Jalopnik Reviews: 2006 Porsche Carrera 4, Part 2

Exterior Design: *****
The 911 s highly-evolved form is a bit like democracy: you love it to the very core of your being, but you re not in love with it. The new gen 911 s Coke-bottle-meets-suppository shape is slightly more emotive, but it s still a sports car in an Armani suit: elegant without drawing attention to itself. In fact, let s face it, the damn thing needs spizzarkle. The beefier, wide-hipped C4 s adds a welcome bit of blingage, though not enough to worry the in-your-face aerodynamicists at Gemballa.

Acceleration: ****
Plenty of that, and smooth enough to make you wonder why the ABS kicked in when it s the rev limiter doing its thing. The fifth star is withheld because the C4 could easily handle four, maybe five hundred brake horsepower — which would elevate the car from stupidly quick to jet fighter fast. Although the forthcoming Turbo will do just that, we d like to see this car get a bit closer to the uber-Porker s prodigious power.

Braking: *****
Batten down the hatches boys. When you press the C4 s middle pedal anything that isn t welded to the car is going flying. Never in the course of automotive history has so much mass de-accelerated with such violence and self-assurance. Ceramic anchors are an expensive [and colorful] option, but the standard fit stoppers are more than strong enough for us to recommend that drivers with glasses should wear a Croakie and cinch that sucker tight.

Ride: *****
The old, relatively heavy C4 was a bit of a noisy, rough-riding thing, especially when fitted with high-performance rubber. Carve another notch in that engineering belt of yours Fritz; the Germans have found a way to add more comfort whilst dialing-in extra body control. The C4 still isn t a magic carpet for corner-aversive poseurs or cornerless Miamians, but why should we care about them, exactly?

Handling: *****
The C4 is handling. The Porker s unflappable chassis and the point-and-shoot four-wheel-drive system let this car do things with ease that lesser machines can t do. The C4 s ability to corner at fantastic speeds is simply awesome — in the original sense of standing mute in the face of God, not those socks are awesome. There s so much lateral force involved sports seats are go. We understand the perspective of purists who condemn the C4 as a de-skilling machine, who prefer cars that encourage them to let it all hang out. We ll be sure and wave as we pass.

Gearbox: ****
The six-speed swaps cogs with swift, sensual satisfaction. Although there s absolutely nothing wrong with the C4 s gearbox, it s high time Porsche joined the paddle shift brigade. Now that the Sultans of Stuttgart have bought a piece of VW, the installation of Audi s superb DSG system into the Porsche family of sports cars can t come soon enough.

Audio/Video: ***
The BOSE system kicks butt, but we have serious issues with Porsche s ICE and HVAC interface. When you consider the C4 s capabilities during glove-wearing weather, you ve got to wonder why Porsche opted for Chicklet-sized buttons. A touch screen would have been a better solution.

Toys: *****
The C4 is the ultimate toy.

Trunk: **
Everyday supercar yada, yada, yada. Once again, the C4 s four-wheel-drive gubbins rob the front trunk of half its cubic capacity. Given the G-forces generated, the rear deck s lack of a cargo net makes interior storage a deadly proposition.

Overall rating: *****

[by Robert Farago]

Related:
Jalopnik Reviews: 2006 Porsche Carrera 4, Part 1; Part 3 [internal]