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The current editorial team here at Consumer Guide couldn’t think more highly of the Porsche 911, but was our appreciation for this German icon always so robust? To help celebrate this rear-engine sports car’s 50th anniversary, let’s jump back 40 years and see how the team felt back then.
The word iconic gets thrown around fairly freely for a lot of things that are merely successful, but if there’s an automobile that truly deserves that adjective, it’s probably the Porsche 911. Going on 50 years now—the public debut of the prototype was at the September 1963 Frankfurt auto show—the shape of the 911 has stayed true to its original theme, while the sports car’s performance has risen to ever-greater heights. It is an icon in the strict dictionary sense of something whose form suggests its meaning.
Porsche is using the 2013 New York Auto Show to celebrate the 50th birthday of its most iconic sports car. Part of the festivities include the debut of the 2014 911 GT3.
The GT3 is basically a sportier version of the standard 911 Carrera. How do you make an already sporty car even more so? By giving it more power, better handling, and more expressive styling.
In this edition of “The Keymaster,” we take a look at the key fob for the 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S.
Unlike the last Keymaster post on this blog, which focused on the Jaguar XJL Supersport’s fob (which looks like a square with rounded corners), the Porsche’s key is much more imaginative. About as long as your index finger, the 911’s key is loosely shaped like the sports car to which it’s married. The Porsche shield is a textured badge set into the hood. The buttons on the “roof” have a rubbery feel and, when pressed, activate a blinking red light above the “Unlock” button. Though heavier than the average “smart” key, it won’t put a strain on your key ring. Its weight simply imparts a feel of quality and substantiality.
Making its world debut at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show was a revamped version of Porsche’s entry-level coupe. The 2014 Porsche Cayman delivers more power, but with the promise of lower fuel consumption, all while retaining the same thrilling driving experience that’s a hallmark of the brand.
A thorough test drive is always an important part of any new-vehicle buying experience. However, when it comes to high-end performance cars and enthusiast buyers, a run-of-the-mill dealership test drive on city streets isn’t always sufficient to truly show off the vehicle’s capabilities. Luxury manufacturers realize this, and most of them offer a variety of brand-specific “driving experience” events that range from complimentary half-day product samplings to expensive, multiple-day high-performance-driving instruction courses. These events are held at various racetracks and private country club-style road courses around the country, usually during the summer months. Manufacturers get to showcase their current offerings and do a bit of direct marketing. Enthusiasts and prospective buyers get a dose of professional instruction and a supervised high-performance test-drive opportunity that’s (briefly) unconstrained by those pesky speed limits and traffic laws.
Model: 2012 Porsche Cayman R; 330-horsepower 3.4-liter 6-cylinder engine and 6-speed manual transmission
Base Price: $66,300
Options: Automatic dimming mirrors, Porsche Communication Management w/navigation, xenon headlights w/cornering lights, sound package plus storage, automatic A/C, sport chrono package plus, XM satellite radio, universal audio interface, black painted wheels
Price as Tested: $79,285
Many premium-brand vehicle owners aren’t content to follow the herd and don’t think twice about spending big bucks to customize their rides in one way or other. Porsche learned this decades ago, and it has cashed in handsomely with an endless parade of performance and cosmetic packages for its various products, many allegedly inspired by the brand’s racing exploits and all aimed at customers who just can’t resist lilly-gilding.