0.0 km We pick up the new Porsche 911 at the factory in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. Once we get onto public roads, not many people notice the new 911, Project 997, because it looks so similar to the outgoing 996 model. But in Zuffenhausen, the epicenter of the Porsche empire, the car drew a crowd almost immediately. Our attempt to leave the premises in the first undisguised specimen put the uniformed security brigade on the alert. They insisted on getting chairman Wendelin Wiedeking's personal OK before reluctantly opening the gate.
299.7 km A narrow mountain road near Grardmer, still closed for the winter, is traffic-free and offers an excellent opportunity to put the optional Sport Chrono Pack Plus to the test. Priced at less than 1000 euros (about $1200), this clumsily named option actually speeds up the throttle response, permits higher revs, tightens the PASM reins, accelerates the shift action of the optional Tiptronic gearbox, and triggers stability control hairraisingly late in the game. Using a column-mounted stalk, the driver also can activate a stopwatch to time performance over a given stretch of road-such as part of the morning run from home to the office or this amazing set of serpentines in the middle of the Parc des Ballons. "Sport Chrono not only makes the car feel faster," claims Achleitner, "but it actually makes the car faster. This is an affordable and effective alternative to classic performance enhancement measures like engine tuning."
676.0 km With the Lindau city limits behind us, we let the Carrera rip. The S accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds, according to Porsche, eclipsing the base version by 0.2 second. While the 321-horsepower Carrera 2 will top 178 mph, the 350-horsepower variant can reach a maximum speed of 183 mph, which corresponds to the aforementioned speedometer's optimistic indicated 188 mph. With the Bregenz Casino just around the corner, we wonder how much we would need to win to buy the new 911. The Carrera costs $70,095 in the United States, just $700 more than the outgoing model. The S is listed at $79,895. The extra money buys not only 30 more horses but also PASM, Turbo brakes, bi-xenon lights, and nineteen-inch wheels. While Porsche expects an evenly split model mix, we wouldn't be surprised to see the top-of-the-line car outselling its lesser stablemate.