Positioning. Lighting. Exposure. Focus. Filters. Each of these rudiments, and many more, can be tweaked, manipulated, subjugated, and enhanced using the latest in imaging technology to create a picture that perfectly expresses the photographer’s motivation.
The updated-for-2016 Porsche 911 range deals more with yaw, slip angles, torque curves, and steering calibrations than colours, focus, and exposure. Ultimately, though, the latest 911 is to fast driving what a modern camera and imaging software is to photography: a high-tech toolkit to help its user generate a perfect performance-motoring image with an eye for individuality.
Like a new flagship camera line, the new Porsche 911 models allow customers to specify various individual feature sets, forming a tailored basis upon which to connect with diverse needs, tastes, and styles.
Standard or powered-up ‘S’ versions offer two performance levels upon which to build. RWD and AWD are available, the latter enabling access to more of the machine’s capability, more easily, in more situations. Additionally, 4-wheel steering can be specified, with benefits to sharpness and stability. Manual or automatic dual-clutch transmissions cater to various desires for do-it-yourself manual operation or fully assisted control. Coupe, Cabriolet, and Targa bodies meet various stylistic preferences.
So, like pulling the perfect new camera from the shelf at a retailer, devising the perfect Porsche 911 is as simple as creating your perfect combination of features and systems. It’s all about building the ultimate tool for capturing your ideal performance driving picture.
Once shoppers have selected their chosen core product and optional features, a wide range of systems ― standard or optional ― allow for further fine-tuning.
Now-standard Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) replaces the fixed suspension with a set of adaptive dampers that enable toggling of the ride and handling balance. Like choosing between a soft and forgiving image or a precise and direct one, PASM allows drivers to change the feel of their performance picture on the fly.
The Porsche Stability Management (PSM) system can be engaged with varying degrees of aggressiveness so drivers can match stability control interventions with their own comfort and skill level, too.
With the dual-clutch PDK transmission, throttle position and gear selection are managed like shutter speed and aperture size on your high-end camera: fully automatic in one setting with near-telepathic matching of one attribute to the next in changing conditions or complete manual-mode control via shift paddles.
There’s the Porsche Dynamic Damper Control (PDDC) system, which does for the 911’s ride quality what an image stabilizer system does for a photographer using a pro lens: It keeps things steady, flat, and centered on uneven ground or while moving quickly, and makes a sharp image easier to get in challenging conditions.
The new 2016 Porsche 911 even offers the same little round dial mounted to the steering wheel as the million-dollar 918 Spyder ― complete with four illuminated detents and a central button. Turn and click between Off, Sport or Sport Plus, and various pre-set calibrations from all available systems and features snap into action. Click the centre button, and an override function engages instantly, putting things into maximum performance mode, even downshifting the transmission for maximum available revs in milliseconds. Alternatively, click the dial to Individual mode, and the user’s favorite custom settings are called into action, not unlike the “PROGRAM” mode on your new SLR.
Hammer the 911’s throttle in Sport Plus, and gears are dispatched like sequential shutter releases as a photographer tracks a sprinter approaching the finish line. The German sports car accelerates with a similarly breathless pace, one gear after the next in quick succession, heads glued to seatbacks, and torque filling in the engine’s rev-range from just off of idle.
That’s all thanks to the new 3.0L twin-turbo flat-6 engine that powers all mainstream 911 models. Output ranges from 370-420 horsepower. The new powerplant responds more instantly at low revs and delivers acceleration with a definite shape and sense of rising action, culminating in the explosive forward surge of the 420-horsepower 911 S engine as redline approaches. Less time is needed for the new turbo mill to get into its game, and it still loves to rev, still has a provocative power curve, and still sounds exotic. However, the presence of turbocharger hardware in the exhaust stream means the signature 911 engine sound now transforms more in volume and less in tonal reediness as the tachometer closes in on redline.
Although each Porsche 911 is a little different, it’s the similarities, not the differences, that are strikingly apparent between each after back-to-back driving on a closed course.
RWD units are more thrilling to gently throttle-steer through a corner, with the 911 S proving a friskier and edgier thing to push than an AWD model with the standard engine. Models blessed with 4-wheel steering feel sharper and more stable at speed. It’s the same image, but with a sharpness filter overlaid.
Ultimately, each 2016 Porsche 911 model is forgiving, offers performance that’s easy to access, responds beautifully to weight transfers, and enables drivers to push hard and fast without exhaustion, nervousness or feeling like they’ve just been in a fight after a few hot laps.
There’s effortlessness to the 911’s performance, however equipped. And with a full array of features and technologies, plus that clever little mode dial for fine-tuning, inexperienced and seasoned drivers alike can expect a beautiful performance picture.