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2006 Porsche 911 Carrera Road Test

2006 Porsche 911 Carrera Road Test

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Road and track beasts

A little history lesson
911 Carrera RS 2.7 Coupé 1973 (Photo: Porsche)
Based on the Speedster, the first Carreras came onto the scene in 1955. Porsche chose to name these sporty models after the Carrera Panamerica races in which they were so successful. Production stopped in 1966, but the company brought back the name in 1973 for its lightened 911S. Five hundred units of this Carrera were initially supposed to be built; instead, there were more than 1000, good enough to qualify the car for the GT3 class. Throughout the years, Porsche has always used the name Carrera to describe its sportier 911 coupes. Then, in 1989, the Carrera 4 rolled off the assembly lines. Many Porsche enthusiasts claim it's the ultimate Porsche for the road, capable of tackling all 4 seasons and all road conditions.

Carrera, or power
In the very beginning, the 911 was famous for its rear-mounted
928 GTS 1992 (Photo: Porsche)
powertrain. The weight made the drive a delicate affair because of the unprecedented oversteer under hard acceleration. Porsche engineers were stubborn as they absolutely wanted to stick to the original concept. They did try to create front-engine models, such as the 944s and 928s, but customers refused to accept them. Therefore, they took years to perfect this 911 until they finally had an extremely competitive machine. That's quite an accomplishment when you look at how modern sports cars are built. As my colleague Alain Raymond once wrote, the 911 remains an anachronism: it is over 30 years old and still offers a rear engine. What we're seeing is a tamed beast, but in my mind, this car is still very feisty in Carrera trim.

Staying true
356/2 Gmund Cabrio 1948 (Photo: Porsche)
I wonder if Ferdinand and Ferry Porsche would be satisfied with what their baby has become. Judging on the success of the beetle and its particular style, however, they would probably be proud of the resemblance between the 911 and the brand's first coupes. Porsche's stylists managed to stay true to the original lines of the 356 and 911 for more than 30 years, but they raised the bar with each new generation. The Carrera S is unmistakably a Porsche and everyone can recognize it at first glance.

Our two Carreras

While the S sported the traditional silver robe, the 4S was dressed in a color that wonderfully suits its curves, namely Carmona Red Metallic,
Carrera S (Photo: Philippe Champoux)
which is sort of burgundy. The two large doors invite passengers into a rich interior with high-quality leather, but they require a generous parking space. Because of the low ride height, you have to sit and then turn if you want to make an elegant entry. While the gradated grey was beautiful in the 4S, my passengers preferred the natural leather, the various shades and the overall refinement of the S. The excellent fit and finish is more noticeable, especially the double stitches even on the airbag cover. The front bucket seats fit all body types thanks to multiple cushion and seatback adjustments. On the other hand, the leather in the Carrera S doesn't breathe enough, so I had to put the air conditioning on all the time. There's no such problem in the 4S because of the perforated leather upholstery.