What is it?
Porsche’s golden anniversary version of the 911. And, by the looks of things, it could almost be another retro-special modern throwback sports car, right out of the mould of the Eagle E-type, the Cropredy Bridge Jensen Interceptor S, and David Brown’s new Speedback GT. There’s certainly enough chrome on display here for that kind of comparison.
Then again, there’s no smoke without fire; no retro sports machine without an appetite for one in the first place. So perhaps Porsche’s 50th Anniversary Edition 911 is just a timely bit of business opportunism. Or maybe it’s altruism: a limited-edition Carrera S designed to reward true brand aficionados with enhanced residual value, a more generous equipment level, a more special driving experience and that extra bit of enthusiast cache. Could be a bit of both.
What really matters is that this gussied-up 911 manages - in spite of all that chrome - not to look overly indulgent; that it handles as sweetly as any ‘991’ below the awesome GT3; and that it’s not over-priced.
What's it like?
The 50th Anniversary Edition is ostensibly a 3.8-litre Carrera S with the wider body normally reserved for the Carrera 4S and Turbo. It gets 20in alloys which reference Porsche’s classic ‘Fuchs’ rim, and re-programmed PASM adaptive suspension to put those wider tracks to good use. It also gets a couple of special paint colours, some reasonably tasteful bits of supplementary body chrome and special interior trims, and a better equipment level than a normal Carrera S too.
Metallic paint, dynamic headlights and jazzy ‘SportDesign’ door mirrors are included for no extra cost. Match the standard specification on an equivalent non-anniversary 911 and you’ll pay almost £88k for it – not counting the wide body, wheels, or any of the other one-off additions.
So there’s no extra power or performance here - but the Carrera S felt like it needed neither. Above 4500rpm the car accelerates as hard as you’re ever likely to want, and it delivers its pace so seductively: always smoothly, building to a 7000rpm crescendo as lingering and velvet-sharp as a chilli-laden Bloody Mary.
Getting out of a standard Carrera S and into the 50th Anniversary Edition, you’ll notice the heavier steering, plus a slightly firmer ride when ‘Sport’ and ‘Sport+’ PASM modes are selected. The heavier handwheel’s worth its place because it filters in just a natch more communication from the front end.
The stiffer suspension adds a smidge of lateral grip and near-limit stability for track use, but leaving the dampers in their softer setting is the way to make them work for you on the road. A bit of gentle vertical body movement is to be embraced as part of the 911’s idiosyncratic handling repertoire: it lets you gauge how hard the chassis is working. On a testing road, the stiffer suspension settings create abruptness in their attempt to keep the body tied down.
Should I buy one?
Yes. But getting your order right remains absolutely key. Manual versus PDK is a personal choice, but avoid ‘PDCC’ active anti-roll bars and PASM sport suspension. Do make sure you have Sport Chrono Plus though, with those active engine mounts - and do have a sports exhaust.
Do all that and you’ll buy a beguiling driver’s car in this 911, and one worthy of such a celebrated history. Truth is, there are more perfect-handling sports cars you might spend your £92k on, but few will be more interesting; more absorbing to drive.
The ’50 Years Edition’ isn’t a game-changer – just an old dog up to its familiar old tricks. Happy Birthday, Fido.
Porsche 911 50th Anniversary Edition
Price £92,257; 0-62mph 4.5sec; Top speed 186mph; Economy 29.7mpg; CO2 224g/km; Kerbweight 1410kg; Engine 6 cyls horizontally opposed, 3800cc, normally aspirated, petrol; Power 395bhp at 7400rpm; Torque 325lb ft at 5600rpm; Gearbox 7-spd manual