Porsche Magic: Tested, part 2
Yesterday we started our investigation into whether a Porsche 911 really was all the car you ever need, as those persuasive people in the marketing department tell us.
We were a bit naughty though, as we chose a 911 GT3 for our tests - not the most practical of models you might think. So far we have assessed its snow-scooping and load-carrying abilities, and here is the second part of the test.
Click below to see how a bright blue supercar fares as a getaway car and a school bus. Sort of...
Now you're talking. Embellishing the daily commute with mechanical loveliness is what the 911 is all about. There are a handful of more rewarding supercars on our wish list, but a Ferrari or Lamborghini cannot be driven with the carefree everyday attitude as the iconic Porsche.
That's not to say that it didn't demand some compromise. The GT3 is not a Carrera; it's a heavyweight piece of performance kit, and ours even came with the optional bucket seats and ceramic brakes to remind you of such. Nursing the car round town requires some effort simply because the steering, pedals and gearshift have the momentous heft of a steam locomotive's controls. But even at low speeds there's an industrious pleasure to be extracted from each interaction with Porsche's engineering finesse.
And it only gets better once you've edged beyond the city streets. The GT3 isn't the rawest model in the range (the practically race-prepped RS above it stakes that claim) instead it's an ultra-fast road car built with A and B highways in mind. Consequently the 911 feels as smartly sprung as a Springer Spaniel, and twice as keen to be taken for a run. The extraordinary limit of its textural relationship with the tarmac is constantly at your fingertips, and you're always encouraged to explore it by the frenetic, blood-curdling howl of that 3.8-litre flat-six.
Most importantly, the GT3 is endlessly involving at this point. Even driven at three-quarters of its potential the car is a joy, primarily because it has the capacity to consume your aggressive, work-aggravated inputs and return them as gift-wrapped driving pleasure.
A getaway car? You'd better believe it.
Okay, we'll admit our choice of 911 did hinder this challenge. The GT3 doesn't come with back seats, and just in case we were tempted to place two terrified six-year olds on the resulting load space, Porsche had installed a roll cage to prevent us. Undeterred, we attempted to attach a child's seat to the 911's passenger seat in the hope of retrieving a friend's toddler from the local nursery. Once again this particular GT3's tricked-out nature denied us the pleasure - try as we might we simply couldn't force the bulky carrier into the figure-hugging bucket seats.
So we cheated. Rather than picking up a pair of children from school we retrieved an 18-year-old relative from the local sixth form. She was very pleased. The GT3 turned out to be an ideal remedy for an (allegedly) messy breakup. Predictably it was also a hit with every male student in staring distance. And a conspicuous flop with every teacher attempting to control a classroom of teenagers.
Still, our pint-sized, size-eight cousin fitted into the seat like a slender hand in a baseball mitt. We'd count that as another tick.
We make it three out of four, and that ain't bad for six-figure supercar. Had we been slightly less enthusiastic about our choice of 911 we probably could have made an even better fist of the challenge. But it wouldn't have been quite so much fun.
It almost goes without saying that the GT3 is a glorious machine. We hung onto this one for about three days and we drove it until our fingers (and wallets) bled from constantly refuelling the thing. Were we lucky enough to own it, we're fairly sure it we'd remain under its spell for each and every day before we traded it in. For another one.
Porsche magic? Damn right.