Life is good and I enjoyed driving the 2002 Porsche Carrera 4S Coupe this week. So if Porsche is pronounced Poor-Sha then I suspect Coupe is pronounced Coop-ay. For the record the 911 was introduced in Europe in 1963. That was a good year for other things too, but it wasn’t until 1965 the 911 came to America.
How do I love thee, let me count the ways. Well, it’s a sports car, it’s fast, it corners like the Materhorn ride at Disneyland, it is timelessly beautiful – need I go on? A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and off to some romantic spot in my Por-Sha. I wonder if Dr. Porsche pronounced it that way?
In any case it’s what the Doctor ordered for relief of the humdrum of ordinary. So I took this puppy up north, not quite to Alaska, and got the feel for how it would behave on those back roads that wind marvelously through the countryside in this wonderful land of OZ.
My friend Mark says this is a performance car you can drive every day of the week. True enough, but if you must drive the freeways in this country to get to work, forget shifting 2,000 times to go 25 miles, buy it with the automatic. Or consider a Lexus, Cad STS or a Jaguar XJ8 and relax to some dreamy music on the CD without the noise you get going through the gears. It will take just as long to get to the office, but you won’t mind it so much. No road rage allowed, none needed when you kick back and relax. Pull the Porsche out on weekends or better yet, during the week while others are not on the highways.
Handling & Performance:
Outstanding. Although, I was never totally confident in this all wheel drive since I spun out in one at Willow Springs race track with friend David Murray in the number two seat. I entered turn number three like David had on some lap’s before my turn at the wheel, but race drivers are professional and me, well, I like to go fast but don’t do it for a living. Before David could grab the wheel to help me out, we had already done a 360. No harm, no foul. Back to first gear and off we went into turn five. I think we spun through turn four.
Passing is no problem and you’ll go 0-60 in a scant 4.5 seconds without breathing hard, but your heart rate will climb. That’s a good thing because it replaces all forms of heart exercise.
The 4S means all wheel drive but the rear fenders say it should be Turbocharged. The redesign for this year includes a slick looking front end, and it’s the wider rear panels and taillights that gives it the look of the $114,000 911 Turbo model. Beauty is only skin deep however and even though this is not the Turbo, you don’t really need it with 320 natural horsepower H6. The Air scoops look cool but they also greatly increase airflow to the cooling system.
Fit and Finish:
Typical Porsche, typical German – always precise.
Way too much for my budget and not enough for the engineering you are buying. Way too much for transportation, but OK for the driving enjoyment for the sports car enthusiast.
Be sensible, buy a Saturn for $9,000 and spend the other $77,000 on vacations around the world, for the two of you, each year for 11 years. You do the math. It’s insane to spend this much money for a car unless you are Donald Trump. But for you Don, get the Rolls and relax.
The Competition: * (see ranking below)
(1) Chevrolet Corvette $42-50,000, (2) Dodge Viper 72,000, (3) Acura NSX $89,000, (4t) Porsche 911 $67-179,000, (4t) Lotus Esprit $88,525, (5) Mercedes-Benz SL Class $85,990, (6) BMW Z8 $130,000, (7) Ferrari 360 $141-171,000, (8) Ferrari 550 Maranello $213,990, (9) Aston Martin V12 Vanquish $222,950, (10) Lamborghini Diablo $274,900.
* – Ranking is based on cost, cu ft, number of features, warranty and gas mileage.
Great engineering, fast, fun to drive, and good resale value.
Expensive toy, hard to get in and out of, small cargo areas, albeit a set of golf clubs does fit in the rear compartment,
3.6 liter H6 water cooled 320HP engine, diagnostic system, knock sensor, double inertial flywheel, 6-speed manual trans, hydraulic clutch, power steering, front and rear stabilizer bars, speed activated rear spoiler, 4-piston fixed allow caliper (vented and perforated disc) anti locking brakes, dual front and side airbags, stability management system, electronic gas pedal and automatic brake differential, power windows, heatable windshield washer nozzles, carbon filtered vent system, all leather full power heated front seats, central locking system, immobilizer anti-theft system, lockable storage compartment, climate control, power heated mirrors, power sliding roof with tilt, AM/FM cassette radio and Advanced Technic Package (includes special headlights, washers, Bose sound system and 6 changer CD player).
17 City and 24 Highway MPG.
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