Well, this is about as good as it gets. I recently wrote quite a bit about the time I spent in a Porsche 911 C4S, and I’m tempted to repeat it all here. The biggest difference between this Carrera S and the Carrera 4S (other than all-wheel-drive, obviously) is the quaint six-speed manual transmission that routes power to the rear wheels.
I can’t think of a single reason to choose a 911 with the PDK transmission after getting reacquainted with the manual box. Throws are actually a bit on the long side, but a perfectly rev-matched downshift is at least a hundred times more satisfying when you do it yourself. Another drawback to the PDK is the extra $4080 you’d shell out to add it to an already expensive 911.
I usually think a Mercedes-Benz S550 would be my first purchase if I hit the lottery, but this particular Porsche 911 has shaken that notion. Now I’m pretty sure I’d need to buy a 911 Carrera S with a manual transmission. Along with a cabin in the mountains so I’d have plenty of good roads nearby to exercise the car.
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor
God, I love the smell of a new Porsche! I drove the 911 back from Detroit Metro airport, exclusively on I-94, but I still can’t resist writing a few words about this glorious automobile. I’ve driven several 911s before, but each new experience is a memorable and reaffirming occasion. And as Phil suggests, this car is particularly fetching, with its deep red paint, gorgeous tan interior, slick six-speed manual, burbling S-spec flat six, and new-for-2010 LED front running lights.
It’s probably a good thing that I didn’t snag the 911 for an evening when I need to transport my baby, since there are no LATCH attachments in those vestigial back seats, and wrestling to snake the belts through the baby seat would be quite challenging in those cramped rear confines. I don’t mean the 911 any disrespect, but the rear-seat affliction further cements my personal preference for the two-seat, much cheaper, mid-engine Boxster/Cayman models. Not that I’d ever turn down seat time in a 911 Carrera …
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
I have been driving 911s for 29 years now, and every one is a thrill. As we wrote last year, each iteration of a 911 is an All-Star, a celebration unbridled of driving joy. I even did the One Lap of America event in a 911, with longtime Porsche racer Hurley Haywood as my copilot. When I look at the little scooped vestigial backseats of a 911, I still think that’s where your helmets go. I don’t know why I have yet to own one, but it better be soon. They aren’t getting any less expensive.
Jean Jennings, President & Editor-in-Chief
This was my first time behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 as I missed the chance at the 4S PDK we had a few weeks earlier. Judging by my fellow staffers comments, it sounds like I chose the right one to drive.
The 911 Carrera S is nothing short of amazing. As a road racer and fan, I couldn’t help but think about all the rich motorsport history, and all still to come for this fabulous machine. Sitting behind the steering wheel, having the Stuttgart horse just in front you, and feeling the 3.8L flat-six engine rumble against your back is an awe-inspiring feeling; and one impossible to grow tired of.
Where’s my lotto ticket?
Mike Ofiara, Road Test Coordinator
I hate to be predictable, but I don’t have any complaints about this 911. It is a delight get behind the wheel of a car that performs so well and has such a rich personality. The howling engine begs you to take it to redline in every gear. The reasonable side of my brain was in a constant fight with the emotional half to keep my speed in check. Yes, the throws of the six-speed transmission are a bit long, but the effort and feel in each shift is perfect. The ride is perfectly tuned to improve handling, but is never harsh.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor
This rear-wheel-drive 911 definitely has more character than the PDK-equipped 4S we sampled a few weeks ago. Take away the computer controlled clutches and differential, and it suddenly becomes much easier to appreciate the 911 for what it is: a painstakingly updated classic car. The tan leather interior on this Carrera S oozes with old world charm, and the ruby red metallic paint draws stares without seeming like it’s trying to draw stares. Yes, this is a car I would not mind being seen in all the time.
What I love most about the 911 though, is the obvious level of attention and thought that has been lavished on every driver input. The shifter is shaped and weighted such that gear changes require only a slight rolling of the wrist.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S
Base price (with destination): $87,150
Price as tested: $100,355
Ruby Red Metallic $710
Sand beige full leather $3655
Power comfort seats $1550
Self dimming mirrors $420
Heated front seats $500
Seat ventilation $800
Dynamic cornering lights $690
Navigation module for PCM $1440
XM radio $750
Floor mats in interior color $140
Universal audio interface $440
18 / 25 / 21 mpg
Size: 3.8L flat six-cylinder
Horsepower: 385 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 310 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
Weight: 3131 lb
19 x 8-in front; 19 x 10-in rear aluminum wheels
235/35ZR-19 front; 295/30ZR-19 rear Michelin Pilot Sport tires