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living up to its
as tHe all new 911 porscHe arrives in DoHa, sinDHu nair takes it on a spin anD coMes Back witH an oDDly faMiliar experience
Porsche – for almost two hours...! “Whenever we start with Porsche, we start with the driver,” he said, “and that’s you. And what do you know about the 911?” Feeling cornered, I asked him to do the honours, and educate me about the two brands in question; the Porsche and its famous 911. The 911 comes with a lot of history as it is the only brand that has lasted so long in the history of auto-making. “It was introduced in 1963 as a 1964 model. The first car was called the 901 because it was the 901st product from the engineering factory of Dr Ing. Porsche brought it out but Peugeot objected as it was their copyright to use the zero in between their numbers. So Porsche changed it to something that comes just after zero, one. And hence was born the legendary 911,” says Dawood with obvious pride. The history and evolution of the 911 Porsche is described quite profusely by a motoring aficionado as having “established itself as an icon of ‘60s cool, before it segued gracefully into being an icon of ‘70s performance, then an icon of sophistication and affluence in the ‘80s, an icon of athleticism and power in the ‘90s and it is now simply an icon of all that’s right with Germany and automobiles.” “Porsche was a small company when it started in 1948. It built its reputation with its first car, Porsche 356 which raced in the 1948 LeMans and won its class victory. From day one, Porsche has been a very good racing car and proof of this has always been on the race tracks. But at that time,
ow is the new 911 Porsche different from the earlier one? More speed? That was one of the random questions that I threw at Ahed Dawood, Brand Manager, Porsche Center Doha before I took it to the Doha roads. And it was that one question that made Dawood take off on his favourite topic – brand
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ahed dawood, brand manager, porsche center doha
manufacturers didn’t have the luxury of building race cars or road cars – there was no such differentiation – so 911 was seen as more of a race car. “From 1953 to 1998, which was the last year that the Porsche factory competed in the LeMans race track, Porsche won 16 category victories, a feat no other car manufacturer has ever beaten. It has more than 28,000 class victories,” he explains. “Though Porsche pulled back from racing in 1998, it continuously supported motor sports. It will always develop, promote and participate in motor racing but not directly as we do not have factory-run drivers. The 911 is a car which has always kept true to its history in terms of design. So in that sense, when the new 911 is launched, there will not be many rude surprises. The
body language of all 911s will remain the same, the low-hunched profile, the distinct wideness of the body, and the curve that seems to embrace the roads will always be intact.” “This is where Porsche’s brand values – evolution and tradition – come in. How can you continue to evolve a concept while keeping to its identity? That is one answer Porsche has. Generation after generation, Porsche has managed to evolve while keeping its identity true to its evolution. And evolution in Porsche is through technological and scientific advances. “Some cars, particularly the Italian brands, go after exclusive designs which look amazing but the design does not in any way help the driver in everyday use of the car. The 911 meanwhile, was the only sports
car which you could drive your kids to school in every day and race on weekends and beat other V8 machines without much effort.” It still has a small 3.6 litre six-cylinder engine, while the performance is thanks to the aerodynamics of the design. A case of form follows function, an architectural principle of Frank Lloyd Wright that runs well in all walks of life and now in the automotive sector too, thanks to Ferdinand Porsche. “An opening on the side of a 911 is not for any special effects, it has the function of getting in air for cooling. Every design concept has a practical value to it as well.” Cars and social acceptance While some cars have used the “shock” factor to attract attention, Dawood claims that Porsche has never opted for these techniques as it always comes up with a new design that is appreciated for its refined looks. He takes the example of the Cayenne which was the first SUV from Porsche and was initially subjected to a lot of flak from Porsche lovers for shifting away from its sports-car genre. But it proved to be the best thing Porsche ever did. “Before 2003 for Porsche, the best Qatar could do was sell 30 sports cars (911 and Boxster) a year. After the Cayenne was introduced, in 2008, we sold and delivered 150 sports cars. Cayenne introduced Porsche to a wider range of aficionados who had the wrong notion that Porsche only delivered motor sports cars and hence
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911 carrera 3.4-litre boxer engine with 350 hp (257 kw); rear-wheel drive, seven speed manual transmission, optional seven-speed porsche-doppel -kupplungsgetriebe (pdk); acceleration 0 - 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds, with pdk in 4.6 seconds (4.4 seconds with sport chrono package); top speed 289 km/h, with pdk 287 km/h; fuel consumption (nedc) 9.0 l/100 km, co2 212 g/km; with pdk 8.2 l/100 km co2 194 g/km. coST: Qr332.200
kept away from it. “ So Cayenne helped potential customers understand more about the brand. New 911 features Finally coming back to the question of the additional features in the new 911, Dawood says, “The new 911, compared to the earlier generation, has front headlights with a slight redesign and it has better aerodynamics. The 911 is a sports car with the engine behind -- this is to have ideal weight distribution which aids the car in being stable at high speeds while it also saves on energy losses.” All cars have their engine either in a V formation or in line, while Porsche is the only manufacturer that has cars with pistons that move horizontally. One of the most pronounced points of differentiation is the 100 mm longer wheelbase. The body on the other hand is only 56 millimetres longer overall lengthwise, the overhangs being shortened by 32 mm at the front and 12 mm at the rear. The Carrera’s roof line is around seven mm lower than that of its predecessor and around six mm for the Carrera S. The maximum headroom remains virtually unchanged. For Coupés with a sunroof, which for the first time is of the electric slide/tilt type, headroom has even increased by 15 millimetres. With an overall length of just under 4.5 metres and an unchanged maximum width of approximately 1.8 metres, the “911 Carrera remains the
911 carrera S 3.8-litre boxer engine with 400 hp (/294 kw); rear-wheel drive, seven-speed manual transmission, optional seven-speed porschedoppelkupplungsgetriebe (pdk); acceleration 0 - 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds, with pdk in 4.3 seconds (4.1 seconds with sport chrono package); top speed 304 km/h, with pdk 302 km/h; fuel consumption (nedc) 9.5 l/100 km, co2 224 g/km; with pdk 8.7 l/100 km co2 205 g/km. coST: Qr393.500
most compact sports car in its class”. Courtesy of enhancements within the engine, the new models are up to 16% more economical and up to 15 hp more powerful. The previous engines and transmissions were an outstanding starting point for these efficiency-raising concepts. Porsche’s first venture into downsizing within a model range was the flat-six engine in the Carrera, reducing the piston stroke by four mm with the total displacement falling from 3.6 to 3.4 litres. After the hour-long disclosure on the machine it is a pleasure to test its power. As I run my hand over the beauty, I can’t help but notice that for a layman like me, the new 911 looks just the same; strong, distinct silhouette and much like its predecessors. Driving it is equally familiar, the intoxicating purr of the powerful horizontal engine is the same and the smooth and low grounded drive is not different from my earlier experience. But the added stability due to increased wheel base gives the mind an additional assurance. As I hit the Doha roads and become the envy of many onlookers, we test the speed of the machine and touch 100 km/h in close to 4 seconds. And all this with no effort or strain except for its sexy purr. Four seconds faster than the earlier generation. Again a factor a layman would not care for. As I zip down the Dukhan road, and revel in the powerful thrust of the engine, I again wonder, what is new in the ‘new’ generation 911?
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