Porsche 911 Carrera and 718 Boxster

Porsche 911 Carrera
Turbo lover!

"Nowadays every 911 is a 911 Turbo."

"The German brand that first designed the Beetle made the rear engine work in a way that gave the automotive industry new limits," said Hisham.

Abu Dhabi hosts one of the F1 World Championship races at the YAS Marina Circuit. The circuit is made up of fast straights, 90-degree turns, and flat out turns that push cars to the limit. The limit is when you push something to the extreme to get the most out of it - Porsche has done just that with its new Carrera and the 718 Boxster.

On paper, the conception of the Carrera was unsure, because when you put the engine in the rear end of the car it could lead to instability and lack of performance. Yet somehow the German brand (that first designed the Beetle) made it work in a way that gave the automotive industry new limits.

First with the Carrera: the 3.4 and 3.8 flat-six liter engines are downsized to three liters, and by turbocharging with a variable geometry for the scrolls allows them to give out more power and reduce turbo lag. The torque now comes at 1700-5000 rpm, instead of 6500 rpm in the previous model. You no longer have to work to get the full power of the car. Power is up by 20 horsepower for both the Carrera and Carrera S, and torque is up by 60 Nm for both models. This, in turn, leads to a faster sprint to 100; in the Carrera it's 4.2 seconds with the sports chrono package, and as for the Carrera S, it's 3.9 seconds with the sports chrono package as well.

This evolution led to, in my opinion, the best 911 ever produced. The flat-six now sits lower in the car because of its smaller size, and dynamic engine mounts help to keep the car as balanced as possible - especially when you start pushing. I can assure you, the distinguished sound of the Carrera has not been lost. The car still makes one hell of a noise above 3500 rpm, especially if you go for the optional sport exhaust system. You can even hear the exhaust from a mile away. The PDCC (Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control) has been upgraded and provides the car with improved chassis dynamics that cope with various driving styles and gives the driver more confidence - especially when negotiating fast turns and sudden braking.

Enhanced and active aerodynamics creates more downforce with a reduction of the drag coefficient, thanks to flaps in the front bumper that tilt up and down (depending on the speed of the car), all the while working hand in hand with the PDCC. I immediately felt it, especially when taking the fifth and sixth flat out turns at 130 km/h. The car is stable, responsive and has massive grip - particularly in the braking zones. Here's the thing about the Carrera: you can always turn off the PSM and just throw it around from corner to corner, purely for the fun of it. Balance is the key to achieving high levels of performance; yet it's essential for every driver to still enjoy his car. At first, the rear-wheel steer on a the Carrera S was a bit surprising (and a first), but when I drove it in the slalom exercise, it immediately made sense: it reminded me of our beautiful Lebanese twisty mountain roads. The sport, sport +, normal and individual driving modes are located on the 918's newly designed steering wheel, and you can scroll between them. In the middle of it lies a little round button called, Sport Response System. You have to be in 'D' for this system to work: it basically makes the right gear and the perfect throttle balance for 20 seconds, lurching you forward, which helps a lot in over-taking.

In terms of exterior and interior design, very subtle changes were made. You get 3D taillights and middle twin tailpipes if you tick the sports exhaust option. The front end is slimmer and has sharper lines. As for the interior, the PCM is beautifully integrated into the center console. Further options have been introduced to personalize your Porsche.

Porsche 718 Boxster
Cross the threshold into the turbocharged age

"They're not just Boxsters anymore; they're 718 Boxsters to pay homage to the racing cars of the 1950s."

"Improved four cylinders versus six cylinders," said Hisham.

On the 718 Boxster, the alterations were not so subtle. Named after the 718 racing car in the 1950s which had a 1.5 liter four-cylinder engine and developed 145 horsepower; at the time, the car was unbeatable. Yes, the 718 Boxster has a 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine and develops 300 horsepower (350 for the S model). Torque is also increased to 380 Nm at 1950-4500 rpm. The 0 to 100 is dealt with in 4.7 seconds, and 4.2 seconds for the S model. A lower center of gravity is provided by the new engine, which helps to further increase an almost perfect weight distribution. The car is comfortable on your everyday urban drives and fun when you take it out on a circuit. The 718 Boxster has tons of grips and its chassis helps it cope with unbalanced road surfaces.

Back to YAS Marina, where I had the chance to get the most out of the car. I was amazed by its handling, it almost felt like a go-cart, super responsive and sharp; it made it effortless to hit the apexes of each and every turn. Body-roll is now at its minimum, with a more rigid chassis setup. For me, the difference between the 718 Boxster and the 718 Boxster S was minimal in terms of power, yet maximal in terms of stiffness of the suspension. The S model features a more accurate initial steering input in the corners. Of course, it all comes alive when you turn off the PSM and start driving like a hooligan. You can drift, slide and recover with the utmost ease. Now, you can even choose the size of the steering rim, either having it in 360 mm or 375 mm. Personally, I would go for the smaller steering rim, as it works much better with the electrical steering. Much like the Carrera, the driving modes are located on the steering wheel, and the PCM screen is perfectly aligned with the dashboard. You feel a bit of vibration at low speeds in the S, and it's mainly due to the decreased engine size - hardly remarkable, but I felt it. You can now recognize the Carrera and the 718 Boxster from its four-point LED braking lights. Few changes were made to the exterior. The car looks more aggressive than the previous model with the redesigned LED lights - it now features a black strip with Porsche lacquering between the taillights.

Verdict
I very much enjoyed the Porsche experience. The German manufacturer is more potent than ever, and is giving us a very entertaining and driver-oriented sports car. 
 
CARRERA

  1. Engine: 3.0 L flat-6
  2. Torque: 450 Nm @1700-5000
  3. Horsepower: 370 hp @ 6500 rpm
  4. Aspiration: Twin turbocharger
  5. Transmission: 7-speed paddle-operated double clutch gearbox
  6. Drive train: RWD
  7. 0-100 km/h: 4.4 sec
  8. Top speed: 293 km/h
  9. Weight: 1525 kg
  10. Fuel consumption: 7.4 L/100 km

CARRERA S

  1. Engine: 3.0 L flat-6
  2. Torque: 500 Nm @1700-5000 hp
  3. Horsepower: 420 hp @ 6500 rpm
  4. Aspiration: Twin turbochargers
  5. Transmission: 7-speed paddle-operated double clutch gearbox
  6. Drive train: RWD
  7. 0-100 km/h: 3.9 sec
  8. Top speed: 298 km/h
  9. Weight: 1535 kg
  10. Fuel consumption: 7.7 L/100 km

Rivals: Mercedes-AMG GT, Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, Jaguar F-Type V6 S, Aston Martin V8 Vantage, BMW M4
Pros: It still sounds like a Porsche, engine revs to over 7,000 rpm, PCM is beautifully integrated into the dashboard
Cons: The turbo lag exists but is minimal
One word: epic
4 stars
 
718 BOXSTER

  1. Engine: 2.0 L 4 cylinders
  2. Torque: 380 Nm @1950-4500rpm
  3. Horsepower: 300 hp @ 6500rpm
  4. Turbocharged
  5. Transmission: 7-speed paddle-operated PDK
  6. Drive train: RWD
  7. 0-100 km/h: 4.7 sec
  8. Top speed: 275 km/h
  9. Weight: 1440 kg
  10. Fuel consumption: 6.9 L/100 km

718 BOXSTER S

  1. Engine: 2.0 L 4-cylinder
  2. Torque: 420 Nm @ 1900-4500rpm
  3. Horsepower: 350 hp @ 6500rpm
  4. Aspiration: turbocharged
  5. Transmission: 7-speed paddle-operated PDK
  6. Drive train: RWD
  7. 0-100 km/h: 4.7 sec
  8. Top speed: 285 km/h
  9. Weight: 1460 kg
  10. Fuel consumption: 7.3 L/100 km

Rivals: Audi TT, Mercedes-Benz SLC, Jaguar F-Type V6 Cabriolet, Alfa Romeo 4C Cabriolet
Pros: The car is a joy to drive every day, great balance, drifting it is as easy as driving it
Cons: A bit of vibration in the seats at low speeds, but barely noticeable
One word: joyful
3.5 stars

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