NEARLY 50 years after it joined the Porsche line-up, the latest 911 Carrera 4S is arguably the best.
Porsche always set the benchmark for dynamic performance derived from its on-track success and harnessed the best engineering with an unrelenting dedication to driving satisfaction.
In the Carrera 4S it has embraced cutting edge technology, design and engineering to create a surprisingly light 1,465kg sports coupe and endowed it with hair-raising power and pin-sharp precision.
Unmistakably a Porsche from any angle, the new coupe body uses a mixture of aluminium and steel for lightness with strength, but it has a longer wheelbase and front track for increased stability and comfort and has shorter overhangs to maintain its agility and responsiveness.
Hanging out of the back, or so it would appear but not feel like, is a highly tuned 400bhp 3.8-litre flat-six cylinder engine which packs a huge punch once underway right across its broad rev range.
The creamy seven-speed automatic gearbox delivers the power to the wheels in a continuous flow, without hesitation or snatching and the way the traction is applied is incredible over any surface or type of road.
You can confidently tackle any corner and even lifting off three-quarters of the way around does not produce a dramatic change in attitude thanks to the big wheels and tyres at your service.
The old tail-twitching of the early Carreras is gone and the Carrera S simply puts down the power and safely stores your skills. The Porsche's various traction control and assistance aids ensure you have the grip to go and the ability to hold on if things get tight.
Steering is extremely positive once you become use to its slightly vague feeling in the hands while the enormous brakes haul down speed without drama or a lot of driver effort.
The ride is distinctly firm, even hard over some roads, but it is sufficiently comfortable over most main roads and motorways to ensure you cover the miles without being battered to a shaking wreck as in some ultra high performance coupes.
Secondary controls are all close to hand around the column or on the console and the instruments are big and very clear for instant appreciation at speed.
Visibility is sometimes an issue with the Carrera 4S because of the flowing coupe roofline and wide wheelarches but the big front wipers and immensely powerful headlights clear the way in bad conditions.
Noise levels are thoroughly enjoyable. You know there is a big engine underfoot as you put down your foot and there is a rising crescendo as the revs build and the gears play their part hurling your forward.
Cruise along a motorway and the noise really trails behind the car and only the occasional bump-thump from the suspension, wheels and tyres become evident, while wind waffle is low.
Access is good for the two infront and there is hardly room in the back for anything except some items which could not be fitted in the deep 125-litres front boot.
Presumably all you ever take in a 911 Carrera 4S is a clean thong and your credit card to keep down the weight, build up the anticipation and pay for the privilege of driving one of the best cars money can buy even after 50 years.