|Fuel consumption is on the high side (14-19
mpg), although most owners will gladly accept this as the price to pay for the very high
performance, and results in a driving range of just over 250 mi. When fuel stations are
far apart this is a definite nuisance on a GT car that otherwise would be ideal for long,
high-speed, non-stop runs.
On the whole, the engine must be given very high marks, and that includes a flexibility that is better than a torque maximum at 4200 rpm would suggest. We found it possible to accelerate, even in the long-legged 5th gear, from an engine speed just below 2000. This enables the car to be driven, if the fancy takes you, just like an ordinary, smooth sedan-no fuss, no bother, just a nice dual personality.
Naturally, all this high performance not only needs a good engine but also requires very good suspension fitted to a solid, rigid body structure. The 911 meets this requirement. In front, a single wide-based wishbone at the bottom works on a longitudinal torsion bar and a telescopic shock absorber provides complementary location for what is, geometrically, a MacPherson strut arrangement. In the rear, a triangulated trailing link with transverse torsion bar replaces the swing axle used hitherto. To divorce the driveshaft from location duties, the inside universal joint has a shackle instead of a solid center, which enables driveshaft length variations to be absorbed without the penalty of difficult-to-lubricate, easily-binding splines.
|On all swing-axle Porsches, in spite of a very
high degree of taming, the "animal oversteer" could still be stnsed. On the 911,
the beast is out, and the car is neutral in behavior and perfectly controllable throughout
the whole speed range and even on atrocious road surfaces. True, the suspension is on the
firm (not to say harsh) side, but for a high-performance car like this, it appears a small
price to pay for the ability to drive the car with an abandon and enjoyment that many
other top-class cars would not accept from any but the most wary, experienced pilots. In
side winds, the 911 remains stable, a quality difficult to attain on any car with a
low-drag body, and particularly so when the engine is located at the rear. It is, however,
an essential prerequisite for high speed, long distance operation, which is the kind of
driving for which the Porsche 911 is clearly intended.
We tested the car very early in its career and we found some imperfections which undoubtedly will be eliminated as production gets under way and experience is accumulated. With its 6-cyl engine and with solid, high-quality construction, the 911 will always be a comparatively expensive car. But because the basic qualities are far above average, it undoubtedly rates in the top class among modern GT cars.