We’re not going to sweat the small stuff here, you might be glad to learn.
I have neither the space nor, frankly, the inclination to extemporise at length about the relative merits of switchgear design between the first and second generations of 991-series Porsche 911s. The issue here is whether the new car is a better 911 than the old. Period.
Shouldn’t be a question, should it? Porsche has had four years to chisel the 991 into sufficient shape to survive the next three before replacement. But so, too, have circumstances forced Porsche to adopt turbocharging even for entry-level models. And show me an engineer who’ll tell you it was done for reasons other than to improve on-paper CO2 and fuel consumption numbers and I’ll show you an engineer who has spent too long on courses devoted to how to handle the media.
This pragmatic rather than purist approach worried me from the start. No longer able to paddle its own canoe but obliged instead to swim in the same pool as all the other Volkswagen-owned brands, Porsche seemed in danger of making the 911 not so much a poorer car as a less interesting one. And that’s far worse.
Which is why I spent today up a mountain in two brand-new 911s, conceived either side of the model change, both Carreras with the PDK dual-clutch automatic gearboxes most owners will choose.
I drove there in the red generation two car, marvelling at just how damned easy it was to drive, even when pressing on in dreadful conditions on partly flooded roads. You can tell the engine has been turbocharged because it is so quiet, but its response is that of a turbo engine that seems a mite embarrassed about the appendages it has grown. It blows modest boost, has a double-digit compression ratio and introduces power so gently that it seems faintly apologetic of the fact that it will pull harder at 1700rpm than its sire across the car park will at its 5600rpm torque peak.