When the Gay UK received an invite to the Porsche experience l jumped at the chance and on a cold and frosty Monday morning l headed to Silverstone not really knowing what to expect other than testing 3 new cars that had been launched.

Porsche
The 3 new machines of the day were the wind in the hair Boxster Spyder at £60,459, the closed coupe Cayman GT4 at £64,451 and the blisteringly quick 911 GT3 RS. Taking a Cayman and adding another £90,000 might seem excessive for a similar car with 2 seats, a roll cage and typical Porsche looks but this time you get exclusive rights to actually owning a proper 911. And the 911 is no longer a posers car but a bona fide super car that wet dreams are made off.
After the initial briefing to the 20 motoring journalist from around the country we were split into groups and given a taste of all things new and current at Porsche. A passenger rider in the Cayenne to demonstrate its abilities as an off-roader dispelled any previous doubts about the cars off road ability. Computers really have taken over the world of 4×4’s and the systems fitted to the Stuttgart tractor really are wasted on the city dweller whose only off road experience is when they mount the kerb.

“Relax and let the Cayman take control

of the brakes and while you make

slight adjustments to the steering

and still keeping your foot on the

throttle and the car recovered without

as much as getting your eyelashes

out of place.”

And then the driving fun started and first up was the Cayman GT4. Porsche described this as demonstrating their commitment to being a puristic sport car giving it the motorsport involving experience. You can’t deny that they haven’t achieved this. It has creature comforts that seem the norm now like climate control but it also had the ability to be quite civilised for the daily commute without being to rough and ready with easy to use controls. However press the pedal to the floor and prepare to witness the car change from humdrum to exciting while it releases its 385bhp at 7400rpm should you wish to rev it that hard. I also had the opportunity to experience the cars amazing electronic stability programme on the skid pan that deliberately puts you in a slide. Relax and let the Cayman take control of the brakes and while you make slight adjustments to the steering and still keeping your foot on the throttle and the car recovered without as much as getting your eyelashes out of place.

Porsche
It was time to breath and take it easy in the Boxster Spyder. For a car with the roof missing it really was taught. Problems with soft tops are that the body flexes and the steering can feel a little woolly and loose. No such traits were felt during the test laps. The engine lacks the outright performance of the Cayman GT4 by some 15bhp and maximum power is delivered at a calming 6700rpm. In my mind this makes the Boxster the more enjoyable to drive and the accommodating to your mood should it be outright performance or commuter traffic. Faced with the dilemma of what one to take home l would have taken this one. What clinched the deal was having my driver for the day, Rick, show me what a properly driven lap should be like. He reached limits that you would not on the open roads let alone on the test track. The electronic stability programme felt redundant in his hands.
And so to the 911 GT3 RS. You have to respect a vehicle with this much power and you have to raise your hat to Porsche who still persist with developing a chassis configuration that has more in common with the humble VW Beetle than you would think possible even today. I did ask why they still continued with this layout and was told about loading a shopping trolley. Place your heavy objects at the back and you’ll be able to whizz around your local Waitrose in ease dodging Mrs July-August should she step back from the aubergines in total control. Place your humous at the back and it can all go wrong for your Cava. Even now as you read this you are agreeing with the principle.

“l did have a tear in my eye

from both fright, laughter

and a brain that had been

crushed at the front of my

cranium from the force

brought on by applying

the brakes.”

With me behind the wheel, Rick played a game of trust. He had to trust me to stop the car and l had to trust him to tell me when to apply the brakes. Using the cars easy to use launch control program of foot on brake, foot on throttle, off brakes and go go go from 0-60 in 3.2 seconds and then beyond. The traffic light grand prix will be an easy win for you. The 911 hurtles itself down the straight with absolutely no wheel spin to a speed l did not look at and after a short time l had to scream out “TELL ME WHEN TO HIT THE BRAKES!” When the 911 came to a stop the adrenaline flowing through my body was quite intoxicating and l have to admit l did have a tear in my eye from both fright, laughter and a brain that had been crushed at the front of my cranium from the force brought on by applying the brakes.

Around the track the 560bhp monster could be tamed without trying. The Doppelkupplung (that’s Porsche speak for their dual clutch automatic system) selected the right gear at the right time within a blink of an eye. The system was first used on their Le-Mans style racers and it has take Porsche around 10 years to develop the DPK system to be able to offer it in their road going cars. You think nothing more about gear changes from the moment you select a forward gear.

As the day drew to a close l took stock of the most comprehensive range of sports cars Porsche have ever offered and it seemed apparent that while they are about going fast without compromise there really is very little to sacrifice in the cars comfort and the day to day usability. Not counting the SUV’s in the range, none of them are the ideal car to take when you need some flat pack furniture but then again all of them are cars that you can use to pop away for the weekend of whatever takes your fancy. And this makes us the lucky ones because we have never had it so good from Porsche.

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Reviewed by Stuart M Bird

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