Cars

The Porsche Among the 911s

No more contemplative holidays: metallic scraping, whining howls, hard-edged wheel input. Hit the gears, slam on the brakes, rev the engine. We're talking about the Porsche 911 S/T. The antithesis of tranquillity - and some trends in the automotive industry.

  • Text
    David Staretz
  • Photos
    Matthias Mederer · ramp.pictures
  • Driver
    Sabine Köckritz

Please forgive our impatience when it comes to the historical context of this car. You can deduce any Porsche 911 from its heritage. Marketing departments are crazy about it. At the same time, you could also retroactively deduce all 911s from this model, because it is the fitting nucleus of rear-engined sports car philosophy, the essence of the 911, always gladly invoked, and here, apparently, realized in the most consistent way. 


Better still, this is the Porsche for really tough driving, with all due respect and the highest praise. The Porsche as such: 518 near-natural horsepower, rear-wheel drive, manual gearbox, lightweight clutch, rigid, relentlessly loud, rattling, scraping, rushing forward, cutting lanes, always on the move, always on the attack, always reliable when it comes to steering instead of braking. Though the legendary efficiency of the Porsche concept is always an option as well: just slow down when things get too dicey. With stopping power guaranteed by the tried-and-tested ceramic composite brakes (410 mm at the front and 380 mm at the rear).


Porsche 911 S / T

  • Engine
    six-cylinder boxer
  • Displacement
    3,996 cc
  • Power
    518 hp (386 kW) at 8,500 rpm
  • Torque
    465 Nm at 6,300 rpm
  • 0–100 km / h
    3,7 s
  • Vmax
    300 km/h

“The car should really be called Walter Röhrl,” the German rally driver says himself. “This short gear ratio – that’s like having a hundred horsepower more. Though the biggest secret of this sports car is: nothing beats a low weight.” Andreas Preuninger, Porsche’s head of GT road cars, and the man responsible for the S/T, gives us a brief history lesson. He talks about the 911 R prototype from 1963, which was available in a standard sports version. (It was already revving at 8,000 rpm even back then.) He refers to the S as the strongest racing car and the T as the minimalist forefather. There were three versions, but none were allowed to be called S/T, at most S/T package for the purpose of Group 3 homologation. Swift victories at the Monte Carlo Rally, Nürburgring, Safari Rally, Le Mans, Daytona. Porsche engineers developed a backpressure-­optimized exhaust system and modified cylinder heads with the corresponding cylinders. In its final evolutionary stage, the 2.5-liter boxer produced 266 hp.

Now it becomes somewhat clear why we wanted to spare you the history lesson. Andreas Preuninger is wearing bright Adidas Samba sneakers to match the occasion. We’re in Calabria, where Porsche usually likes to run its chassis tests on the roads of a thousand hairpin curves (we counted them).

Heritage today: The 911 GT3 has been updated and trimmed down in line with racing principles. It was given a sharp camshaft, a sports clutch with a single-mass flywheel, carbon in the roof, hood, fenders, stabilizer bar and shear panel. The highly complex CFRP doors were taken over from the GT3 RS, so the shape was already predetermined; for the first time, the narrow body was fitted with chubby fenders, resulting in an attractive combination. The CFRP roof also has a new, longitudinally centered shape. The Porsche people apparently were on an aesthetics kick, and they didn’t want to spoil – pardon the pun – this beautiful line with a spoiler (as is usual from 80 km/h). So the wing stays put until the car reaches 120 km/h, and when it finally does rise to the occasion, it does so with relative discretion. A Gurney flap adds the finishing touches.

518 near-natural horsepower, rear-wheel drive, manual gearbox, lightweight clutch, rigid, scraping, cutting lanes, always on the attack.

Open the lightweight doors and the first thing that catches your eye are the pinstripes. In this respect, we feel suitably dressed here in southern Italy. The bucket seats are even deeper and their side bolsters even harder than we had feared before getting in. As soon as you’re seated, however, everything’s clear. Rev counter (analog) in the middle, speedometer beside it, satellite gauges all around. The familiar green scales and digits are reminiscent of the blissful days of the Beetle, which has a reassuring effect. You need that, because otherwise ( … )

→ Read the full story in ramp #63 "Happy on the Road."

David Staretz

David Staretz

Freelance Author
David Staretz, born 1956 in Horn. Since 1976 editor, then chief editor of Autorevue. Since 2000 freelance author: car tests for various magazines, writes and photographs travel reports and artist portraits. In his gallery, Kontor Staretz, he builds kinetic objects and puts them on display to amuse passers-by. In 2004, the book Lenk mich doch! Geschichten rund ums Auto was published by Deuticke.
ramp #63 Happy on the Road

ramp #63 Happy on the Road

Glücklich auf der Straße? Sowieso. Für ein anständiges Autokulturmagazin ist so ein glückliches Unterwegssein gewissermaßen nur eine bereits konzeptionell hinterlegte Pflichtveranstaltung. Nach und nach – und mit etwas Glück (was sich hier ja fein ins Thema fügt) – entwickeln sich diese Emotionen in der Summe dann vergnüglich zu einer Affektbasis, ...

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