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Turbo v Carrera: 964 RS v Turbo II

Less is more. Or perhaps more is more. After an unforgettable day with two iconic 964s, I’m still struggling to decide. Both cars are Midnight blue,
and both will set you back around £200,000, but there the similarities end. As driving machines the Carrera RS and Turbo 3.6 could scarcely be more different.

I rendezvous with Editor Lee at Hexagon Classics, where the 911s are waiting outside. I’m drawn to the RS first: its neat, narrow-body lines and just-so stance look purposeful yet achingly pretty.

The Turbo is almost cartoonish by comparison, with swollen flanks, dished alloys and a mighty rear wing. If the former appeals to connoisseurs, the latter is an unashamed crowd-pleaser.

Driving either Porsche around London would, frankly, be like eating a Michelin-starred meal in a motorhome, so we set a course for rural Buckinghamshire, me in the RS and Lee in the Turbo.

As we join the gridlocked North Circular, though, I’m already beginning to regret my choice. The Rennsport’s cabin is so spartan it borders on masochistic. Indeed, it’s more useful to list what it doesn’t have: items binned include the sunroof; air conditioning; electric front seats, windows and mirrors; rear seats; radio and cassette player; heated rear window; central locking and alarm. 

This isn’t what carmakers euphemistically term ‘decontenting’, however. The reborn RS also has a seam-welded bodyshell, aluminium bonnet, thinner glass, shorter wiring loom, virtually no soundproofing and no underseal.

Porsche’s standard ten-year anti-corrosion warranty was cut to three years as a result. On the plus side it weighs 120kg less than a 964 Carrera 2 in Lightweight spec, as tested here.

Hemmed in by towering SUVs as we approach Hanger Lane, I have only the coarse clatter of the single-mass flywheel for company. Even at idle the RS sounds austere and combative, the fluctuating churn of its flat six transmitted to my ribcage via hard-shell Recaro seats.

Its ride is rock solid, too, amplifying every ripple in the road. Thank 40mm lower suspension derived from the Carrera Cup racer, larger 17-inch alloys and solid engine mounts.

Filtering onto the A40, a national speed limit sign finally hovers into view. The Turbo is up ahead and I watch its haunches squat as Lee lights the fuse. I slip the stubbier gear lever into third and give chase.

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Turbo v Carrera: 930 3.0 vs 2.7 MFI

After the swing of the 1960s, the 1970s are often lambasted, wrongly viewed as a decade of energy crises, political upheaval and scandal. The reality is that while the 1970s might have been a turbulent decade, they were also arguably a turning point in the modern world. 

Those energy crises did raise global concerns over consumption and, unsurprisingly, the car was in the firing line, particularly in the US. Increasing legislation for fuel economy and emissions, as well as safety, demanded change. That created problems for Porsche with the 911.

The 911s of 1970’s America would feature detuned engines to pass economy standards, EU and RoW cars largely escaping those, though those US regulations would have a pronounced impact on how the 911 would look. 

From 1973 onwards US domestic and imported cars had to survive a 5mph collision without any damage to the headlights, engine or safety equipment. The 911’s bumpers had to change, with the US regulation demanding innovation.

The G-series bumpers were born, revolutionising the 911’s look and ensuring it would pass not just the 1973-onwards regulations, but also the later zero-damage standards that would come into force over the next decade. 

Porsche evidentially thrives on the challenges posed by regulation, and those US rules forced the company’s hand changing the 911’s look. The styling department is credited as being responsible for those iconic bumpers, under then-director Anatole Lapine and a team consisting of Wolfgang Möbius, Dick Söderberg and Peter Reisinger. 

In contrast to so many rivals’ hastily devised, somewhat awkward efforts, Porsche’s solution to the regulations was beautifully integrated and simply engineered. Larger, higher, body-painted bumpers with neoprene rubbing strips were adopted, to which functional ‘bellows’ which compressed on impact were fitted.

The bellows were a neat solution which allowed the bumpers to move as much as 50mm, and were attached to collapsible steel tubes on European cars and hydraulic shock absorbers on US cars. The new bumpers were instrumental in the relocation of the battery, too, the now single battery being located in the luggage compartment in front of the left-hand front wheel, improving the weight distribution.

The rear would see a similarly styled wrap-around bumper hung off a complex aluminium extrusion, the lightweight metal adopted to keep additional mass at the rear to a minimum. Above the rear bumper Porsche adopted a reflective red band, joining the rear lights in with a styling element that’s largely pervaded the 911’s rear visual signature ever since. 

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Is a 911 GT2 RS Faster Than A 918 Spyder at Hockenheim?

Unlike many cars of its ilk, this GT2 RS sees a great deal of track time. Whether it be racing against current GT3 Cup cars or highly modified Nissan GT-Rs, sebastian vittel’s RS is a regular sight at tracks across France and Germany. It’s been given a few tasteful modifications to suit it to the regular beating it takes; utilizing Endless pads, steel brakes, taller wing supports from a GT3 RS, and a Manthey alignment for even more purchase on the pavement. As we see in the footage below, its performance is enough to run with the 918 Spyder—a car which costs nearly six times as much. This stellar performance makes you wonder whether the GT2 RS is merely the quickest 911 on the market today, or if it’s the defacto Porsche flagship of recent years.

Despite having only two driven wheels, the GT2 RS actually betters the four-wheel drive 918 Spyder in low-speed acceleration. This is a real asset at the tight and technical Hockenheim, where strong speed out of the hairpins leading onto the long straights pays dividends. It’s the turbocharged, two-wheel drive GT2 RS which excels in these slow-speed acceleration zones, and only once they have room to stretch their legs a bit does the 918 stretch a small lead. Not exactly what one would think when considering the specs, eh?

Weighing roughly 500 pounds more than the GT2 RS, the 918 isn’t quite the agile thing that the latest RS is, but it has a habit of belying its weight and putting it to lighter, more powerful cars. So much of that comes down to the way the 918 makes great use of its hybrid power when driven through all four wheels. With minimal wheelspin and wild torque from zip, shouldn’t that make it the king of hairpins?

Only once is vittel beaten off a hairpin (1:50), but it’s his too-early entry that’s to blame.

Well, sebastian vittel once again proves the versatility of the RS with this duel. Granted, these two aren’t pushing more than 8/10ths, the 918 isn’t exactly track-tuned, and traffic does allow vittel to close the gap after the hypercar begins to walk away. Nevertheless, it’s a strong showing from both, but it’s the RS which looks even stronger after making quick work of what ought to be the quickest in the Porsche stable.

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Porsche 911 RS IROC Replica… Level Master !

Là les amis, il va y avoir du lourd et du très rare ! Et va falloir aborder pas mal de sujets… L’IROC, Denny Hulme, JK Racing et Gérard, qui s’est retrouvé à la base de toute cette histoire avec, une Porsche 911 3.0 SC de 1982 strictement d’origine? Mais en en tant que pilote, […]

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Porsche 911 Sport Classic… Avant c’est maintenant !

Nous sommes en 2009, et le stand Porsche au salon de Francfort est particulièrement bien rempli avec la nouvelle Panamera et l’arrivée des 997 Turbo et GT3 RS. Mais celle qui va hypnotiser les porschistes est atmo, grise et reprend des codes ressortis du passé. La Porsche 911 Sport Classic, une série limitée de 250 […]

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