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May 15, 2011


Quality in quantity

by JHW

Twenty-eight.  That is a lot of anything… think about it.  Twenty-eight bottles of beer on the wall takes quite a bit of singing; and twenty-eight Golden Retrievers could make for a lot of sh… shedding.  As an unapologetic Porsche owner & enthusiast, it is tough to admit that twenty-eight variations of the current generation 911 might be too much of a good thing.

The proliferation of the Porsche line-up has made for an order guide nearing the thickness of a Cheesecake Factory menu.  For example, you would think a snow belt buyer would be hard pressed to find a year-round sports car… well look no further than your local Porsche dealership, as there are currently 12 all-wheel drive 911 variants.  For the track minded consumer, it is hard to top the 997.2 generation GT3 & GT3RS.  With gobs of power, options for center lock wheels and carbon ceramic brakes – these are impressive tools by anyone’s definition.  However, Porsche recently announced that they will offer 600 GT3 RS models featuring a 500hp 4.0 liter motor, this after releasing a ballistic 620hp lightened GT2 RS (yes, a rear wheel drive 911 packing more power than the Carrera GT!).  By the time I am finished writing, there may be an 80 calorie Carrera Lite for sale?

In addition to the staggering count of 911 based models, Porsche still sells the Cayenne, Panamera, Boxster and Cayman… each of these sporting multiple variations and special editions.  There are Black editions, a Transyberia edition, Speedsters, Spyders, and a partridge in a Porsche tree.  You may think you know what you want, but this is before you are assaulted by the seemingly endless list of engine & drive train configurations, and you haven’t even read the options book.  I’m sorry, did someone say they wanted deviated stitching on their leather wrapped air vents and HID lighting in the passenger foot-well?  Everything your heart desires is a la carte, and while this will help you design the car of your very specific dreams, it has the potential to pulverize your designer wallet.

I don’t intend to demean Porsche for giving its buyers an endless array of choices.  In fact, I commend their efforts – as someone spending upward of six figures on a car should indeed have it their way.   The cars are not diluted by such offerings, quite the opposite, as many of the available items only stand to improve an already outstanding package.   That said, speccing a new Porsche is not for the feint of heart.  Sit down, then consider that throwing the configurator at a $91,900 “base” Carrera S can grow the bill to a staggering $180,630!

The fact remains; I believe the current generation of Porsche’s to be the best in the company’s storied history.  Yes, Porsche stayed afloat through the creation of the Boxster, and reinforced their financial portfolio with the launch of the Cayenne, and later the Panamera.  Sure, purists screamed bloody murder, but without these moves, the rear engine bathtubs we all love so much may have been relegated to the history books.  Porsche has done a phenomenal job of identifying areas of opportunity, and jumping into them with segment defining product.  In doing so, Porsche has earned the eye of conquested buyers who undoubtedly would have jumped into their next Mercedes, Audi or BMW.  They have also created a product hierarchy from the $48,100 Boxster to the $245,000 GT2 RS.  This is an imperative move in building brand loyalty, as aspirational buyers can jump onboard with tons of room to grow.  With the impending launch of the 918 Spyder, that already high ceiling will nearly triple – again capturing the hearts of a fresh segment of buyers.

Porsche’s laser like focus on useable performance has meant a (very) full range of products spanning the gaps between traditionally siloed classes of vehicle.  And this is the brilliance of Porsche.  It doesn’t matter if you are a weekend track warrior, canyon carver, boulevard cruiser, soccer Mom or CEO… Porsche makes a car for you, and chances are, you want it!  Each model has a defined place in the lineup.

When I look at the laundry list of 911’s this way – it starts to make more sense.  The 911 is after all Porsches most iconic product, and in my opinion, the worlds best everyday sports car.  A base Carrera serves as a fantastic starting point, an expression of perfection through relentless re-development.   While this would be enough car for most, it is not the ultimate expression of the 911.  No, that is something that I suppose is open for interpretation.  Perhaps 28 isn’t enough…

And for those keeping score at home:

911 Carrera

911 Carrera S

911 Carrera Cabriolet

911 Carrera S Cabriolet

911 Carrera 4

911 Carrera 4S

911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet

911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet

911 Carrera GTS

911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet

911 Carrera 4 GTS

911 Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet

911 Black Edition

911 Black Edition Cabriolet

911 Targa 4

911 Targa 4S

911 Turbo

911 Turbo S

911 Turbo Cabriolet

911 Turbo S Cabriolet

911 GT3

911 GT3 RS

911 GT3 RS 4.0

911 GT2

911 GT2 RS

911 Speedster

911 Sport Classic (not for us Americans)

911 Turbo S – Edition 918 Spyder

Read more from Op-Ed
2 Comments Post a comment
  1. GREAT REVIEW! I agree with all you said in your article, especially at the middle of your article. Thank you, this info is very useful as always. Keep up the good work! You’ve got +1 more reader of your super blog:) Isabella S.

  2. May 17 2011

    Thanks Isabella, Good to have you onboard! JHW


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