The Porsche 911 Carrera 4 has been described as the Swiss Army knife of sports cars. Hmmmm. As far as I know, no homicidal maniac has ever practiced his wet work using one of Switzerland s multi-bladed marvels, whereas the new C4 can dissect a twisting road and leave it for dead faster than you can say Benchmade Gravitator. Sure, the C4 is great in the snow, practical for kids and stuff, and cruises highways with mindless ease. But the all-wheel-drive Carrera is sports car as Armani-clad psycho killer: a vehicle that slices and dices the time space continuum before the laws of physics even realize it s there.
Don t trot out your Vettes and lecture me about zero to sixty and quarter miles times. Obviously, there are faster cars. But when it comes to blasting around corners at extralegal velocities like your life depended on it — because it does — the C4 is The Chosen One. This is the sports car that maintains its death grip on the tarmac when all the other pretenders have twirled off into the scenery; that let s you know when you re about to make a mistake; that tells you when you ve just made a mistake; that gives you a chance to rectify your mistake; that shrugs its computerized shoulders and sorts it all out for you — so you can try again. For example
Hydroplaning at 110+ mph, I saw the C4 s electronic Nanny winking at me, felt the back end wagging mischievously and heard my cohort say Aaaaaaannnnnd we re back. Charging up an onramp at insane miles per hour, sensing the C4 s front tires juddering, I de-throttled, re-gained traction and resumed hostilities. Passing a Buick Century on a country road, spotting an unidentified farm object, I jammed on the brakes and threw the wheel hard over. Hakuna mutata uber alles.
Remember: the preceding is a list of what the British call a moment . It doesn t describe the hundreds of corners, straights and slower vehicles that the C4 terminated with extreme prejudice. I have no idea how many times I exited a fast curve in the C4 chiding myself for my own timidity, muttering I could have done that at X plus 30mph , looked down and saw some inexplicably large number on the digital display. No other sports car made inspires so such confidence at such time-bending velocities with such disdainful ease.
Speaking of disdain, purists will once again protest that any car that distributes its power to all four corners can t possibly provide a real driver sufficient involvement . That s like saying a prostitute can t possibly have an orgasm. The Porsche 911 C4 steers, accelerates, stops and changes gears with all the sensual satisfaction of its rear-wheel-drive sibling. The only difference between the two cars is a few fractions of a second and the fact that the C4 won t drift unless thoroughly, mercilessly, unconscionably, provoked.
If driving sideways at warp speed on a public road makes you a true enthusiast, color me faux. When I m driving deep in (not to) the auto zone, I prefer sense and sensibility. In fact, Jane, the Porsche C4 is everything I need in a sports car. Except for one thing: horsepower. While calling the new C4 slow would be like calling Tom Cruise a psychologist, this wide-hipped time machine has all the chassis and braking power it needs to handle four hundred horses. Easy. Roll on the new Porsche Turbo. [by Robert Farago]