There is no more practical, useable supercar than a Porsche. The accommodation of a 911 is fantastic. The feel of the materials, the fit and finish, the solid slam of the doors – all ooze class. It’s this very quality that is bringing people back to the brand, after they switched into the first Aston V8s. They want the feel of solid Porsche quality back and only a 911 can provide that.
The Carrera Coupe is seen as the daily driver of the two. It’s so dependable, and this is why people willingly put so many miles on it. Porsches soak up anything you throw at them, and are simple to drive, manoeuvrable, good in traffic – they do it all.
Indeed, it’s perfectly normal for Porsches to cover more than twice the annual mileage of a Ferrari. Disappointingly, the new car warranty offered by Porsche has, until recently, been just two years. Even Ferrari offers four year warranties on new cars. With two year service intervals too, the running costs for the first two years are minimal… but after this, costs rise steeply with the purchase of a warranty and a major service…
There’s not a huge difference in price and perception between Coupes and Convertibles. Later open-top cars are a few thousand more, but the gap is minimal for earlier 2004 models. On Convertibles, hoods need be checked for rips, as repairs are not possible, meaning replacement is the only option. Optional hard tops are useful to have, and transform the 911 for the winter into a tauter coupe.
The 911 is not perfect, though. The PCM navigation system is widely criticized, and rightly so.
It’s much too complicated to use, with MS-DO S style ‘back’ to the root options. Also, Bluetooth was only available from last year’s cars – before then, it was a SIM card into the dash. Really, who carries two SIM cards around with them? A £200 Parrot Bluetooth adaptor stuck into the dash does the job but this just isn’t acceptable. Equally, to connect an iPod is a nightmare. We have tried several aftermarket options, including an optical fibre system that claimed to use the Porsche PCM controls. We had to have it ripped by Porsche, as it caused error messages with the phone illuminated!
This was rectified in 2008, when the fifth generation model was introduced. At last, Bluetooth was available, while the PCM navigation module became a touch-screen. This was much easier to use than the autocratic system of the previous model. Instrumentation was also improved. These 2008 cars also had direct fuel injection, which made them even more fuel efficient. The economy of a Porsche is often a genuine surprise to many Porsche owners. These new engines were yet faster, too – really, any modern 911 offers a very high level of performance indeed.
Most Porsches are Tiptronic autos. Manuals sell fast when we get them in, so there is a market – but most feel the Tiptronic is so good, you don’t need a manual.
The PDK, however, did not have such a good reception when it was launched to the market in 2008. It suffers from the age-old semi-auto antipathy, and there are grumbles over the set-up of the buttons on the steering wheel. Porsche owners are a traditional bunch – if something’s new, it takes them a while to get used to it. However, with the steering wheel mounted tiptronic buttons the manufacturer made an error, and has since provided an option of paddle shifters. Saying that, though, things have settled down. The dual-clutch set-up really is very good indeed.
More debatable are the Audi-style LED running lights that mark out many of these 2008 cars. They’re unnecessary. It’s Porsche me-too-ism; just because Audi has THE M doesn’t mean Porsche has to as well…
For buyers, the difference between a rear-drive Porsche Carrera 2 (later, just called Carrera) and four-wheel-drive Carrera 4 is not important. This is reflected in the prices – in that, there’s little difference between the two. I’m with the market here, and don’t value the two any differently – where I do, it’s only by small amounts.
What is important, though, is whether it’s an S or not! Buyers may not be bothered about the 2 or the 4 – but they do want to know whether it has four exhausts, and the extra power of the 3.8-litre S over the standard 3.6-litre car. This is where confusion comes in.
See, Porsche has not done itself any favours with the auto, by calling it Tiptronic S. Last year, we correctly advertised a Porsche Carrera 2 Tiptronic S – only to have a buyer disappointed that it wasn’t, well, a C2S. What they should have been looking for was a C2S Tiptronic S, not a C2 Tiptronic S. Confused? You’re not the only one! Really, it’s a silly situation that Porsche should put right.
We’re once again back to black and silver when it comes to colors. Don’t, whatever you do, choose red. For the non-S cars, I’ve seen a few dark blue models, which seems to work well; it’s suits the less sporty nature of this model. The S really does work well in dark grey. It’s good to see common sense has prevailed with the silly C16/C98 situation. Official UK cars are C16 models; right-hand drive models not bought from the UK are C98s. Porsche argues that cars bought in, say, Cyprus and imported over here might not necessarily have all the UK -specific features – but the used market disagrees.
Both it, and I, don’t see any difference between the two, and don’t value cars any differently as a consequence. Porsche dealers were bloody-minded about it for a while, sucking in through their teeth when it came to service time, but we’re seeing less of that now. Good thing, too, for they’re all the same car.
The above is extracted from a 68 page luxury car market report that can be found on www.clivesutton.co.uk.