One of the greatest strengths of the
The cloud layer hangs low over the factory gate and does not befit the occasion. Sunnier, more celebratory conditions would be appropriate. After all, this is the first time that the new
Under a low rumble, the car rolls out of the Weissach Development Center heading north. At first everything feels like it always has. Sure, the new
The fingertips will have to wait their turn to report their findings, because our ears are fully perked now, enjoying utmost priority. Is the familiar soundtrack still there? That sound from the six-cylinder boxer that distinguishes it from all other sports-car engines—ranging from a hoarse rasp to a liberated cry when the tachometer needle swings past the 6,000 mark and rips toward 7,000.
Sure, the 911
The naturally aspirated
The 911 marches on effortlessly, zooming out from under the dense network of foliage lining the narrow pass and up to the light on the hilltop. The induction tract hisses like frenzied serpents, but the turbochargers, capable of up to 20,000 rpm, have been kept small to ensure immediate throttle response. “Our aim was to have it not feel like a
No, they haven’t. Instead, they’ve reduced the fuel consumption by as much as a liter according to the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). The new 911 passes the famous monastery of Maulbronn, emitting a throaty rumble more reminiscent of Tibetan monks’ horns. When driven sedately, the car can cruise at low revs like a
The villages on this maiden tour have names straight out of fairy tales: Freudental (“Happy Valley”) and Sternenfels (“Starry Cliff”). Narrow church towers rise above jumbled lanes lined by little houses with half-timbered facades. The roads wind through wooded valleys and over rolling hills. This is 911 territory. This is where the car grew up.
But the tranquillity of the landscape and the villages between Stuttgart and Pforzheim is deceptive. There has always been a swarm of activity in the barns, garages, and cellars of what is today the state of Baden-Württemberg. This is the land of tinkerers and inventors. And the latest generation of Weissach engineers wanted to do things in style. While the new 911 eats up a straight stretch leading to the town of Bad Liebenzell, part of its respiratory passage is closed. Cooling-air flaps integrated into the front airdam automatically close when the car is running in order to reduce drag and save fuel. When maximum engine power is needed or the water temperature rises above a certain threshold, they open again. Imperceptibly to the driver and passengers—unless they are keeping an eye on the fuel consumption, which according to the NEDC norm has dropped to 7.7 liters per 100 kilometers for the
The Sport Chrono Package now contains a rotary switch. In Sport mode it sharpens the senses of the PDK, and in Super Sport mode it tenses the muscles of the stabilizers, tautens the dampers, and opens the flaps of the optional Sport Exhaust system. An additional feature promotes individualization. In the menu for vehicle settings, drivers can combine their individual preferences for the suspension, transmission, and exhaust sound and store them to a preset configuration which they can access with a single button.
The sound continues to be music to the ears. On the short stretch of freeway between Pforzheim and Heimsheim, the six-cylinder engine reminds us of the fantastic brass section of an orchestra—like a naturally aspirated engine at maximum speed. Achleitner’s engineers have installed a second sound symposer in the rear wall. The additional membrane prevents sound dampening characteristics that turbochargers innately have from absorbing too much sound. The trumpeting cry alone makes it a delight to click seamlessly through the seven speeds.
But just between us: there’s even more pleasure to be had in the craftsmanship. At low revs, the twin-turbo engine shines with an abundance of torque. At 3,000 rpm it already feels ready as ever. On the hills before Eberdingen, the driver can use the paddle shifter to click through the gears one after another when the revs aren’t even close to redline. Race-car drivers call this short-shifting, and tend to use this technique of early shift points for slick surfaces or incipient transmission damage. In the new 911, by contrast, it is pure understatement. The greatest pleasure lies in the ability to unleash the vast power reserves at any given time, but also in not having to do so—and in not flaunting this to the world. The limbic system is less impressed by euphoria than by quiet joy. Scientists who study happiness are convinced that the latter is the more durable sense of well-being.
The new and now interactive communication system announces traffic jams in Karlsruhe and Leonberg—in real time—but they are not a concern to us as we travel the country roads between Tiefenbronn and Unterreichenbach. The new PCM takes its map data automatically from the certified server when needed, but drivers can also map out their routes on their computer at home and send them to the car. And should they make an exception and actually loan out their 911, they can follow the car’s location at all times by means of a smartphone.
Past the town walls of Weil der Stadt, the navigation system points north, toward home, once again, and when the sound of the bypass valve hisses cheerfully through the hills, a blasphemous thought suddenly comes to mind: “Who wants a naturally aspirated engine!” And although the new turbo engine is powering the 911 through the countryside with a comparatively moderate maximum boost pressure of 1.1 bar, it clearly was enough to dispel the poor weather. Golden yellow barley sways on the fields, and corn stands shoulder-high to attention. In the Cabriolet, which debuts together with the
By Markus Stier
Photos by Steffen Jahn
Engine: Six-cylinder bi-turbo boxer
Displacement: 2,981 cc
Power: 309 kW (420 hp)
Maximum torque: 500 Nm at 1,700–5,000 rpm
0–100 km/h: 4.3 (4.1*) sec.
Top track speed: 308 (306*) km/h (191/190* mph)
CO2 emissions (combined): 199 (174*) g/km
Fuel consumption City: 12.2 (10.1*) l/100 km, Highway: 6.6 (6.4*) l/100 km, Combined: 8.7 (7.7*) l/100 km
Efficiency class: F (E*)
Engine: Six-cylinder bi-turbo boxer
Displacement: 2,981 cc
Power: 272 kW (370 hp)
Maximum torque: 450 Nm at 1,700–5,000 rpm
0–100 km/h: 4.6 (4.4*) sec.
Top track speed: 295 (293*) km/h (183/182* mph)
CO2 emissions (combined): 190 (169*) g/km
Fuel consumption City: 11.7 (9.9*) l/100 km, Highway: 6.3 (6.0*) l/100 km, Combined: 8.3 (7.4*) l/100 km
Efficiency class: F (D*)
What to do in Weissach
The Black Forest
An inviting road through spectacular natural scenery is the Schwarzwaldhochstraße, which starts around 45 minutes away. Woods, mountains, lakes, and waterfalls are all present in abundance in the Black Forest. http://www.schwarzwaldhochstrasse.de
The monastery of Maulbronn is located around 26 kilometers northwest of Weissach. It is considered the most completely preserved structure of its type north of the Alps. Built by the Cistercians in the middle of the twelfth century, it grew into an entire complex over the centuries. In 1993 it was designated a UNESCO World