The Porsche 911 is one of the most iconic cars in the world.
And with good reason. It’s been at the heart of Porsche’s identity since it was first launched way back in 1963.
A few years have gone by since I last drove a Porsche so I was delighted when the company invited me to test a range of their cars on the beautiful roads of Yorkshire.
Porsche does a broad spectrum of cars these days, from the fully electric Taycan to the big SUV Cayenne.
There was no other model to start the day with than the 911, however.
I slipped behind the wheel of the 911 Carrera GTS. Widely considered the sweet spot of the range it sits above the ‘basic’ 911 and below the somewhat bonkers Turbo and GT models.
Underneath the bonnet is a 3.0 litre turbocharged six cylinder engine that produces a healthy 480hp.
That’s enough to push it from standstill to 62mph in a whisker over four seconds and on to a mind boggling 193mph top speed.
Prices start at £108,920 for the hardtop version I drove, with the cabriolet model costing another £10,000.
An exhilarating ride
Buyers can choose from Porsche’s eight-speed semi-automatic transmission or a seven-speed manual gearbox. Both are absolutely excellent.
The version I drove came with the manual gearbox. Most buyers are likely to go for automatic versions but purists prefer to change gears themselves.
On a long, empty stretch of Yorkshire moorland I slowed to a standstill and gave the car a bit of stick. It hurtles forward beautifully and I’ve reached the speed limit before I have time to take a breath.
Emerging from a bend and getting on the power really is an intoxicating experience
It handles beautifully as well, whipping round corners with beautiful poise and balance.
The steering is firm, accurate and gives plenty of feedback. And if you do need to slow down quickly that’s no problem – the brakes have plenty of stopping power.
Emerging from a bend and getting on the power really is an intoxicating experience. It roars forward, accompanied by an exciting yowl from the exhaust.
Having to change gears manually makes you feel even more involved in the driving experience.
Of course I couldn’t get anywhere near the car’s limits on a public road – I like having a driving licence.
Suffice to say it will go as fast and grip as well as anyone could need or want it to. You would have to be on a racetrack to explore the envelope of what the 911 GTS can really do.
But that’s almost beside the point. Porsches are billed as the ultimate everyday sports car. It has thrilling levels of power and grip, yet you can commute to work or pootle along to Tesco in it.
After I got over the initial exhilaration of using the power and started cruising along some A roads I noticed the Porsche was remarkably refined.
It’s not exactly a Mercedes S-Class but given what it’s capable of performance wise it’s a pretty comfortable car to drive long distances in.
The only downside is a shortage of practicality. The 911 is rear engined, meaning the boot space is under the bonnet and there’s a measly 132 litres of it.
The small rear seats can be used to stash extra shopping bags though.
The interior is smartly laid out, with sports seats that hold you in place without being too firm.
A large touchscreen infotainment system is easy to use, while a virtual cockpit behind the steering wheel gives the driver all the information they need.
It had been a long time since I’d driven a Porsche 911 and I emerged from the GTS grinning from ear to ear.
It looks wonderful. It’s tremendous fun to drive. It’s easy to live with. And being a Porsche reliability should be much better than many performance cars.
Now if only I had the money to buy one…
Model: Porsche 911 Carrera GTS
0-62mph: 4.1 seconds
Top speed: 193mph
CO2 emissions: 221g/km