This Porsche is the new 911 Carrera 4S. It’s the largest sports car the German masterbuilder has ever created. Up front I am as comfortable as a chubby banker in his favorite club chair.
There’s never a day when you wouldn’t want to find yourself driving a car like this, but this week it feels particularly apt as the 911 has just celebrated its 50th birthday.
To mark the occasion, Porsche has created a commemorative model. Aside from a few extra flounces and period references, it is the same as the one I’m driving here. But it’s worth noting – as this is the kind of obsessional attention to detail that Porscheophiles love – its multi-spoked wheels are inspired by the original Fuchs rims, the dials have green lettering, as the 1963 car did, and the badge colours are repeated in the headrests’ stitching. Porsche has also only made 1,963 of them. I love that sort of numerical homage.
Porsche does make other models – from the “poor man’s” Boxster up to the unlovable Panamera, and it sells more of its hideous Cayenne SUVs than all the others put together – but the 911 has always been the beating heart of the brand. It’s the quintessential sports car and the benchmark against which all others measure themselves. It’s the Steve McQueen; the steak baguette; the… You could go on. Porsches do this. They make you feel like you’re in love.
Over the 50 years more than 820,000 911s have been built. Most have made their way into their owner’s lives as surprisingly useful, everyday cars. Everyday? Actually, yes. There are not many supercars with room for two little elfs in the back and, despite being so low-slung, my elderly neighbor managed to clamber in and out. It’s biddable in town and even surprisingly frugal with the fuel. But all 911s, given half a chance, are flyers with the potential to let rip on the track. And to have such a limitless supply of power, grace and ability on tap is something that always improves your mood.
This all-wheel-drive car is powered by a phenomenal 3.8-liter six-cylinder 400 horsepower engine – which I, of course, spent the week driving responsibly. It’s also fitted with a new seven-speed manual gearbox. It’s the world’s only seven-speed manual and it’s easy to see why – it’s a complete pain. You never seem to know what gear you are in, or should be in. My father’s first car only had three gears and that served him well enough.
I rarely drive on my own. But late last Sunday I headed out to the quiet, dark lanes of Kent for one last go before the car was collected the next morning. I drove 50 miles in 50 minutes – Porsche would like that. No music, just the engine’s mesmerizing buzz. Fast, slow, straight, cornering… and grinning.
Time to start the Christmas shopping
It can be hard buying for the car-lover in your life. But luckily the RAC has come to your rescue with the launch of a new online shop. It will stock 80,000 different products for motorists, ranging from headlights for a 1960s VW Beetle to a seat belt for the family dog. And also this amazing old-fashion pedal car… Have a look at racshop.co.uk.
Ford is to reveal the new Ford Mustang to the world on 5 December. It will be unveiled in six cities round the world, including Barcelona, where Ford of Europe will hold a “Go Further” event to introduce new vehicles and technologies. Mustang is the most “Liked” vehicle on Facebook with more than 5.5 million fans. As part of Ford’s countdown to the unveiling, Facebook and Instagram will showcase what Mustang has meant to its millions of fans during the last 50 years. The “Go Further” event will be hosted by Stephen Odell, president of Ford of Europe, and will be live-streamed from 2pm on 5 December. You can watch it here: gofurtherlive.com.
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk