Porsche 911 Carrera
Today we got the most hyped car on the planet Earth - Porsche 911. I’ll either make 90% of the car people happy or angry. I can’t promise with which emotions you’ll be left with after you’re done reading. I can only promise to be fair and objective and remember this is how I feel about it, it’s not how you should feel about it. Everything comes from my personal experience. Do I have mega-high expectations? Yes, I do. Is there enough substance to please me? Let’s find out. Again, it’ll be judged based on the same five categories: good as a daily, looks, performance, driver’s satisfaction and value for money. At the end of the day, there is only one of the 3 cars I would bring home and in this post you’ll find out which one wins.
After the so-so experience with the Huracán, we got the keys to a Porsche 911 Carrera. Yes, it’s the cheapest 911 model you can buy, but that’s the whole point. Most of the 911s out there are exactly that. So, before you come at me “But there’s Turbo S, GT3, etc” - I’m fully aware of this, but like I said - the Carrera is the preferred choice based on how often a 911 is a Carrera.
I’m lucky not to have Porsche fans in my life, because the only thing they talk about is how great Porsches are and how 911 is the best car on the planet and they don’t accept other opinions. It’s like a cult. I’ll be honest right off the bat - it’s not the best car and it never will be. There’s no such thing. And if there is, it’ll be a McLaren. Anything German is too German to be universally the best. I can’t think of a model from a German brand that has given me a special feeling. None. They all give that mass-produced luxury feeling, but never special. If you’ve driven proper exotics, you know what I’m talking about. They’re the prêt-à-porter and never the haute couture. And it’s not a bad thing, if you’re looking for a daily - they make the best daily drivers: now that’s a universal truth. It’ll be fun if I become a Porsche fan after this 911 experiment.
For the Porsche days we got something very special - a drive through the largest uninterrupted desert on the planet - the Empty Quarter or Rub’ al Khali. We got all the bags, suitcases and backpacks ready and after the Lambo tiny truck situation we felt a bit nervous whether this tiny car will fit all of our stuff. It did, but we had to use the back seats, which can be used by humans as long as they're slim. The desert resort was on the border with Saudi Arabia and Oman, so this meant 400km to our destination. (In case you want to check it out, we stayed at Qasr Al Sarab. “Dune” was filmed there, so was “Star Wars”)
The first thing I noticed was how thin the doors are. As someone who is used to big and heavy coupé doors that are more effective in maintaining your biceps than the gym, the 911 ones felt like paper. Not exactly the grand luxurious door opening I imagined. As I sat down, my first impression was "this is a very stiff interior, kinda dated”. “But this is a performance sport’s car” you will say - I’ll get there as well. The leather quality was better than the Huracan’s but not better than the Ferrari’s. For such a tiny car, the comfort exceeded the expectations. It was quite roomy and we finally got proper cup holders. I mean it’s the desert after all, we need to stay hydrated.
Another thing that doesn't take too long to notice is the loud noise inside the coupe. It’s noisy for no real reason. I get it if it’s a V12 and it’s part of the experience, but the Porsche is not. And the noise is not the fun engine note in a Lambo for example, but sounded like you’re in a hairdresser’s salon. This is the first car ever that has made me feel tired after driving it for a few hours.
The interior that surrounds you is in the typical German “clean luxury” style that in my opinion doesn't have a sporty look and feel that the car deserves. There were also constant vibrations and squeaking noises coming from the dashboard, that became present and consistent above 140km/h. And our Porsche had only 10k kilometres on it.
As we were about to begin the desert road drive, we did a refuelling stop at Abu Dhabi. I don’t know if you’re like me, but anything under 100km range is freaking me out. Even though the 911 is the typical German car and there were no surprises in the fuel consumption department.
And the personality of the 911 finally resurfaced. It’s a pure joy to drive it. Without a doubt it has the best transmission out of the 3 cars. It was quick with the best feedback. If you can ignore the unnecessary noises, the engine actually has a surprisingly good note and it constantly felt like it had more and more power to give.
The handling on the other side wasn't that great. It wasn't as immediate as the Ferrari’s, which was a letdown. 911 is a popular choice for the track and it was kind of disappointing that the handling didn't live up to the hype. It was typically German and not outstandingly British like the McLaren’s. If I had to rate the handling alone, I would give it 6/10.
It was also jittery over bumps. The whole car got nervous as the road became more challenging. Something that surprised us both as we had very high expectations considering the racing heritage of this car.
The brakes were amazing though! Probably the best brakes out of the 3 cars. The tires do play a huge role in this, but I believe the 911 has some of the best brakes in the industry. It felt like it.
The visibility was also perfect and the overtakes were just blissful.
As we arrived at the desert resort, we received multiple compliments on the car from the staff and the visitors. It’s a likeable car, very approachable. I'm honestly not a huge fan of the design, it’s a bit lazy, but I guess if “it ain't broken, don’t fix it” is in full force at the Porsche design department. I get that it’s timeless and funky, but it’s also … lazy.
In terms of performance we’re talking about a 3.0l flat-six-cylinder engine that produces 380hp. From 0 to 100km it takes 4,2 seconds, which is the same as a Mustang GT and a lot slower than other sports cars in the same price range. “But this is the slowest 911” - you’ll say. Yes, it is, but it also starts at $108 000 - just to put things into perspective. Our 911 also had an 8-speed auto transmission, which was an absolute pleasure to use, but obviously it was more engaging and fun to drive in manual. Rear-wheel drive comes as standard.
So much hype... Yeah, I get it, it’s fun to drive and it’s charming. The only case I see it fit to justify owning a 911, any 911, is if you have a one-car garage. It’s nice to throw around. The dimensions make it suitable for a daily and it’ll sure turn your everyday journeys into something more fun to look forward to. Also, if you want to be likeable within your local car community - it’s a solid choice. But at that price point, I think there are better sports cars that will deliver more for less money.
Your best bet is the Turbo S, but it starts at $200 000, which is 2x the price of the Carrera.
I honestly still don’t understand the hype around this car. I enjoyed it, but I also find it ordinary and I feel like owning one would be boring. For a few days - sure, it was fun to get to know it. I even missed it a bit after we returned it, but I still can’t wrap my head around how overrated the 911 is. The hype makes you expect much more of a car than what you actually get.
good as a daily : 8/10
looks : 8/10
performance : 7.5/10
driver’s satisfaction : 7.5/10
value for money : 7/10
So which car won? It's the F8 Tributo. It was the best looking and it delivered the most thrill per kilometre. The handling was outstanding and it exceeded the expectations. It was an absolute joy to drive it and it had the most special presence out of the 3. I truly miss it!