Porsche Magic: Tested, part 1
For decades Porsche has prided itself on the everyday usability of its sports cars. The 911 isn't just the product of nearly fifty years of continual performance-based development, it's built to handle domestic punishment with teutonic indifference.
It's part of the appeal and one reason why used Porsche values are as solid as a runway model's calves. The brand has enjoyed its carefully fostered reputation for so long now that it can even gently lampoon the image in its latest stateside marketing push.
Its new TV spot, titled 'Porsche Magic', shows the 911 and Cayman triumphantly completing a range of tasks not normally considered in their job title. Take a look...
Very whimsical isn't it? We thought so. (Tongue in cheek is pretty much our default setting anyway.) Then some bright spark suggested we put Porsche's mischievous role play to the test, and see exactly how much multitasking the 911 could handle.
Obviously we wanted to do this right so rather than choosing Carrera 2 we plumped for the sharper, bare-chested GT3. Porsche's liberal ticking of the options list did the rest, and before you can say 'flat-six' a shiny, brilliant blue 911 was ready for testing.
First up – using your Porsche as a snowmobile. Arguably this is the most unlikely scenario for 911 owners - in the UK you're more likely to see the trains running in the morning than Porsche drivers defrosting their pride and joy for the drive to work. Rear-wheel drive cars are already a handful in the snow before you even begin to factor in the 430 rampant horses which arrive at our GT3's oversized haunches.
Obviously with spring in the air we couldn't hope to test the validity of Porsche's seasonal sequence, but truth be told, we'd probably have baulked at nosing the £106k GT3 into the ice in any case. For a start, the car's nose is incredibly low. We couldn't even persuade the thing to mount the pavement between road and driveway, let alone risk it in knee-deep drifts. And we'd be willing to bet that's how the majority of the brand's customers feel when winter arrives.
Of course if you're one of the 911 buyers who bought into Porsche's 'this is all the car you'll ever need' line - and you're feeling particularly brave - you could always take the plunge and swap your car's snug summer tyres for a cool set of winter ones. In the case of our GT3, that would set you back several hundred pounds. For one. Having experienced cold weather rubber first hand we can vouch for their miraculous capabilities, but we'd still be inclined to leave the 911 in the garage.
There's something disarmingly cool about driving a baby blue 911 GT3 into a Wickes' car park with the intention of filling it with shingle. It's like docking at Monaco's marina in a tugboat full of Guinness or landing an SR-71 Blackbird at Stansted. At least it would be if we'd have done it somewhere other than Surrey - most of the tradesmen in our local branch probably exchange their grimy vans for Caymans on the weekends anyway.
Using the Porsche as a pick-up wasn't nearly as silly as it sounds either. Load capacity is a problem of course, but the 911's front luggage compartment is deceptively capacious. Our meagre budget on the day only extended to a couple of bags of shingle, but the car swallowed those like a hungry hod-carrier. We could have fitted at least two or three more in, although there were serious concerns about lowering that nose even closer to the deck. Especially as Wickes had seen fit to install a couple of ugly looking speed bumps into its car park.
Still, as long as your load isn't long, tall or wide (or very heavy) there's literally dozens of items you could carry home (in low volumes). Test passed, then.
Come back tomorrow to see how the GT3 fares in the second half of our test...