“What car do you drive?” is the most common question those of us at Automobile Magazine receive at cocktail parties once people learn what we do for a living. “What car do you want to drive?” would be a more appropriate question, because the truth is, we drive everything. That’s our job. So, push us, press us, cajole us for a definitive answer. We’ll shift our weight from one foot to the other and dip a baby carrot into the ranch dressing. And then, more times than not, we’ll admit that all we really want is a Porsche 911. Not only is the 911 the test car we are most likely to fight over, it’s the car we most want to own. New or old, base model or cabriolet or Turbo. Permanently, not just for a night.
What if that dream came true? Is the 911 more than a track star? Of course, few of us scribes can afford a 911. But the last time a Porsche 911 came through our offices, it was a stunning black-on-black GTS, too mouthwatering to be parked for a minute, we all thought. So we gave ourselves exactly twenty-four hours to see how much we could do with it — and how much we could jam into it. The only question left was: can we live with it?
9:11 A.M.: Dexter to Ann Arbor
“Is it faster than a cheetah?” That’s the first question my eight-year-old daughter, Ruby, asks about the Carrera GTS rocketing us — and all of her tack — to the riding lesson we’re running late for. Ruby has seen all sorts of test cars come home with me, but she reserves her attention and admiration for a select few. This Porsche has definitely caught her eye.
“It’s a lot faster than a cheetah — almost 200 miles per hour! It’s pretty much a race car you can drive every day,” I explain — and now fully appreciate myself after packing a bulky saddle and all Ruby’s equipment easily in the 911’s front trunk. The rear seat is comfortable enough for my booster-chaired charge, and I’m surprised that I can slide my seat back to my normal position even with her sitting behind me.
I’m a father of two, but the 911 would fit into my life with ease — adding excitement to the commute and errands and handling the entire clan when necessary.
– Matt Tierney
10:33 A.M.: Ann Arbor to Saline to Ann Arbor
Porsche 911 or Chevy Surburban, it doesn’t matter. From May through November, I’m stuffing flowers into whatever I’m driving when the planting urge strikes. So my goal was to get flowers for Mother’s Day plus whatever I could stuff in around them. I’m attracted to large, showy plants (big surprise), and I thought cargo height was going to be the 911’s limitation. Nope. Not only did I manage to fit a giant, blooming amaryllis into the front seat, I packed the trunk, the back seats, the parcel shelf, and the floors with twice as much as I imagined. And then I drove home the long way. Rapidly.
– Jean Jennings
2:00 P.M.: Ann Arbor to Barton Hills
The 911 isn’t the first car I’d normally choose when setting out for the golf course, but that’s because it’s a car I’d rather drive than leave sitting in the parking lot for a couple hours. It is, however, quite capable of hauling all the equipment required for a round of golf. Two people and a couple sets of clubs? No problem. Leave that bulky SUV behind and pull up to the clubhouse in style.
– Amy Skogstrom
7:00 P.M.: Barton Hills to Grosse Pointe Park
Jean can have her flowers. I chose a balloon bouquet to celebrate one year of marriage to my beautiful wife, Lindy. She was thrilled when I showed up at home with the 911 Carrera GTS for our Saturday night out — but not as thrilled as I was. I’d never driven a brand-new Porsche before, only 911s from the late 1960s. Oh, yeah, we’re gonna have a good time tonight.
– A. J. Mueller
10:00 P.M.: Grosse Pointe Park to Grosse Pointe
A Night Out
Lady Lindy loved the 911. She loved the smell of the cabin. She loved how everything was suede. She loved its speed on the way to the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe, where the valet put the car right out front. Jazz legend Stanley Jordan was performing. The club was packed — really vibrant, really happening. When we left, the crowd coming in for the next show was digging the Porsche.
12:00 Midnight: Grosse Pointe to Livonia
Hot Car, Black Coffee
No Sarah Vaughan blues at the Looney Baker 24-hour drive-through doughnut shop. Just fresh-from-the-fryer doughnuts and a cup of joe.
2:24 A.M.: Livonia to Ann Arbor
Not all social lives are created equal. Fortunately, the 911 doesn’t discriminate. After ferrying the Muellers to the jazz club, it serves just as ably for my late-night grocery-store excursion. I only need contact solution and eggs, but I get a bit carried away. Someone will be able to use the dog food. The slingshot, maybe not. Fortunately, the excess all fits in the 911, although I drive home gingerly to avoid getting smacked in the head by a basketball.
– David Zenlea
3:14 A.M.: Ann Arbor to Plymouth
At the Car Wash
7:30 A.M.: Plymouth to Ann Arbor
Days like these could pass for dreams, especially when they start this early on a Sunday. But I’d never let sleep get in the way of the short time I have with the 911 Carrera GTS. I head for the nearest ribbon of curvy pavement, Huron River Drive.
At about 6200 rpm, the flat six’s howl becomes a wail as six flaps in the intake manifold kick open and the engine races to its 408-hp peak just shy of redline. Car, driver, and road connect through the precise shifts of the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and the deliberate, weighty steering. Life’s chores are a little sweeter in a 911, but attacking a great road in one is bliss.
– Eric Tingwall
9:11 A.M.: Ann Arbor to Detroit Metropolitan Airport
The 911 Flies down a twisty road, but it doesn’t do so well crossing oceans. My trip to Germany means the 911 can finally rest after twenty-four hours of action. At the terminal, I lift my garment bag and carry-on from the front trunk and hand off the keys one last time. The valet has seen plenty of hot cars in his time, and he eyes the GTS with keen admiration. He knows what’s up.