As I sit here and attempt to collect my thoughts on the 2009 Porsche 911 C4S, I'm kicking myself for not going to a friend's house and demonstrating the awesomeness of the 911 to him. Just a few weeks ago my friend Pat told me all 911s were overrated and he didn't get it. Surely, giving him a ride around the block in this C4S would have done more to further the cause of the 911 than anything I could ever hope to write here. Journalists and enthusiasts have written millions of words about the 911, but this is a car that must be experienced to really be understood.
The 911 is very easy to get in and out of, unlike our Four Seasons Audi R8. It's also incredibly narrow, and there's not much extra room around the driver. You could have your arm resting on the driver's door and still have a good grip on the steering wheel. By the time you dial in enough steering to pull out of a parking spot, you've already experienced more steering feel than a Toyota Camry owner ever will. Your next mission is to get out of town as quickly as possible and find your favorite two-lane roads. By that time you've become one with the car and there's a big grin plastered on your face.
Perhaps you'll take a few moments to examine the cabin once you're done driving for the day. Those who have spent time in previous 911s will immediately notice the new stereo interface. It looks a lot like the old one, but the interface is much nicer looking and there are a few cool options like Bluetooth phone support (which I couldn't get working with my Blackberry), XM satellite radio, and reasonably good iPod integration. One thing that hasn't changed is Porsche's fondness for leaving the NAV button on cars that do not have navigation systems. Each time I encounter this useless NAV button I get frustrated. Why does Porsche have to tease me? Why would anyone ever put that button on a car without navigation?
Every true enthusiast must experience the rush of hustling a rear-engine car through some tight turns. It simultaneously has you praising German engineering and wondering how much better the car could be if, you know, that engine was in an ideal location. We'll say in front of the rear axle, but behind the driver. Oh, that's why the Cayman doesn't get a 3.8-liter engine...
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor