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Video: World’s oldest Porsche could sell for £15 million

World's oldest Porsche

The Type 64 is the oldest surviving and, according to RM Sotheby’s, the ‘most historically significant’ Porsche in the world. Which means you’ll have to dig deep when it goes under the hammer in Monterey.

Ferdinand Porsche designed the Type 64 for the 1,500km Berlin to Rome race in September 1939. It was based on the KdF-Wagen – later known as the Beetle – and would be used to promote Germany’s new Autobahn system.

Three cars were commissioned, but just one Type 64 was completed before war was declared and the race was cancelled. The government turned its attention to the production of military vehicles, with the car becoming the property of the German labour front.

Genesis, chapter one

Porsche Type 64 chassis three

Undeterred, Ferdinand’s son Ferry built two more examples, one of which didn’t survive the war. Type 64 number three – the car headed to the Monterey sale in August – was completed in June 1940 using the chassis of the first car, which had been damaged following an accident with the MD of Volkswagen.

For a while, the Type 64 was used as a personal car by Ferdinand and Ferry, and was kept alongside the second Type 64 at the family estate in Zell-am-See. Ferry applied the company name to the bonnet and had the car registered in Austria.

In 1947, a young Pinin Farina was commissioned to restore the Type 64 ahead of its appearance alongside the Type 356 roadster on the roads around Innsbruck. 

Porsche Type 64 engine

The link to the 356 – and therefore the entire history of Porsche – is that the same group of engineers worked on both cars. This is the genesis of Porsche: the birth of an automotive icon.

Austrian privateer Otto Mathé purchased the car in 1949 and subsequently enjoyed a successful racing career throughout the 1950s. He must have loved it, because he kept hold of the Type 64 until his death in 1995.

Its next owner was Porsche historian and specialist Dr Thomas Gruber, who took the car to various racing events, including Goodwood.

Video: Porsche Type 64

‘Sit in the seat of Porsche’

Porsche Type 64 seat

Marcus Görig, car specialist at RM Sotheby’s, said: “Without the Type 64, there would be no Porsche 356, no 550, no 911.

“This is Porsche’s origin story, the car that birthed the company’s legend, and it offers collectors what is likely an unrepeatable opportunity to sit in the seat of Ferdinand and Ferry Porsche.

“With this car, the new owner will not only be invited to the first row of every Porsche event worldwide—they will be the first row!”

Porsche Type 64 auction

The 1939 Porsche Type 64 is the headline act at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale in August. It comes with spare parts, period images, historic documentation and the bragging rights associated with owning the most important Porsche in the world.

As for the price: you can bank on parting with at least $20 million (£15 million) for the honour of owning what Andy Prill, a marque specialist, has labelled “the most historically significant of all Porsche cars”.

Hump day: the story of the Porsche Speedster

Porsche Speedster history

Most iconic cars have a father (or mother) figure. An individual with the spark of an idea and the determination to see it through. In the case of the Porsche Speedster, that man was Max Hoffman.

The Austrian-born and New York-based car importer was responsible for the US introduction of countless European cars, not to mention the production of vehicles tailored to American audiences. One such car was the Porsche Speedster.

The Speedster story begins in 1950 when a Swiss journalist named Max Troesch showed Hoffman images of the first Porsche 356. He immediately ordered a pair, before travelling to the Paris Motor Show to meet Ferdinand Porsche.

Coming to America

Porsche Speedster

The pair shook hands on a deal to export 15 more cars to the US, with Hoffman becoming the factory’s unofficial man in America. In 1952, while dining at a New York restaurant, Hoffman convinced Ferry Porsche that his company needed a crest. Ferry grabbed a napkin and proceeded to draw a logo complete with stag horns and prancing horse from Stuttgart’s coat of arms. A brand identity was born.

Hoffman was a huge fan of the Porsche 356 and he used the car to compete in numerous events around the US, which did a great deal for the company’s image. “On the 1951 Mount Equinox Hillclimb, I drove a Porsche cabriolet over a course with two miles of snow at the end. I was so fast, Briggs Cunningham claimed my time was impossible and forced the organisers to make me drive it again,” Hoffman told Panorama magazine shortly before his death in 1981.

But Hoffman saw a need for a lightweight and inexpensive variant of the 356. Taking his cue from the 356 America Roadster, an exclusive sports car developed for the US market, Hoffman requested an inexpensive, stripped-back Porsche with a price tag of less than $3,000.

Porsche Speedster in America

The result was the Porsche 356 Speedster, and the beginning of a bloodline stretching to the current day. The Speedster combined the sheet steel body of the cabriolet with a raked windscreen, reduced equipment and a rain top. It sold for just $2,995 and was popular in the sunny states, particularly Southern California.

It won many admirers, including Hollywood icon James Dean, and further generations of the 356 Speedster were developed. The model reached its pinnacle with the 356 A 1500 GS Carrera GT Speedster: the first production Porsche to hit a top speed of 200km/h (124mph).

Lean or mean?

Production finished in 1958, and we’d have to wait three decades before the launch of a successor. It arrived in 1988 and was based on the 231hp 911 Carrera, featuring a wide ‘Turbo’ look. The removable windscreen was shortened and a manually operated rain top disappeared below a large plastic ‘bubble’ painted in the vehicle colour.

Porsche 911 Speedster G-Series

A leaner non-Turbo body was also available, but just 161 of these were built out of a total of 2,103 G-series Speedsters.

Both options were available on the 964 Carrera Speedster produced in 1992 and 1993, but while 930 units were ‘lean-bodied’, a mere 15 were built with the wider Turbo body. Highlights include a revamped roof mechanism for easier opening and closing, plus bucket seats from the Carrera RS painted in the vehicle colour.

Next up was one of the rarest Porsche cars ever built: the 993 Speedster. Just two were built: one for Ferdinand Alexander Porsche and the other for the US actor Jerry Seinfeld.

Porsche 911 Speedster

Porsche fans would have to wait a while before the arrival of the next Speedster, but it came in 2010 with the launch of the 997 variant. The traditional lower, more raked windscreen was present and correct, along with the evocative ‘double-bubble’ rear deck. Fittingly, just 356 units were produced.

One vision

All of which brings us back to the present day and the launch of the latest Porsche Speedster. Built to celebrate 70 years of Porsche – and to line the coffers in Stuttgart – it’s the last hurrah for the 991.2 generation 911 and a fitting tribute to the 50s original.

In many ways, it stays true to Hoffman’s vision, but there are a couple of key differences. While the Speedster for California dreamers was available to all, just 1,948 of these tribute acts are available (and they’ve all been snapped up).

Porsche 991 Speedster

Secondly, you can forget the ‘sub-3k’ price tag, because the 2019 Porsche 911 Speedster costs upwards of £211,599.

The alternative is to pick up an older model, although Speedsters don’t come cheap. At last year’s RM Sotheby’s Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction, a 1994 911 Speedster sold for $190,400 (£150,131), while a restoration-ready 356 A 1600 Super Speedster sold for $307,500 (£242,465).

Porsche 914 retro review: unloved sports car at 50

Porsche 914 review

The Porsche Boxster reinvigorated the company’s fortunes in 1996 and has gone on to be an unmitigated success. But, 27 years earlier, an entry-level Porsche with the same mid-engined template went on sale. To celebrate 50 years of the unloved sports car, we take a trip down memory in a 1974 Porsche 914.

The Porsche 914 was launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show in October 1969 and its flatly-styled roadster body, twin luggage compartments and removable targa roof panel were a world away from the curvy 911 coupe.

Born of a Volkswagen/Porsche joint project to serve the needs of both companies, the 914 was built by Karmann and fitted with a range of Volkswagen-derived air-cooled four-cylinder engines and Porsche-engineered six-cylinder units.

While seen by many as a failure, the baby Porsche was in production from 1969-1976 and was considered a sales success, with 118,962 examples of the two-seater made. Rare in the UK, over 80 percent of 914s ended up in America.

What are its rivals?

Retro Road Test: Porsche 914

The 914 was one of the first small sports cars to embrace the mid-engined idea. The little Porsche’s most notable competition was the Fiat X1/9 (pictured above) which shared the German car’s mid-engined layout and flat nose, but added a Triumph TR7-like wedge silhouette.

The Matra 530 pre-dated the Porsche and was another small two-seater which used the same configuration, while other competition included the front-engined, rear-wheel drive Fiat 124 Coupe/Spider as well as the Datsun 240Z and Opel GT. The MGC and Triumph TR6 meanwhile had the six-cylinder 914/6 in their sights.

What engine does it use?

Retro Road Test: Porsche 914

Are you sitting down? If not, take a pew: we could be here a while. During the 914’s short six-year life, there were a bewildering 10 engine options. Early four-cylinder 914/4s borrowed an 80bhp fuel-injected 1679cc flat-four engine from the unloved Volkswagen Type 4/411 saloon, while the ‘proper Porsche’ 914/6 used a carburettor-fed six-cylinder 110bhp unit from the 1969 model year 911T.

Poor sales saw the 914/6 discontinued for the 1973 model year, replaced by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit with a similar output. Two years later the 1.7 was replaced by a 1.8, and various tweaks to the four-cylinder units to comply with tough U.S. emission laws resulted in a range of units with much-reduced power.

What’s it like to drive?

Retro Road Test: Porsche 914

Most 914s weigh around 900kg, so expect adequate rather than blistering performance from a standard car. Early four-pot cars did the 0-60mph dash in around 13 seconds, while the six-cylinder 914/6 knocked three seconds off that. Performance isn’t at the top of the 914’s agenda, though. On a sunny day, with the roof stowed away in the boot, outrageous speed doesn’t matter when you’re bowling down leafy-lined country lanes.

When it was new, the 914 earned itself a reputation for being an arguably better-handling car than the contemporary 911 due to its mid-engined layout. Sit in the snug seat, grab the small steering wheel (all 914s were left-hand drive only) and revel in the little Porsche’s nimble control as you dart from corner to corner on relatively skinny 4.5/5.5-inch-wide 15-inch wheels.

Long footwells thanks to the car’s clever packaging mean short and long bodies shouldn’t have much trouble getting comfortable, and while the five-speed gearbox isn’t the most positive (sorted in 1973 with a side-shifting linkage), it just about does the job. Just inches away from your ears, the flat engine throbs behind you in a similar way to a Volkswagen Beetle’s.

Reliability and running costs

Retro Road Test: Porsche 914

Just like the Volkswagen Polo featured in a previous Retro Road Test, the 914 has long lived in the shadow of more illustrious and famous siblings. Even more less well-known than other entry-level 1970s and 1980s Porsches such as the 924 and 944, the 914’s popularity is increasing.

Forty-five years since its birth and as values rise, it is now being seen as a classic in the making and even a member of the ‘proper Porsche’ club. Lots more replacement panels and parts are now available and there are a healthy number of Porsche specialists who actually know what the car is.

Could I drive it every day?

Porsche 914 at 50

The 914’s small footprint and practical body with its pair of luggage areas can make it a everyday proposition. We know of one enthusiast who does just that and uses a later, more scruffy car (from a fleet of 10!) to bumble around in on a daily basis, keeping his concours condition car stored away.

The intense driving experience – given in part by that engine noise emanating from just behind your seat – steering wheel on the wrong side and sometimes recalcitrant gearbox might be too much for some. Unless the car has been seriously rust-proofed, we’d probably recommend occasional use only.

How much should I pay?

Retro Road Test: Porsche 914

As befits their more popular and desirable status, range-topping 2.0-litre 914s are more expensive than their 1.7 and 1.8-litre siblings. Project four-cylinder cars can start at around £4,000 for a non-runner, rising to £8,500 for one which needs some spucing up. Tidier cars can command tickets of around £12,000, while restored models can fetch £15,000-£25,000.

The six-cylinder 914/6 is a rare thing and you should be prepared to pay upwards of restored four-cylinder car prices – we’ve heard of genuine matching number cars going for anything from £40,000. Always buy on condition, rather than specification.

What should I look out for?

Retro Road Test: Porsche 914

As with all classic cars, rust is one of the major enemies of the 914. Check the labels for corrosion and damage, as well as misaligned doors which can point to more serious accident-related issues. Door handles can be fragile, too.

The battery tray can be a big 914 issue as rust can creep towards the rear suspension mountings and, along with corroded suspension turrets, can cause the car to collapse on its wheels. Check too for correct fit and alignment of the removable glassfibre targa roof panel – a non-sung fit can mean sagging sills.

Body seals can also go, especially on U.S. cars which have spent their lives in a hot climate. Replacement sets cost around £1,000. Similarly, sun-exposed dash tops can crack. Engines usually suffer few major problems, but where fitted, original fuel injection is much more preferable to carburettors.

With the earliest cars now 50 years old, fuel lines will need checking for leaks if they appear to not have been replaced in the past. Four-cylinder cars should have chassis numbers starting with ‘47’ (for Volkswagen Type 47), while genuine six-cylinder models will be known by their Porsche-derived ‘914’-led identifiers.

Should I buy one?

Retro Road Test: Porsche 914

If one of a wide range of 1970s motoring oddballs tickles your fancy or you want a rare piece of Porsche history, then yes. Bold colours, striking looks, a practical and roomy body, and rarity value – when was the last time you saw one? – make the 914 genuinely appealing.

Those largely reliable Volkswagen-engineered and Porsche engines mean parts can be easily sourced, with around 1,700 now available. An eager online network of 914 owners and forums will lend enthusiastic support should you have a problem.

Pub facts

Retro Road Test: Porsche 914

The Porsche 914 was badged ‘VW-Porsche’ in Europe and most other major markets thanks to its shared parentage, but only appeared with a Porsche badge in the U.S., removing all traces of the Volkswagen connection.

Eight Porsche 916 prototypes fitted with the engine from the 1973 911 Carrera RS were built for a suggested limited production run – before Porsche pulled the plug – while an even more powerful pair of near-300bhp eight-cylinder 914/8s were also made: a Blood Orange one for Ferdinand Piech and a silver car for ‘Ferdinand ‘Ferry’ Porsche.

Porsche 917 meets Concorde – Golden jubilee of speed

917 Concorde

The Porsche 917 and Concorde are two titans of speed that share a 50th birthday this year. It’s a significant anniversary and in no small part, a great excuse for a gratuitously artsy photo shoot featuring both.

Porsche 917 chassis 001

Porsche 917 Concorde

We’ll start in our comfort zone, on four wheels. The particular 917 in the photos (thanks for reading this instead of continuously gawping – we wouldn’t blame you) is chassis 001. Yes, the first of the epic Le Mans-winning racers to be built. Some of the pigs were pink, some of them are timeless winners of the greatest race devised by man.

This one was the unloved pig. It just didn’t work, with poor handling that ‘scared’ those that tested it. It led to the development of the 917K ‘Kurzheck’ or short-tail. It featured a docked rear end for better handling and stability at speed.

Porsche Concorde

Being chassis 001, it was the car that introduced the 917 to the world at the 1969 Geneva Motor Show and is, as it was then, complete with a green and white livery and the black ‘917’ emblazoned across it.

The 917, with its sonorous flat-12 engine, became one of the fastest cars ever to race at Le Mans, reaching peak speeds of over 240mph down the Mulsanne straight. This, just a few years after the GT40 ‘just’ cracking 200mph was considered significant. The 917 was and still is, an otherworldly beast.

Concorde

Porsche 917 Concorde

Much like the be-winged machine that lauds over 917 chassis 001 in this photo shoot. Concorde is as much one of the most beautiful pieces of aeronautical engineering ever devised as it is a mind-scrambling collection of numbers.

Especially when you consider that the first British Concorde took to the skies just a day over 50 years ago (on 9 April 1969). Concorde achieved a world record for the shortest time of flight between New York and London, at two hours and 52 minutes. That is comfortably half the time it would take today in a modern Airbus A380 or Boeing 747.

Needless to say, it’s the fastest passenger aircraft ever created, topping out officially at 1,353mph. Today, you’ll be lucky to crack half that if you’re running with the Jet Stream.

Attwood meets Orchard – the ultimate high-speed helmsmen

Porsche 917 Concorde

It’d be fascinating to listen to the pilots of these incredible machines sit down and chat. Luckily, Porsche is quite good at organising such things.

Here are some comments from Richard Attwood and Tim Orchard. Each took their respective steeds to their greatest achievements. The former brought home Porsche its first Le Mans victory in 1970 in a 917k. The latter took the Concorde to that incredible New York record flight time.

Porsche Concorde

“It was fascinating to be shown the 917, which was very much a car of Concorde’s era and I think developed with the same devotion and focus,” said Orchard.

“The Porsche and Concorde are kindred spirits, both created with enormous care by a small team of passionate people – yet capable of performance that was unheard of before they arrived.”

“The 917 and Concorde seem so pure and simple from the outside, but both mask an array of engineering ingenuity that is still extremely impressive by today’s standards,” said Attwood.

“I would like to thank Tim for his time and patience in showing me around – I so enjoyed reminiscing about what it was like in the late 1960s and early 1970s and our belief that we could achieve just about anything if we put our minds to it.”

We hear you, Richard. Some of us will have seen and heard some 917s in action at Goodwood last weekend. It’s been a long time, however, since a Concorde has taken to the skies.

Maybe on their 60th they can share runway space. We can only cross our fingers…

Porsche has reduced CO2 emissions by 75 percent since 2014

Porsche CO2 reduction

Porsche is cleaning up its act, cutting its CO2 pollution as a company. A 75 percent reduction has been achieved per car produced since 2014.

For reference, that’s a reduction from 104,742 tonnes in 2014, to 45,555 tonnes in 2018. That’s a total of 59,187 tonnes, despite an 82 percent increase in production.

While Porsche produced 101,449 cars in 2014, it very nearly doubled that with 184,791 in 2018. In terms of CO2 per vehicle produced, it was over a tonne in 2014. Now, it’s less than a quarter of a tonne.

How has Porsche decreased its CO2 emissions so significantly? Solar energy, as well as other TUV-certified sources, have all contributed. Operation-wide upgrades have also helped reduce consumption. Something as simple as using LED bulbs across the board, as opposed to conventional lighting, makes a big difference.

Porsche ride-sharing

Speaking of little things make a difference, Porsche encourages its employees to ride share with its TwoGo ride-sharing app. There’s also a ‘job ticket’ subsidised public transport offer.

Other impressive stats include a 30 percent drop in energy consumption per vehicle produced, a near-20 percent drop in water consumption and a 33 percent reduction in use of solvents.

Taycan factory cleans the air

Porsche CO2 reduction

The Taycan electric car, for which 20,000 people have already registered their interest, goes into production in autumn of this year. Not only will this process be carbon-neutral from start to finish, but the factory itself cleans the air around it.

This is due to the new surface technology that’s been implemented, which absorbs nitrogen oxide, otherwise known as NOx. The 126 square-metre covering will supposedly do the work of 10 trees in cleaning the air.

The ‘zero impact factory’ dream

Porsche CO2 reduction

Porsche envisions production facilities in the future that have zero impact on the environment.

“Sustainability is the sum of many individual elements,” said Albrecht Reimold, member of the board for production and logistics.

“Our objective is not only to achieve CO2-neutral production of the fully electric Taycan but also, looking to the future, to avoid any ecological footprint.”

Porsche Cayenne Coupe

Porsche Cayenne Coupe revealed: the acceptable alternative to a BMW X6

Porsche Cayenne CoupeThe Porsche Cayenne Coupe is another addition to the burgeoning coupe-SUV sector. It aims to be more focused than a Mercedes-AMG GLE Coupe and less visually offensive than a BMW X6. It is on sale in the UK now, with prices starting from £62,129.

Derived from the third-generation Cayenne five-door, the Cayenne Coupe keeps the same rear doors but grafts on an entirely new rear section. It is more curvaceous and, with the roofline falling away towards the rear, “more dynamic,” said Porsche styling VP Michael Mauer.

Porsche Cayenne Coupe

The looks “position it as the most sporting-looking model in the market segment,” he explained.

Overall, it is 20mm lower, and both the windscreen and A-pillar are shallower than a normal Cayenne five-door. This is a comprehensive, no-expense-spared restyling job.

Porsche Cayenne Coupe

Rear doors are redesigned to blend in with both the roofline and rear wheelarches. The latter have swollen by 18mm, giving the car a much more muscular stance.

There’s a visual trick here, too: the rear number plate has been moved down into the rear bumper, making it seem lower to the ground.

Porsche Cayenne Coupe

The Cayenne Coupe also has not one, but two rear spoilers. A fixed roof spoiler sits above a new adaptive spoiler positioned on the leading edge of the bootlid.

It equips the car with active aerodynamics – or, in Porsche parlance, Porsche Active Aerodynamics: PAA.

Porsche Cayenne Coupe

As on 911 coupes, the spoiler extends at speed, stretching out an ample 135mm at speeds of 56mph and above, reducing rear-end lift without affecting fuel consumption at slower speeds. We assume there’s an override button for inner city posing.

There are two choices of roof as well: a 2.16 square metre panoramic fixed glass roof or optional contoured carbon fibre as pictured here. Yes, you have seen it before: it’s like the one on the 911 GT3 RS.

Porsche Cayenne Coupe

The carbon roof comes as part of a series of three ‘lightweight sports packages’.

These also throw in lightweight 22-inch GT Design alloys, carbon and Alcantara interior styling, plus retro-style seat centres in classic checked fabric.

Porsche Cayenne Coupe

Porsche says the Cayenne Coupe is a four-seater, with chunky sports seats in the front and bucket-style seats in the rear.

Passengers sit 30mm lower in the back, so there’s still ample headroom despite the plunging roof.

Porsche Cayenne Coupe

Behind is a 625-litre boot, which expands to 1,540 litres with the rear seats folded.

Porsche Cayenne Coupe

Engines? Pick from a 340 horsepower 3.0-litre V6 turbo in the base Cayenne Coupe, or a 550hp 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 in the Cayenne Turbo Coupe.

The base car does 0-62mph in 6.0 seconds, or 5.9 seconds if you go for one of the lightweight packages (yes – it really does have an effect). Top speed is 150mph, CO2 emissions are 212-215g/km and fuel economy is 22.2-23.9mpg.

Porsche Cayenne Coupe

The Cayenne Turbo Coupe does 0-62mph in just 3.9 seconds, will blastto 177mph, chews through fuel at a rate of 20.2-20.8mpg, and emits 258-261g/km CO2 (all WLTP figures).

Porsche is taking orders for the new Cayenne Coupe now, with first deliveries expected at the end of May. The V6 is priced at £62,129, with the Cayenne Turbo Coupe marking quite a jump to £104,729.

Naturally, both are well equipped: 20-inch alloys, front and rear Park Assist, reversing camera, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and the Sport Chrono Package are all standard. And you can, of course, spend much, much more once you hit the options list…

Porsche restarts production of 911 GT2 RS after delivery boat sinks

Porsche GT2 RS sink Mexico

As reported on Carscoops, Porsche is due to restart production of the now-defunct 991 GT2 RS. The reason? A boat loaded with cars due for Mexican customers has sunk. As such, Porsche has some cars it needs to replace…

Production of the GT2 RS actually finished in February. Nevertheless, Porsche obligated to deliver cars to customers that have lost theirs to the Mexican depths. Luckily, none were due to find their way to the new Porsche ‘cathedral’ in Palm Springs.

The ship, named Grand America, sank off the coast of France earlier in March 2019 after a fire on one of the containers. It wasn’t just precious 911s that were lost, either. Reportedly, the boat was loaded with as many as 2,000 cars, including Audi A3, A5, Q7, RS4 and RS5 models.

Porsche GT2 RS sink Mexico

Porsche never actually confirmed that its cars were lost on this same ship, but Carscoops was tipped with a letter of apology from the marque to a prospective customer. A rough translation opens as follows: “We are sorry to inform you that, due to a fire, a Grimaldi group ship that was transporting your vehicle sank on March 12, 2019. For that reason, your GT2 RS cannot be delivered”.

The letter goes on to profess that ordinarily, resuming production wouldn’t be on Porsche’s to-do list. However, due to the special nature of the car and the loyalty required by Porsche from a customer in order for them to get their hands on one, they’re firing up production again.

Porsche dealerships get brand-new prototype look

Amazing Porsche ‘cathedral’ opens in Palm Springs, California

Porsche dealerships get brand-new prototype look

Porsche has revealed a new prototype, but this time it isn’t teasing spy photos of the forthcoming Taycan electric car.

Instead, the German manufacturer has held a grand opening for its new dealership in Palm Springs, California. It matters because the design sets the scene for how Porsche may want future dealerships to look.

It also moves beyond simply selling cars, towards the idea of bringing enthusiasts together to pay homage to everything Porsche.

Preaching to the converted

Porsche dealerships get brand-new prototype lookFor some, Porsche ownership is already almost akin to a religion, so it maybe shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that the new Palm Springs dealership almost resembles a cathedral.

The giant windows, the elevated roof, and the dramatic illuminated frontage all aim to pull in the faithful.

California is the leading market in the United States for Porsche purchasing, meaning the choice of Palm Springs was a natural one to test the reaction. Two more dealerships will follow, with Dortmund, Germany and Hangzhou, China further refining the approach seen here.

Welcome to ‘Destination Porsche’

Porsche dealerships get brand-new prototype lookTaking into account the range of cars Porsche now sells, along with the fervent interest in the brand’s back catalogue, Porsche Palm Springs attempts to incorporate everything under one glass roof.

Alongside new and pre-owned cars is an area dedicated to classic models, while the dealership also features a ‘Porscheplatz’ meeting space, aimed at groups of enthusiasts.

A total of 13 media screens are packed into the building, with two of them measuring an impressive 16×9-feet in size. Touchscreens will also form part of the configuration process, with a dedicated ‘Fitting Lounge’ to help buyers choose paint and interior options.

Porsche is number one in luxury experience

Porsche dealerships get brand-new prototype lookAll the work put into the new Palm Springs dealership is set to build on Porsche’s latest success.

The company has won first place in the 2019 JD Power Customer Satisfaction Index, improving on the second place it achieved in 2018.

Measuring the experience of customers with vehicles aged between one and three years old, the survey includes elements such as service quality, facilities and vehicle pick-up.

New dealerships will be just one of the strategies Porsche employs to connect with customers. The brand also has plans on more pop-up stores, along with ‘Porsche Studios’ created within urban locations.

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet review: no longer the soft option

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Forget Nordschleife lap-times or willy-waving top speeds. Sports cars are all about sensation: how they look, the noises they make and – above all – how they feel to drive. And nothing heightens those sensations like removing the roof.

Try telling that to Porsche purists, though. They have traditionally seen the 911 Cabriolet as a soft option: a car for boulevards, not B-roads. Granted, the drop-top 911 can’t boast a motorsport pedigree, or indeed a back-catalogue of RS- and GT-badged greatness. But its credentials as a driver’s car have never been in doubt.

So, let’s put snobbery to one side and judge the new Cabriolet simply as a sports car. Here’s hoping it’s, well, sensational.

It starts from six figures

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

First, the bad news: you can’t buy a 911 Cabriolet for less than six figures. At least not yet. The two-wheel-drive Carrera S starts at £102,455, with the 4WD Carrera 4S from £108,063. That’s around £10,000 more than the coupe.

Only 450hp ‘S’ versions are available at launch, although an entry-level Carrera will follow later (and likely dip below £100k). Likewise, you must have the paddleshift PDK auto ’box for now: a seven-speed manual comes in 2020.

As you’d expect, the list of options is also longer than an orangutan’s arm. I’ll come to those later.

It does ‘schnell’ very well

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

The 911 Cabriolet weighs 70kg more than the coupe (1,585kg total), but 450 German Pferdestärke – the same as a 2005 996 Turbo S – means it’s savagely quick. Nigh-on supercar quick.

Zero to 60mph takes 3.7sec in the S – or 3.5sec with the optional Sport Chrono pack, which includes launch control. In both instances, the 4S is 0.1sec swifter. Find an empty Autobahn and you’ll hit 190mph.

This latest 3.0-litre flat-six also serves up a monstrous slab of turbocharged torque: 391lb ft from 2,300rpm. Full power isn’t achieved until 6,500rpm, though, at which point you still have another 1,000 frenzied revolutions per minute left.

Not a case of copy and paste

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Designing a new 911 is, one might assume, the easiest job in motordom. A straightforward case of copy and paste. However, it’s also something of a poisoned chalice. Get it wrong and the faithful will never forgive you.

To the untrained eye, the 992 does look near-as-dammit identical to its predecessor. In fact, just 15 percent of parts are carried over and the bodyshell is all-new: now 70 percent aluminium, versus 31 percent in the 991.

The most obvious difference is the full-width rear light bar. Once the preserve of the Carrera 4, it’s now applied across the entire Porsche range. All 911s now have fulsome, Turbo-style hips, too – there’s no longer a ‘narrow body’ option. They’re needed to accommodate larger alloys, now 20 inches at the front and 21 inches at the rear.

One pleasing nod to the past is the bonnet recess in front of the windscreen. It was inspired by the original A- to G-series 911s, built from 1963 to 1989.

It’s a bit of a looker (even with the roof up)

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Unlike some 911 Cabriolets of yore, this one also looks good with the roof up. Its hood retains the iconic teardrop shape of the coupe, arcing smoothly into the 992’s bulbous backside.

Electrically lowering or raising the roof takes 12 seconds, at speeds up to 32mph. Once retracted, it lies hidden beneath the rear deck. And going al fresco doesn’t impact on luggage space because, well, the boot is in the front.

Rather than being strictly a ‘soft-top’, the Cabriolet roof consists of four magnesium panels covered in cloth. These allow for that sleeker profile, reduce interior noice and make the hood effectively slash-proof.

At last, the cabin doesn’t let the side down

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Ergonomics have never been a 911 forte. The outgoing 991, with its bewildering array of buttons, lagged at least a generation behind the rival Audi R8.

Thankfully, the 992’s cabin is a genuine step-on. Sure, there are a few age-old 911 quirks – such as the five-dial binnacle, with its outer gauges obscured by the steering wheel – but the new 12.3-inch touchscreen media system (shared with the Cayenne and Panemera) is intuitive to use and looks gorgeous. One notable black mark: there’s Apple Carplay connectivity, but no Android Auto.

Quality has taken a leap, as the 911 treads the blurred boundary between cosseting GT and serious sports car. I particularly like the kurled toggle switches on the centre console, which offer swift access to the drive modes and chassis settings.

Lest we forget, the 911 Cabriolet also has rear seats. The backrests are bolt-upright and it feels horribly claustrophobic with the roof up, but they’re still a useful advantage over many competitors.

It’s a 911 turbo that sounds like a 911 Turbo

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Among the many things to rile 911 superfans over the years (“You changed WHAT?”), the switch from naturally-aspirated to turbocharged Carreras was a notable line in the sand. Throttle response will never be as electric, they fretted, and the engine won’t sound the same.

Fire up the 992, though, and the rumble from behind your back is unmistakeably a flat-six. The difference here – particularly when you select Sport mode – is that Porsche is no longer being coy about forced induction. The new 911 whooshes and whoops, its wastegate chattering like a WRC car. It sounds overtly and gloriously turbocharged.

At higher revs, that noise swells to a full-bodied roar, the tailpipes snarling and spitting in unbridled fury. And it’s all amplified by having the roof down.

It’s good at playing Gran Turismo

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

My drive starts on the outskirts of Athens, on roads peppered with potholes and forlorn 1980s hatchbacks. Time to ease myself in gently and test the 911’s grand touring credentials.

Its driving position is infinitely adjustable and very comfortable. The view ahead is framed by those voluptuous front wings and the curvaceous flanks fill the door mirrors. I select Normal mode and leave the gearbox, now with eight speeds, in automatic mode. So far, so good.

On the move, the 911 feels supple without being floaty or imprecise. The PDK shifts seamlessly and the engine remains muted. If you’ve just eased yourself out of a Mercedes-Benz SL or BMW 8 Series, you’ll feel right at home.

With the roof down, the cabin stays impressively calm, particularly if you deploy the pop-up wind deflector. You can chat to passengers at motorway speeds without straining your voice.

But scratch the surface and it’s still a 911

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Still, I didn’t come to Greece to pose topless (ahem). So I head inland for the mountains beyond Athens, and the sort of roads that resemble a hand-drawn scribble on the nav screen.

My Carrera S has Sport Chrono, so there’s a manettino-style dial on the wheel for engaging Sport and Sport Plus modes. I start off in the former and switch to manual mode, sensing the 911 stiffen and tense its fibres for action. The whole car suddenly feels emancipated.

On steeply climbing switchbacks, the combination of an engine beyond the back axle and steamroller 305-section rear rubber means incredible traction. The 911 hunkers down, then slingshots out of bends like a scalded cheetah. It makes you question the need for the four-wheel-drive 4S.

All that grip is complemented by an almighty wallop of torque, catapulting the car between bends with sustained, elastic speed. Those on-paper numbers don’t deceive: the 911 is awesomely and addictively rapid.

A car with Sports Purpose

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Nonetheless, a 911 isn’t defined by its point-to-point pace. How it goes around corners is what matters most.

You can breathe easy. The 911’s electric steering (another former bugbear of the fanboys) has evolved to the point where it feels as alert and engaging as a hydraulic system – while adeptly filtering out unnecessary white noise.

Equally, the 992 is a car you steer with the throttle, trimming its line with minute flexes of your right ankle. You feel the car pivot, sensing the available grip through the seat of your pants. It’s approachable and benign, yet aggressive and all-consuming. Having blasted to the summit, I turn around and do it again.

Our car had the optional PDCC chassis control, which all but elimates roll by actively stiffening the suspension. Even with it disengaged, however, body control feels iron-fisted. Any concerns about the 911 Cabriolet being a soft option have evaporated.

Half-way through my second ‘lap’ of the mountain, it starts to rain and the acoustic sensors in the front wheelarches suggest I switch to Wet mode. This ramps up the stability control and calms the car’s responses. I cruise back to Athens with wipers on and the roof firmly in place.

The joy of specs

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Like any upmarket German car, you can ‘personalise’ your 911 to the point of financial meltdown. The good news, as ever, is that most of it is window dressing. The basic package – including LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive suspension and navigation – is all you really need.

Since I’m spending made-up money, I’d go for Sport Chrono (£1,646) and the gorgeous RS Spyder Design wheels seen here (£1,650). I’d also be tempted by the Sport Design Pack (£2,853), which improves the rear-end styling by relocating the number plate higher up. Oh, and perhaps by one of the eye-poppingly bright paint colours, such as Lizard Green (pictured).

My test car was fitted with rear-wheel steering (£1,592), boosting agilty at low speeds and stability as you go faster. However, without trying a 911 not thus-equipped, I can’t fully comment on its effectiveness.

Porsche 911 Cabriolet verdict: five stars

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

The 911 Cabriolet is indeed a feast for the senses. Its brutally quick and deliciously tactile to drive. Against the odds, it’s aurally awesome too.

What impresses most is the 992’s sheer breadth of ability. How it can switch from calm to combative without pausing for breath. And how it’s still relatively practical for a sports car. As a daily driver, it would surely tick most boxes.

If I’m honest, I’d still err towards the coupe. But that’s more due to irrational prejudice than any discernable shortfall on the Cabriolet’s part. Perhaps I’ll just save up and wait a couple of years for the Targa.

Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet: specification

Price: £102,455

Engine: Flat-six cylinder twin-turbo 2,981cc petrol

Drivetrain: Rear-engine, rear-wheel drive

Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch automatic

Wheels: 20 inches front, 21 inches rear

Power: 450hp@6,500 rpm

Torque: 391lb ft@2,300rpm

0-60mph: 3.7sec (3.5sec with Sport Chrono)

Top speed: 190mph

Fuel economy: 31mpg

CO2 emissions: 208g/km

Length/width/height: 4,519/1,852/1,299mm

Kerb weight: 1,585kg

Porsche 911 Cabriolet review: in pictures

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15 percent of the new Porsche 911 isn’t new

Porsche 911 isn't new

As much as 15 percent of the new 992 Porsche 911 is carried over from the outgoing 991-generation car that first debuted in 2011.

Spoiler alert, you might be thinking (sarcastically). Indeed, the 992 feels like a facelift and then some, rather than a completely all-new car.

That’s not such a bad thing, is it? The 991 evolved into an excellent car in the end, after a rather shaky start. Indeed, the 997 of 2004 was something of a refinement of the all-new generation of 911 that came in with the 996 in 1997.

Porsche 911 isn't new

“The entire car is itself an innovation, with plenty of details which true Porsche enthusiasts will appreciate”, Member of the executive board for procurement, Uwe-Karsten Städter reassures us.

“The car follows firmly in the tradition of our previous rear-engine sports cars, though the familiar contours of the shell belie the cutting-edge technology underneath: more than 85 percent of all parts are new.”

So what does the 992 actually borrow from the 991? Well, though similar looks may deceive, almost nothing carries over body wise. Even the door handles are new flush items. The track is wider, the body is all aluminium and the cabin has been completely overhauled.

Porsche 911 isn't new

Underneath is where we start to see familiarity. The engines, in particular, are a development of the turbocharged units seen in the outgoing second-generation 991. You can expect some smaller, more insignificant, marque-wide components to be carryovers, too. Nothing to write home about, if you will.

Indeed, none of this takes away from the fact that the 992 got rave reactions from the outset. Something the then all-new 991 sorely missed when it introduced direct fuel injection, a controversial seven-speed manual transmission and electric steering back in 2011.