I have come to the conclusion that Porsche engineers are not trained, they are born. They have never thought about anything in their lives but Porsche. Actually maybe they are grown. Yes, that’s it, Porsche engineers are grown in a lab in Stuttgart.
This bizarre thought crossed my mind while standing on the side of a quiet road after a blast in the 911 Carrera GTS. Although maybe it is not bizarre, because Porsche engineers get it. They just get it.
Over the years we have found the odd flaw, but even the steering on the latest 991 generation that we criticised at its launch has been fixed.
It is always possible to find faults if you look hard enough and often it is easier to find a flaw in a sports or supercar than in a family hatchback or SUV. You expect perfection and as soon as you hear a squeak from the dash the love affair is over. When the engine fails to respond within a split second as you want it to, then you decided that just not enough effort was put into the engineering.
This brings me to the 911 Carrera GTS. The design of the latest 911 is an evolution, something that irks some people who want to see radical change, but not even they can argue that it is still a good-looking machine. But it is not about its looks — it is all about what it can do.
Beneath that rear engine cover sits a 3.0l biturbo flat-six that generates 331kW at 6,500r/min and 550Nm between 2,150 and 5,000r/min. Many will be pleased to know you can mate it to a manual gearbox but in our case we had a PDK transmission.
Being the Carrera version, that power goes to the rear wheels and the company is claiming a 0-100km/h time of 3.7 seconds.
The all-wheel drive Carrera 4 version gets the jump on it by a tenth of a second but the rear-wheel drive model tops out later, at 312km/h.
Those who want to trust the car more than themselves will prefer the control offered by the Carrera 4 but purists who can either control the car or are in control of the bank balance when they lose control will go for the regular Carrera GTS. And they will be surprised because the amount of grip available is superb.
Yes you can turn all the nanny systems off and go mad but even in the various sport modes and with the traction control reduced, the thing just sticks. And goes. Forget sheer driving pleasure — the GTS has been engineered to provide maximum driving pleasure and keep doing it all day, every day.
The driving position is spot on. Seriously, even if you have never driven one, try to find the opportunity to sit behind the wheel and then reach for everything. The gear stick is exactly in the right place.
The steering wheel feels perfectly designed, a fact that becomes even more obvious when you actually throw it into a corner.
It sounds good too. The GTS gets twin pipes mounted in the centre of the rear bumper that emit a great soundtrack, particularly when you push the exhaust loud button in the centre console.
Why anyone would not have that pressed in permanently I don’t know.
At least it has a real purpose unlike the button to raise the rear spoiler. Another useful button is the one to raise the front of the car, vital if you have a kerb to get over to go down your driveway.
The GTS is practical. Not in a put your golf clubs or the dogs in kind of way, although you could probably get your clubs in the back seat, but in a drive to work every day kind of way.
The 911 was the everyday supercar long before other manufacturers jumped on the term, which is probably why you see so many of them on the streets of Sandton.
Now I admit I have been just a little gushy here but I make no apologies for that.
Porsche engineers might not have been grown in a lab, but wherever they come from, they get it, period.