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.
794.1 km It's dark and wet and late when we arrive at the Kacher residence at Herrsching near Munich. Sebastian and Max are still wide awake, though, because they know a special guest is spending the night in Dad's garage. The following morning, we go for an extended test drive, carefully selecting little used minor roads. The variable rate steering feels a little more indifferent around the straight ahead position now, but it turns in with added precision and is less readily irritated by undulations in the road. Borrowed from the 911 Turbo, the brakes-with four-piston monoblock calipers-are more powerful than ever, respond more promptly thanks to a bigger booster, and are easier to modulate, too. Ceramic composite discs are available as an option. The more aggressively calibrated stability control system extends the limits before saving you from disaster. Alternatively, if you're feeling brave, you can deactivate PSM, find a damp second gear corner, drop the hammer, and put on a slide show the boys will talk about for weeks to come.
863.1 km After three days, one new tire, four refueling stops, and two close encounters with the law, man and machine have become one homogenous unit. This is yet another 911 one gets used to very easily. In the back of my mind, there's a dangerous "I'm not going to give it back" attitude unfolding-despite drawbacks such as the 16.9-gallon fuel tank and the useless rear seats. But the Carrera S is definitely worth a home-equity withdrawal. The only other quibble with this car is its almost overpowering blend of perfection and high-tech overkill. Perhaps we don't really want to keep switching between suspension settings. Nor do we know whether the network of PASM, POSIP, ABS, PCCB, PSM, and PCM is an asset or Big Brother in disguise. But perhaps there's an ultimate 997 down the road: a decontented, minimalistic, lightweight Clubsport edition. That would be pretty amazing.
911.0 km We arrive back at Porsche's HQ with steaming brake discs, crackling exhausts, and scrubbed tires. It's hard to get out and switch off just like that, because the car is so compelling. The new 911 is immensely involving, more complete and more able than ever, faster still and yet better balanced, as unmistakable as before but at the same time more accessible. The engineers have done a sterling job, and, if our three-day experience is anything to go by, Porsche may need to expand the facilities at Zuffenhausen to store the extra revenue this model will generate.