A plea to Porsche

Published: 06 October 2010

When the Porsche 911 Speedster was unveiled a couple of weeks ago, CAR Online user Nedaznir calculated that there had now been 22 variations of the iconic, arse-engined sports car in 997 guise. They are:

911 Carrera
911 Carrera S
911 Carrera Cabriolet
911 Carrera S Cabriolet
911 Carrera 4
911 Carrera 4S
911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet
911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet
911 Carrera GTS
911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet
911 Targa 4
911 Targa 4S
911 Turbo
911 Turbo S
911 Turbo Cabriolet
911 Turbo S Cabriolet
911 GT3
911 GT3 RS
911 GT2
911 GT2 RS
911 Sport Classic
911 Speedster

Of course, not all of these variants have been offered all at once – production of the non-RS GT2 was limited to the pre-facelift 997, and the Sport Classic was a limited edition, so there are a mere 20 different types of 911 currently on sale.

Still, 20 different variations on the same theme – no wonder the automotive press and public tends to moan and groan when this month’s new 911 appears. The current facelifted 997 was unveiled on 6 June 2008. Four variations were revealed that day, and from then until the Speedster appeared on 21 September 2010 there were 16 other models revealed (911 Classic included) in a little over 27 months. Or a new 911 every 49 days!

And I don’t even think the line-up is complete. The Targa, for instance, is only available with four-wheel drive, but what if I want a big glass roof, a hatchback boot and rear-drive? And what about a turbocharged engine with rear-wheel drive and a convertible roof? I’m just not catered for.…

But I drove a 911 Carrera S with a Powerkit upgrade last week, and it was typically brilliant. No, it was not as good as other 911s (the extra oomph meant the engine was too linear and didn’t deliver its power in enough of a crescendo) but it’s so small and easy to place, the visibility is brilliant, the steering utterly wonderful, and every control is perfectly weighted.

Of course, all of this will be true of the new 911 due next year, and we can already accept that it won’t look that different to the current car, and it’ll still be great to drive (see the full scoop in the current October 2010 issue of CAR Magazine). But please Porsche, just leave a little bit more time between the launch of each new variant – we don't want a brilliant car to feel (any more) ubiquitous.

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By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy