By Guy Clerici
Overall the car is much more refined and of a higher build quality than the 997. It feels like a luxury car but not massed produced (like an M3 feels), and capable of much more than mere mortals can push it. Like the 997, the driver is still aware of where all 4 corners are and what the tires are doing, including the front end.
The electric steering does feel more isolating than the 997, the vagueness is more noticeable at low speeds, I note that the car I drove had the low speed steering option, I personally would not want that. It becomes less noticeable at normal speeds, though still not as direct as a 997 – the plus is that it has a “calmer” effect when driving, and it also does not require as much concentration to keep the steering wheel from inadvertently moving when the turns are bumpy.
At first I disliked the PDK, it up shifts very quickly to a gear in which I do not feel that I have as much acceleration control as I would like. I did get to like it as I better understood how to use it – the key is to leave it in sport mode, the gears are more of what I would choose manually– however, sport mode also stiffens the suspension, I think the shifting patterns in sport mode should be the standard setting. I also think that with some experience I would come to better like the “paddles,” though I found it hard to intuitively choose the right gear with the limited time in the car. Overall, I would get PDK if I wanted more luxury or if I had to be in traffic – I will not likely add it to an order car as I like the experience of shifting ( in my mind it gives me driving skill practice at any speed).
I never would have considered the Bermeister stereo – I am now pretty sure I would be disappointed without it. It is very similar to home systems I have heard in the over $30,000 range.
I was surprised to not especially like the sport exhaust, obviously not an option unique to the 991. I found it a bit annoying in normal driving, and the sound with it turned off to be just fine when pushing the rpm’s. There seems to be a “burble” that is pretty cool and that is not there when not in sport mode, but that does not offset the annoyance (for me).
One affect of the longer wheel base is that the rear engine is not as much a central characteristic of the car. If there is any characteristic that I would miss from the 997 it is that – it is a part of the 911 personality that has been muted, admittedly the car probably handles better, more like a mid-engine car, because of the change.
I suspect any controversy, and what seems to be a strong difference of opinion over the car (so what’s new with Porsche guys?) is that this is a much “calmer,” sophisticated car than its predecessor – I am sure that is not some peoples notion of what a sports car should be, particularly some of us old guys that came up with TR6’s, corvettes, old 911’s, etc. – there has been some rawness taken out – personally, I like the refinement, and assume that the those who want a car that is more hard core should buy a GT3.