Porsche 911 Carrera 992 Coupe – long-term review
Is McLaren’s ‘practical supercar’ more useful than the Porsche 911?
When McLaren launched the GT, it was claimed that it was capable of carrying oddly shaped items such as skis, golf clubs and guitar cases. And it is possible. All at the same time. Which, if you’re a supercar junkie and a juggler of unusual and unsightly objects, might be the best news you’ve ever had. As long as you sacrifice your passenger. You can’t fit them all under the full-length tailgate, you see.
But it got me thinking. The 911 is very useful, but being rear-engined (the GT’s cargo compartment is above the mid-engine) it doesn’t really have an area that can carry long items. So far I have used Seasucker racks and the roof. Which spoils the easy cruising economy of 32 mpg.
I really thought I had fooled 911 this time. So I tilted the driver’s seat forward, lowered the rear seats (jacks are one of those beautifully designed, easy-to-use little indulgences), and quickly discovered you can put golf clubs, a guitar, and skis in the back. And there’s still room for a passenger. And probably another set of golf clubs.
Okay, so the skis had to stick out (forming a useful upper armrest), and the physical contortions required to load things in the rear are far more likely to result in a hernia than simply leaning over the rear deck of the McLaren where the worst . you’ll suffer from dirty pants and possible (and easily avoidable) burned shins from exhaust fumes. But is there no limit to Porsche’s talents?
The key is the one thing most sports cars never consider: the packaging. McLaren has done more than any other company to maximize the mid-engine format, but tilting the engine back means it’s out of the way. Granted, it took nearly 60 years of Porsche development to get to this point, but in a much smaller space (it’s over 160mm shorter, and with the mirrors folded, the best part is 200mm narrower), it sculpted a phenomenally usable cabin. . The kind that can actually be worn every day without thinking. I’ve taken teens volleyball, picked up bulky bales of pet supplies. It does it all, and it does it as easily as a Golf. Zero commitment.
So does driving it every day and treating it like a Golf make it ordinary? Not for a second. Three main reasons for this: the interior design, the fact that you sit so low, and the quality and depth of the engineering. Sitting lower means you still feel separate from other traffic, and the design and execution of the cabin is very, very good. So tactile, so easy to use, so satisfying. And it is reflected in every movement of the car: every gear change, every contraction of the shock absorber, every turn of the steering wheel. It’s very rewarding every time I walk in, no matter where I’m going or what I’m doing.
Which makes me wonder why he needs “more” 911. I drove this simple Carrera 2 back to back with the McLaren. Sure, the GT feels more special: upward-opening doors, more visceral responses, really wonderful steering, massive power. But at this time of year it cannot be used.
Even with fully heated tires and brakes, it can’t cope with greasy and muddy roads. The traction light flashes all the time, it won’t speed any higher than a hot hatch. The 911, which also sports Pirelli P Zeros, has incredible traction, an equally charismatic engine (doesn’t mean that much), a more confidence-inspiring chassis, and is generally more comfortable and drivable while also providing plenty of entertainment. And yes, I could have put the 911 in the winter, but I decided not to because I don’t want to make it too easy for myself.
I also don’t want it to be a Turbo S or a GT3. As a car to live in, this base Carrera 2 does the essentials at least as well, if not better. And with a considerably lower financial investment. Remember that the only equipment options on this car are the anti-glare mirrors, the rear view camera and the Sports Plus seats (which add up to just over €1,000). I rarely find myself wanting more power or the safety of 4WD, and I never want firmer suspension. I regularly wish for better noise, but I know the £1844 sports exhaust wouldn’t bring back the full nat-asp rasp.
One more thing: It was also a useful re-evaluation of the McLaren GT. It was in an unfortunate spot at launch in 2019, sitting alone and away from the 570/Sports Series and 720S/Super Series cars, and doing a very aligned job with the 570GT. Furthermore, McLaren claimed that it was a true GT. This was not the case.
But it is a car that is now anchored. With Artura around the corner and the dialogue changed, he has a fitting role. Plus, it’s as smooth and communicative as a 720S, more practical, possibly with better interior trim, and has thoughtful, useful details: the power tailgate, tie-down straps, and so on. At £163,000 (this one only had £12,500 worth of options) it looks like good value next to anything from a Maserati MC20 or Lambo Huracan to a Porsche 911 Turbo. A convincing supercar for every day.
But one price level (or even two…) lower, the base 911 Carrera 2 does an even more impressive job, so easy to enjoy and so brilliant at what it does. No wonder everyone is hesitant to build him a direct rival.
I’ll tell you how well integrated he is with home life. We plan to build an extension. The other day, my wife and I called 911 and she said “you know, maybe we could have one at her place.”
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Source : topgear.com