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Cars to buy in 2019

The winter road salt is beginning to recede, and the days are getting longer and warmer. Summer is on its way, and with it, the promise of another season of driving excellence at the wheel of your favourite Porsche 911. But which 911? If you’re thinking of a change to your stable or have your eye on something new for 2019, then look no further than Total 911’s annual and ever-popular ‘cars to buy’ guide to help steer you in the right direction.

There remain bargains to be had when comparing 911s with other models in the same price point, while many other models still represent guaranteed investment-grade quality, providing you’re prepared to play the long game. There’s also a host of 911s ready and willing to provide you with oodles of fun – more fun than any amount of cash in the bank can offer. So wether you’re looking for road or track-based frolics, a great value 911 or a decent investment proposition, we’ve got the answers readily compiled for you over the next 12 pages.

And don’t just take our word for it. Once again we’ve sought the opinions of experts from around the industry, those who work within the Porsche marketplace on a daily basis, and whom in the ensuing years have seen values of cars peak and dive, and trends come and go, building a healthy resistance against market naivety as a result – and their knowledge and insight is hereby being passed exclusively to you. We’ve asked more specialists than ever, our panel this year offering wisdom from a combined 101-years of experience selling fine Porsche. As a result, no other resource will offer such a compelling insight as to what 911 models you should be focussing on for 2019.

This year, to reflect the breadth of 911s on offer, we’ve split the experts’ choices into three categories: best value, long term investment, and outright fun, all of which provide compelling options for a variety of budgets. It makes for a tantalising read: have your wallets at the ready as we present the 911s to buy for 2019…

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Porsche releases new C4 GTS British Legends edition

Porsche Cars Great Britain has revealed a special 991.2 C4 GTS British Legends Edition 911 to celebrate the achievements at La Sarthe of Brit Drivers Richard Attwood, Derek Bell and Nick Tandy. Available immediately in one of three colour combinations evoking the famous Porsche livery of each driver’s period winning car, this special GTS has been developed with the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur department for the UK market only.

Attwood, Bell and Tandy have all had a direct hand in choosing the spec of the car too, with the C4 version of the current 991.2 GTS chosen to evoke the all-wheel-drive layout of the current 919 e-hybrid piloted by Tandy in the World Endurance Championship. It is also the fastest 911 in the current Carrera range. Alcantara and carbon trim provides a direct link to the cockpit of the racing cars each driver successfully pedalled to the top step of the podium at Le Mans, while a comprehensive standard specification including Sports Chromo Pack and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control further enhances the car’s motorsporting aspirations. A choice of either seven-speed manual or PDK transmissions is available.

Though the spec of each British Legends car is identical from a technical aspect, the three variants are all distinguishable by their liveries, with the Attwood car finished in Guards red with black centre-lock wheels to evoke the Salzburg livery of his 1970 Le Mans-winning 917, the Bell GTS finished in Sapphire blue metallic to evoke his 956’s Rothmans livery, while the Tandy car is finished in Carrera white metallic which of course honours the appearance of his 919 hybrid from his 2015 triumph. All versions then carry small side decals featuring the iconic number of each driver’s Le Mans conquering car, with the driver’s signature printed on a discreet plaque mounted aft of each car’s B-pillar.

Generously specced and unique in their appearance, these cars offer a rare opportunity for motorsporting aficionados to suitably honour their most admired Brit racing driver from Porsche’s hallowed works roster. However, theres a high price for such admiration, as the GTS British Legends editions are available from £122,376, slightly more than new 911 Turbo money. The cars aren’t part of a numbered production run but Porsche GB says the number available will be small, Total 911 estimating this to be around one example per Porsche Centre.

 

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New 2017 Porsche 911 GT3 driven on UK roads: verdict

A new 4.0-litre engine derived from the GT3 Cup cars, a 991 GT3 RS-matching 500hp output, 997 GT3 RS-equaling downforce and the return of the manual gearbox alongside PDK makes the new Porsche 911 GT3 an even more compelling choice in 991 Gen2 guise. Mixing up elements of RS and R DNA, as well that from the Cup car, the Porsche 911 GT3 is a hedonistic shot of driver purity that underlines Porsche’s GT department is very much playing it’s ‘A’ game.

And so to the A422, Warwickshire. My drive home. I’ve driven the stretch from Banbury to Stratford Upon Avon so many times I know every twist and turn, crest, dip and rise. There’s a German-plated Porsche 911 GT3 here, and I’ve got the keys. It’d be rude not to go for a drive. Right?

I’ll not go over the details, you’ve read them previously on Total911.com. You need to know it’s a PDK, the manual’s being driven a few hours after you read this, but hey, we’re not so blinkered by the return of the stick to ignore the seven-speed PDK. Anything else? Well, there’s 500hp from that new 4.0-litre engine, it borrowed largely from the GT3 Cup cars. Still as enthusiastic for revs, it’s 9,000rpm limit is retained, but there’s the promise of even greater flexibility further down the rev range.

So it transpires, too. The new 911 GT3’s 4.0-litre boxer engine is different. Good different, the authority with which it gathers pace at lower engine speeds is notable, even if the sound it makes isn’t quite as appealing. Initially, at least, get more than 4,000rpm on the rev-counter and the old, howling, mechanical magic is there, the 4.0-litre a charismatic, immediate, and exotic-sounding unit that might have a racer’s edge, but it achieves that without any road car compromises.

Like that new powerplant, the rest of the GT3 formula has been finessed. The suspension has been overhauled. Spring and damper rates, the geometry, new GT3 specific tyres and detailed changes to the rear-wheel steering system are clear on the road. The GT3 mixes tight, fine control with a compliance that’s remarkable given its clear focus. The steering response is as immediate as you’d wish for, the brakes mighty, the PDK’s shifting with such quickness you’d swear those paddles were anticipatory.

The very definition of a puristic 911, the GT3’s an absolute triumph, more forgiving and exploitable as a road car than the RS, more R in its character, and unique among not just the 911 line-up but all its contemporaries. We expected a lot from this car. And it’s very much delivered.

The most in-depth review of Porsche’s new 991.2 GT3 anywhere on the newsstand can be found in Total 911 issue 153, in shops from 17th May.

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Bilstein UK

Over the years we’ve been fortunate to visit a large number of businesses in the automotive industry across the globe. Going somewhere new for the first time is almost always interesting and heading to Bilstein, our thoughts were no different.

From a German perspective, Bilstein is one of the most recognised suspension innovators in the world. So what are we doing visiting a Bilstein outpost in the UK?

Admittedly, the thought of testing suspension on the road or at the track sounds much more exciting than going for a walk around a warehouse facility on the outskirts of Leicester. That is until we arrive at said ‘warehouse’ and meet Aaron Quilter.

Quilter is Bilstein UK’s Aftermarket Manager, and having been at the UK company from its early beginnings in 2000, it is clear that he’s very proud to be what is known at the company internally as a ‘Bilsteiner’.

You only need take a swift glance at the place and you can see why he has every right to be more than satisfied with his chosen working environment. Bilstein UK is a like a military operation.

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So where did it all begin for one of the most famous names in suspension? Oddly enough, it started with windows. We jest not.

August Bilstein laid the foundations for Bilstein in 1873 in Altenvoerde, part of Germany’s Westphalia region, and nobody at the time had any idea of the influence the company’s products would one day have on the driving comfort and safety of Porsche cars.

Of course, at that time, the company was not known for suspension at all. Instead, it was made famous by its metal window fittings, sold under the catchy name of AUBI (an abbreviation of August Bilstein), and this fame soon spread overseas.

There are a lot of surprising facts about Bilstein, which are made all the more delightful thanks to the understated nature of the UK operation. The building itself is rather like a TARDIS. Once you’re through the front door, the facility is certainly much larger than it appears from the outside.

Anyway, before we talk you through Bilstein UK and their capabilities, back to the facts (and a short history lesson).

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Bilstein began manufacturing suspension in the same decade that Butzi Porsche sketched out the 911. Over 60 years ago, in 1954, Bilstein was the first to realise the potential of an idea put forward by Professor Bourcier de Carbon, a French researcher in the field of vibrations.

The aim was to make the dampers lighter and able to be fitted in any position, while eliminating the physical disadvantages of conventional telescopic shock absorbers. Thus, the monotube gas-pressure shock absorber was born.

Much like Porsche and the 911, Bilstein put enormous effort into development, along with substantial investment in the necessary production facilities, in order to achieve this ambitious target. And it most certainly paid off.

Gas pressure technology is now used in all types of telescopic shock absorbers developed for use on powerful, premium cars and you’ll find Bilstein suspension on every car that leaves the Porsche factory. A truly incredible achievement.

The next natural question is how has Bilstein built one of the most recognisable brands in motorsports and performance motoring? Back in 1961 Bilstein entered into motorsport and this has played an important part in the driving dynamics of today’s road-going Porsche models. Why? We’ll allow Steffen Zacharias, Bilstein’s Director of Motorsport, to explain.

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“For almost 50 years now, the Nürburgring and its Nordschleife in particular has been one of the most important racetracks for Bilstein’s shock absorber development,” reveals Zacharias.

“The level of varied demands a suspension system has to cope with can, quite simply, be found at no other racing circuit. The Nürburgring Nordschleife represents the optimum racetrack for Bilstein to demonstrate our competence in the shock-absorber development area.”

It’s this pursuit of absolute excellence that filters down through everything the company does. We ask Quilter about stock levels and he’s very open. “Usually we carry over 6,000 part numbers but we’re a little light here in the UK right now with maybe 80 per cent of our catalogue available for next-day delivery.”

So if a customer requires a replacement damper for a Porsche 997 Turbo, for example, they can have this the following day? “Absolutely!” Quilter smiles. It gets better when we ask if the same customer could have a coilover kit for their 997 Turbo.

“With or without PASM?” Is Quilter’s reply. Prepare to be enlightened… “Being involved in OE development allows Bilstein to get a deep understanding of how the cars’ suspension performs. So with Porsche in particular, Bilstein develops suspension on all of the brand’s models,” says Quilter.

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“For example, PASM was a project that Porsche and Bilstein collaborated on, a system that the two companies developed in harmony.”

From a tuning point of view, this means that Bilstein offers a plug and play solution for Porsche cars that were equipped with PASM from the factory.

If you are looking to upgrade your dampers to Bilstein’s B6 product or for B16 full coilover suspension, then the company’s products will plug into your original equipment PASM connectors and integrate seamlessly, allowing you to still use the factory PASM button.

For Quilter, this is the perfect solution because, “When you are tuning a car, you should be making it more focused without losing any of its functionality.”

Perhaps, then, this enviable heritage and technology explains why the legendary Walter Röhrl is a Bilstein brand ambassador. And like Mr Röhrl says, “What’s important is not the speed at which I do something, but the degree of perfection with which I do it. Simply put, when I do something, I want to do it perfectly.”

If Bilstein is the suspension of choice for a gentleman who can pilot the Carrera GT around the Nürburgring Nordschleife in an astounding seven minutes and 28 seconds, then that’s more than good enough of an appraisal for us.

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A686, Hartside Pass, Cumbria

It isn’t often that we’re in the overcrowded South East of England for Great Roads, and with good reason. To find our typical fodder, one thing we don’t need is lots of people.

Instead, Total 911’s intrepid team of researchers regularly head out away from the vast swathes of the commuter belts to open country, and hopefully, space. It is a trick that turned up our latest Great Road, the A686, starting in Cumbria.

The North West of England has its own attractions, namely the Lake District, to cause congestion – but fear not. We may be following the holiday masses North, but then we turn 180 degrees away from the Lakes at Penrith, heading inland.

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Now not many Great Roads begin at a motorway junction either, but ours sort of does here, for the A686 meanderingly connects the 20 miles between Penrith to Alston, who’s claim to fame is that it shares the title of ‘Highest Market Town in England’ with Buxton. Altitude may flag alarm bells to the astute, but more on that later.

We start in the West, leaving the M6 and threading our way out through classic Cumberland villages until we reach Melmerby. From here, the road changes altitude and steadily rises to the summit at Hartside.

It is from this summit that the road gets its other name – the Hartside Pass. At 1,904 feet above sea level, this is one place that you will definitely experience ‘weather’. Good, bad and ugly; be ready: those snow poles aren’t decoration.

From the wonderful, swooping curves up to the summit, then around the hairpin just before the cafe, the next section is glorious. Well-sighted, open; it puts you right amongst the scenery, through seemingly nothing but superb views.

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You can see the best of the Lake District’s peaks and even as far as Scotland on a clear day. From the summit’s cafe to Alston there are few tight bends, meaning you can leave it in third or fourth gear and take pleasure in merely setting the car up. Looking for the line becomes almost hypnotic.

Watch for bikers buzzing you from behind – it’s a popular route for them to have accidents on, no surprise. Stop in the cafe, check out the display board pointing out the views, and have a great time.

Oh, yes – the weather. We visited the Hartside Pass early one January where there must have been a -10ºC wind chill. We got the job done and duly raced for home. Five hours later, it snowed, closing the road for almost a week. As I say, watch the weather!

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