Philip Goldsborough, Partner at Irwin Mitchell LLP, gets to drive a classic and the result does not disappoint.
I’m pretty sure that I was the biggest winner at the BQ Magazine 2016 Emerging Entrepreneurs’ Awards Dinner at the Leeds Marriott in February - and I’m no emerging entrepreneur.
“We need someone to pick up a brand new 2016 Porsche 911 Carrera, play with it for the weekend and tell our readers all about it,” said the nice man from BQ Magazine at the end of the dinner. Ladies and Gentlemen, the 2016 BQ Magazine Award for being in the right place at the right time goes to...me!
The following afternoon, Leeds Porsche handed me the Porsche shaped key fob and escorted me to a stunning new gun metal grey 911.
It’s a 911. An iconic classic. So of course, at a glance, it looks the same as ever. But of course in Stuttgart, evolution means improvement. It’s different. Somehow sleeker, a touch more aggressive but still smart, elegant and understated. I’ll spare you my description of the gorgeous new exterior lines - just check out our photos - enough said.
The smart, elegant theme continues in the superbly designed Alcantara lined cockpit. The welcoming leather driver’s seat (this one had Porsche crests embossed in the headrests - technically an option but how could you possibly not tick that box?) sits you in a perfect driving position. The switches and dials are perfectly positioned around the driver. The tactile controls push, pull and twist with reassuring, solid clicks. The interior materials are all of rock solid quality, bolted together with Germanic precision and attention to detail.
Putting the key fob in the ignition and twisting it to start the engine brings a smile - a welcome retro change in today’s world of keyless fobs and starter buttons. Twist the key and on start-up the bi-turbo, flat six boxer, 370 horse power engine whooshes into a controlled growl loud enough to let you know what’s in store - but not loud enough to scatter birds from the trees, like one or two other less subtle engine start ups in the luxury sports coupe class.
My test route of choice was a round trip from Leeds to Bamburgh Castle on the Northumberland coast, via Newcastle to pick up my 19 year old petrolhead son. In and around town the 911 is a civilised everyday commuter. The Porsche PDK semi-automatic gearbox is sensational as it takes you up through the gears - the power delivery is unbelievably smooth. The car literally glides through gear changes without any detectable jolts, in fact the only indication of a new gear is the faint sound of a note change from the engine - and of course the gear number display changing on the centre dial.
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Out of town, the 911’s monstrous power and racing pedigree is licence busting. Be very careful. Porsche’s published 0-60 mph figure of 4.4 seconds for this model is no doubt accurate - but in practice feels about 2.4 seconds too high. And this is just the entry level model!
Coasting at 50 miles per hour in the frustratingly long 50 mph limit zone on the A1 heading north to Scotch Corner, felt like walking pace after slowing down into it. Interestingly, even at a sedate, speed limit restricted 50 mph, cars in front seemed to politely move aside. As well as the unmistakeable 911 shape looming in their rear view mirrors, I’m pretty sure their deference had something to do with the car’s fabulous new look daytime running lights, comprising four tiny but super bright and intimidating LED bulbs set in a neat square in each headlight lens.
The quiet country and then coastal roads of Northumberland invited a thorough test of the 911’s superbly responsive steering and its several hooligan engine settings. Twist the small dial positioned just off the centre of the steering wheel, first to Sport, then to Sport Plus - the car stiffens, the engine roars and you instinctively laugh out loud. If that’s not enough, press the small Sport Response button set in the middle of the sport dial - all settings go instantly into race mode and all hell lets loose - but just for a limited 20 seconds burst, which counts down on a bright green circular timer graphic that appears on your main dial.
Any negatives? One or two. In sensible commuterland mode the 911 is almost too German - too clinical, purely functional. As Petrolhead next to me in the passenger seat observed, there is no sense of occasion. Perhaps this is a harsh criticism though - when after all, one press of the Sport Response button instantly turns the sensible German bonkers on request. If that’s not enough for you, spec your new 911 with the sports exhaust option.
Either way, Petrolhead and I had a truly memorable day out in a sensational car.
The car Philip drove was a Porsche 911 (991) Carrera 2 Coupe PDK. On the road from £78,800 incl VAT. Porsche Centre Leeds, The Boulevard, City West Business Park, Leeds LS12 6BG. 0113 389 0600