Friday, 4 September 2009

Turn the new 911 Turbo up to 11 please

I was really quite disappointed when I read the tech spec of the new 911 Turbo. Chiefly because it has less power than the 997 911 GT2 for no obvious reason. It has the larger direct-injection 3.8-litre engine from the 997 II but still puts out less power than the 3.6 port injection 997 GT2.

This smacks of Porsche not turning the wick up all the way up to where they could have done so they could leave room for a GT2 version of the Turbo. I might be wrong but let's run with this conjecture. Why would they want to leave room for a GT2? Because a GT2 means higher margins and more ROI on the platform than a base Carrera 2.

It's like the Boxster-Cayman-911 C2 scenario all over again where Porsche gave the Cayman a 3.4-litre engine, coincidentally bang in the middle of the then Boxster's 3.2 and the 911's 3.6. The first Cayman S also happened to have 295hp c.f. 265hp for the Boxster and 325hp for the 911 Carrera 2.

I understand carmakers are a business and they should do all they can to direct people to the models in their range that make them the most money but I think, if Porsche did a better job of differentiating between models in their range, the underhand, artificial handicapping would be unnecessary.

When Ferrari introduced the 430 Scuderia, they were proud of the fact that it was only 1 second slower around Fiorano than the Enzo despite costing over £200k less. They jumped on rooftops to shout about it! Just like any engineer would if they'd been allowed to make the best car they could.

With the Ferrari range, you know if you want a cruiser you buy a California and if you want a road racer for similar money, you queue up for a 458. I'm not a fanboy.

I don't have the privilege, but if I had £100k plus to sink on a sports car, I'd rather that if any compromises had been made in its design, they'd been with performance in consideration rather how the choices might end up affecting Piech's, Wiedeking's or whoever's the boss nowadays' coin bank.

Update (8 Feb 2009): Because everyone loves saying, "I told you so."

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