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  •   C Gooch reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    For many buyers, asset performance is now more important than driving performance

    Just looking #Porsche-911 / #Porsche

    This year has seen one of the hottest trading runs ever for pre-owned Porsches. This has been fuelled by strong sales of cars under ten years old, combined with a long overdue market correction for the classics that continues to bring values towards the levels of Ferrari and the other Italian exotica. The buoyant market has resulted in me driving a remarkable selection of Porsches over the past six months. I can't complain my job doesn’t have its benefits! The most active and exciting sector has been the classic Porsches – everything from the very first 911s and 912s through 944 Turbos and S2s to the blue chip 993 Turbo. Sadly though, as I flick through my road test impressions on these cars, I'm left with a feeling that for many buyers asset performance is now more important than driving performance.
    The first Porsche that really brought this home was a 964 Turbo 3.6. The seller claimed the car was the best thing since sliced bread and priced it accordingly. The 964 Turbo is the best of the single turbo 911 Turbos, but at 1470kg it is a heavy car. That weight combined with the fierce power delivery adds up to a point-and-squirt machine – some way from the being the all-round performer that is the hallmark of a good 911.

    That accolade would take some justifying on the 996 GT2 also. A few weeks back I was checking boost levels one fresh morning along a straight country road and I didn't spot some overhanging trees ahead, shading the asphalt. This beast doesn't have traction control and it duly served up a tank slapper as the tyres found what was left of the morning dew. I caught it, but the experience underlines why this car is not for the inexperienced.

    964 RS values have gone into orbit and everybody is complaining they should have bought one years ago when they were £25,000. As a driver's car, the 964 RS is a cracker and deserves its value upswing. It’s the driver's benchmark for any late, air-cooled 911, being more edgy than the 993 version – another ingredient I love in a good 911. The great thing is that a standard 964 Carrera can provide some of the same thrills and experience for a fraction of the cost and, if you want to, it’s easily upgraded to RS spec. I drove a 964 C that had been modified as such and it was a peach in terms of delivering pure driving fun for a fraction of RS prices. While the top spec Porsches have always grabbed the headlines, we tend to forget that the entry level 911s have always offered the ability to put a smile on their driver’s faces. That applies to the 993 as much as a 964. Two ’94 Carreras demonstrated the truth of the old adage that there’s always a 911 better than the one you can afford, but that doesn't mean the more affordable cars are any less fun.

    Another stand out was a very enjoyable run in a great 944 S2. I've always been a 944 Turbo fan and these two water pumpers may arguably lay claim to being the best built cars Porsche ever made. What the cars have in spades is fantastic cornering balance and a strong family of engines. Pointedly, somebody commented recently that perhaps 944 drivers are the only classic Porsche drivers who really enjoy driving their cars today (as many classic 911s are hooked up to cash generators and tucked away in cocoons). Is that controversial or what?

    I've logged a long and enjoyable list of Boxsters, Caymans, 996s and 997s this year, but two specials were notable – a Cayman R, which delivered the same character as the old 968 Club Sport and surprisingly, has been somewhat neglected by the modern classic seekers because it still has a way to go on the depreciation curve. The other was a 2012 997 GTS, which using the 968 comparison, could be described as a 968 Sport with all the toys. The Powerkit’s extra 23hp over the DFI-engined 997 Carrera S gives the car more flexibility to snap overtake, but you can’t escape the firm ride.

    But call me biased (as I have one), my overall benchmark for any 911 remains the 1972-’73 2.4 911S. In the past weeks I’ve driven three really brilliant 2.4s, the two Ss included an astonishing original and a French restored ‘made as new’ restoration. The third T was a mature restoration from the 1990s. What marked these cars out as undiluted driving machines was their combination of lightness, peaky power (for the S) and handling edginess that demands your full attention. They are also cars that take time and practice to drive well. Next to the S, the T isn’t intimidating at all and showed that as with the basic 964 and 993s, the Cinderella models really earn their Porsche badge.

    Today, we often launch straight into values when talking about collectible Porsches, but we shouldn't forget that the best driver’s cars aren't necessarily the most expensive.
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  •   Stephen Bayley reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    Come on, that can’t be all you’ve got So far, the Z4’s proved less than the sum of its parts. But we’re going in hot pursuit of the thrills that must lie beneath. By P Taylor / #BMW

    Here’s a second chance to make a first impression. When I first drove the Z4 at its launch in October last year, it was a good car but not an exciting one. It felt more like a saloon that happened to have two seats and a soft-top than a spinetingling sports car. I’ve been wondering if I judged it harshly, especially after enjoying driving its closely related, co-engineered Toyota Supra platform-mate recently. Now the Z4’s got an entire British summer (and a bit of autumn too) to argue its case.

    The Z4 range starts at £37,115 for the 20i model, with a 196bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, or £40,815 for the same engine hopped up to 256bhp in the 30i. This car, however, is the range-topping Z4 M40i, with a musclebound 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six under its stubby bonnet.

    Compared with the rest of the range, the M40i also gets larger 19-inch wheels (with tyres essentially the same as those fitted to the current M3/M4), adaptive dampers (optional on 2.0-litre cars) and an active diff, as also fitted to the Supra. Less dynamic niceties include electrically adjustable seats with leather-meets-alcantara upholstery and extra aluminium trim compared with lowlier models.

    Our car’s also got a fancy paintjob, the optional Frozen Grey II metallic matt paint priced at £1880. In addition to the paint there’s a further £3450 of options: the £900 Visibility Package (adaptive LED headlights and automatic high-beam assist); the £750 Comfort Package (heated steering wheel, wind deflector, keyless entry and start, and a through-load serving hatch from boot to interior); and the £1800 Technology Package (head-up display, Harman Kardon surround-sound speaker system, wireless phone charging, rear-view parking camera and automatic parking assistant).

    So many of the ingredients are there for a truly great sports car – engine set back for a 50:50 weight distribution, short wheelbase for agility, wide track for stability, clever diff and great throttle response by any standards, not just for a turbocharged engine.

    Maybe a bit of extra soak-time will help the Z4’s true character shine. I’m looking forward to getting to know it again over the coming months, and finding out if it can thrill as well as cosset.

    The Z4 has traditionally been more about sun-dappled boulevard cruising, rather than being a car to inspire an early alarm and the long, twisty way to work. Here’s hoping this one’s both.

    Great throttle response by any standards, not just for a turbo engine

    #Frozen-Grey paint will set you back a cool £1880

    Car #2019-BMW-Z4-M40i / #BMW-Z4-M40i-G29 / #2019-BMW-Z4-M40i-G29 / #2019 / #BMW-Z4-G29 / #BMW-Z4 / #BMW-G29

    Month 1
    The story so far
    Soft-top Supra twin with big-chested straight-six, short chassis, clever diff. Equivocal reaction at launch; it has six months to set us straight

    + Great throttle response; refinement; everyday usability
    - Odd proportions; is it exciting enough?
    Price £49,185 (£53,865 as tested)
    Performance 2998cc turbo straight-six, 335bhp,
    0-62mph 4.6sec
    Max speed 155mph (limited)
    Efficiency 33.2mpg (official), 31.3mpg (tested),
    CO2 165g/km
    Energy cost 18.3p per mile
    Miles this month 299
    Total miles 4746
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  • Peter Taylor created a new group

    BMW Z4 G29

    BMW Z4 G29
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