If there's anything that's going to ensure this car thing of mine remains a part-time pursuit, it's my inability to appreciate the Porsche 911. It's compulsory for petrolheads to love this car, in the way that it's obligatory for oenophiles to orgasm over Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but I've never been able to understand (a) wherein lies the appeal of a design that hasn't changed in 45 years, (b) why so many bankers would want to buy something so unoriginal, and (c) whether you pronounce it 'Porsh 911' or 'Porsh-uh 911'.
Test-driving a Porsh/Porsh-uh 911 Turbo some five years ago didn't provide much clarification. In advance, I sought driving tips from various men with beards who variously stressed the importance of 'not lifting' ('or you'll spin it'), and 'not flooring it' either ('because the power comes in a burst, and you'll then lift at the worst possible moment'). But on driving it, I promptly lifted and span it. The damned thing also stalled on the Embankment. And, believe me, you've never been truly loathed until you've caused a traffic jam in a canary-yellow Porsche 911 Turbo in the City of London.
Initially, it seemed my loan of the new 911 Carrera was going to be similarly cursed. A few days before it arrived, I tripped and cut my hand open, so when it came to driving away for the weekend, I had to let a friend take the con- trols. The journey was spent proffering half- remembered advice about 'not lifting' and 'not flooring' and trying not to throw up, an experience even more painful than any hand injury.
However, by day three I just couldn't take any more, so I popped some painkillers, and took over the controls. And I must say that the 'new' Carrera, which is like its predecessors in most respects, except in being more fuel-efficient and exhibiting rather cool new lights, was a total surprise. I've never driven anything so ferocious, and yet it's as easy to handle as a Fiesta. And, God, it's addictive.
My model came with an amazing stereo that made familiar tracks sound new, yet it wasn't at all irritating to have the glorious sound periodically interrupted by the engine's exhaust note.
Not that I'm sure why, given my poor history with Porsches. Maybe it's because the Carrera isn't as manically powerful as the Turbo. Maybe I was high on painkillers. Or maybe it's just an age thing. Developing a predilection for the 911 could be - like cheese, red wine and beards - just something that comes with advancing years.
I'll take one ...
The original supercar.
Better fuel efficiency.
Thanks but no thanks ...
Looks like every other 911.
People will think you're a banker.
Porsche 911 Carrera 2
Engine: 3.6 litres
Combined power: 345 bhp @ 6,500 rpm
Torque: 390 Nm @ 4,400 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Fuel: 29.4 mpg (combined cycle)
CO2: 225 g/km
0-62 mph: 4.9 secs
Top speed: 180 mph