wallets. As a result, the 991 is a best-seller.

The 992 is still wet behind the ears in terms of its production cycle. There are only four models to choose from, Carrera S or 4S in Coupe or Cabriolet, but, with sales managers in an effervescent glow from early reviews, it’s about time the new arrival was put directly against its predecessor.

The 992 Carrera 4S Coupe’s RRP in the UK might be £98,418, but once you’ve added some sensible options you won’t see much change from £115,000 – our Dolomite silver press car here comes in at £116,467.

That’s the same figure you can expect to pay for a 991.2 GTS right now, either straight from the production line, as some late examples are still being built alongside the 992, or from a host of used examples currently available with around 1,000 miles on the clock. The stage is therefore set: what’s better, a new 992 C4S or a well-specced 991.2 C4 GTS?


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Manthey’s First 718 Cayman GTS Hunts BMW M4 Competition at the Nurburgring

A certain sebastian vittel YouTube channel is back again, demonstrating his driving talent and making his viewers envious with the latest addition to this incredible stable. The first 718 Cayman GTS to be modified by Manthey Racing, this car has all the agility a track toy needs, though it might lack a little in the propulsion department. Nonetheless, it has no difficulty keeping in touch with a much punchier BMW M4 Competition at the ‘Ring.

The list of modifications are, in typical Manthey style, understated and functional. No big, glossy, chrome-covered bits to impress the average joe; these tweaks imbue the car with an ability to run laps without fuss, increase stability at speed, and give the driver that little extra to push to and beyond the limit of adhesion.

Manthey Racing’s KW competition suspension, valved for the crests and cambers of the Nordschleife, were the first item on the menu. For a little added confidence in the deceleration department, the Manthey package includes fade-free Endless Ma45 pads and stainless brake lines. BBS Cayman GT4 forged wheels reduce unsprung mass and give the car better compliance, and a ducktail spoiler helps settle the rear and adds some styling points that a car this suited to the ‘Ring deserves. For some improvement and rigidity, but more importantly—peace of mind while driving quickly at Europe’s least forgiving track, the last piece of the package is a half-cage. Helps to know that the Cayman could take a big shunt with the walls so close.

Though the BMW clearly has the measure of the Cayman on the straights, Mister vittel’s confidence on the brakes, his superior lines, and greater turn-in speed close the gap, especially on the tighter sections of the Nordschleife.

Where vittel really stands out is his shorter lines, his earlier throttle, and his obvious commitment in the faster corners. By shortening the corner and spending a little less time on the brakes, the M4’s advantage at the corner exit is minimized. That keeps the gap from growing too large to be irrecoverable, and vittel begins to nip at the M4’s bumper at 6:18, when he’s able to get to throttle sooner through the quick section known as Kesselchen.

Commitment through the quick stuff is vittel’s greatest advantage.

Before a conclusive statement can be made about either car, it needs to be mentioned that the the driver in the video is clearly more comfortable with his car and the circuit. Now, given the Cayman’s ease of placement and greater stability, it seems to more reassuring car to thrash on such a demanding circuit. That, and the way it puts the power down without any fuss, more than makes up for its Subaru-esque burble.


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