Everybody, take a good look at my Porsche 911.
Well, I say “my”; it’s actually just the one I assembled on the Porsche.ca configurator, and it’s specc’d just the way I like it: 7-speed manual transmission, optional powerkit to bump the horsepower to 430hp, Sapphire Blue metallic with black-painted 20” SportTechno wheels, and a no-frills interior.
Grand total with options? $147,255. Ye gods—I’m going to need a second paper route.
This is the great/horrible thing about the 911; it’s not really a car at all, it’s just a basic idea and Porsche will put it together pretty much anyway you like, assuming you have the scratch. There are fourteen different flavours of 911, and each one is just the start of a head-scratching, wallet-smashing journey of personal taste and discovery.
Your first choice? Convertible or coupe. This latest-generation of 911 actually looks quite handsome as a cabriolet—the same cannot be said of previous cars which looked a bit humpy from certain angles. You half expected them to come with Notre Dame Cathedral bumper-stickers.
Having flipped a coin between the joys of open-air motoring and the sleeker looks of a coupe, it’s time to talk about power. The basic Carrera comes with a 3.4L flat-six engine that makes an entirely reasonable 350hp. It has to be said, with the manual transmission this is not a breathtaking amount of thrust. The six-cylinder must be spun up through the rev-range to get up to speed; that’s not a bad thing, it’s actually quite satisfying to do so, and keeps you out of trouble with the fuzz.
Then there’s the S models with a bigger 3.8L stove pumping out 400 prancing Stuttgart stallions. With the PDK dual-clutch transmission, this machine is as at-home on the track or off, though the transmission might be a little too telepathic. One feels a bit of a passenger aboard a highly technical robot that’s solving your blunders with a minimum of electronic tutting—call it GTR syndrome.
You can get any of these machines in rear-wheel-drive or with all four wheels driven. Not that many folks drive their 911s in the snow, but the extra traction can impart a little more confidence at the expense of that mogul-skiing hip-sway that’s classic Porsche. The looney-tunes turbocharged cars all come with four-wheels-a-spinnin’, though the latest generation has yet to be revealed in all its twin-turbo, physics-punishing splendour.
Then there’s the just-out GT3, the driver’s special. This year, Porsche’s racetrack weapon is PDK only, which has caused much foaming at the mouth among the Porsche purist community, many of whom actually own Porsches. Well, some of whom, anyway. I say the proof is in the pudding, but it would be nice to at least have the option of self-shifting.
Still totally confused? Not to worry, because here’s Porsche to make the decision easy. It’s the 50th anniversary 911, a rear-drive coupe with a gorgeous houndtooth interior, exterior colour choice cut down to just three options (light grey, dark grey, or black), classic Fuchs-style rims, a bump in power to 430hp and all the options you really want. Better yet, it’s cheaper than my do-it-yourself build (at “just” $141,600) and best of all, they’ll sell you it with a manual.
Yep, that’s the one for me. Need your paper delivered?
Brendan McAleer is a freelance auto-writer based out of North Vancouver, BC, and a member of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada. His work appears in BBCAutos, Road&Track, Autos.ca and elsewhere. Follow him on twitter @brendan_mcaleer.
Photo courtesy of the author.