The 34-year-old returned to Formula 1 this year after his accident in 2011
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Porsche 911 C4S — long-term review
Out of Space
With our time with the 911 C4S passing rapidly both literally and metaphorically, everyone who’s managed to prise the keys from my hand comes back raving about its spectacular combination of sure-footed predictability and mechanical connectivity through the manual gearbox. It’s sometimes all too easy to lose sight of one of the 911’s trump cards, its practicality.
I’m not suggesting you swap your Discovery for a 911 immediately, but living with the C4S for a few months has made me realise that it’s practicality that helps it to stand out. That engine layout slung out over the back axle, so often lambasted as a design flaw that’s been engineered around, is crucial for freeing up the interior.
For the majority of the time, I’m lucky enough to be alone in the C4S, but when we do need to travel as a family, the kids (12 and 10 years old) happily fit in the back. OK, so it’s fair to say that they would probably object to having to travel the length of the country in there – and if you have a rear-seat passenger who’s six-foot tall you’ll need to shift your driver seat forward a bit to help their legs to fit behind your seat – but, for the average journey, it turns the 911 from a sports car to usable four-up transport.
If you’re not transporting kids, but instead have much stuff to shift, or you struggle to pack light for a weekend away, then the 911 can swallow a surprisingly large amount of stuff. Up front, the C4S has a 125-litre loadspace (reduced from the regular 911’s 145 litres due to the AWD front-end differential placement) which is the perfect size for a weekend’s luggage, even if you pack heavy. When I put two cabin-size carry-on bags in the front boot, they ended up looking very lonely and forlorn. Like I said, this car offers a surprising amount of luggage room.
And if you need even more space, then the rear seats fold down to create a slightly stepped load bay of 260 litres (which is a lot of bags). This means you can cram a huge amount in the back – it’s bigger and more practical than the McLaren 570GT’s 220-litre humpbacked boot area, but, as it requires you to squeeze stuff past the front seats, loading it isn’t as easy as dropping stuff through the GT’s E-Type-style rear glass.
While many will buy the C4S as a car to enjoy primarily on their own, for others the 911 will have to multitask to justify its purchase. Having spent five months enjoying what it delivers dynamically, it’s the wider capabilities that the C4S has revealed during our time with it that make it such a compelling proposition. And they all too often fail to get highlighted. Few cars represent the “one size fits all solution” but the diversity of the C4S skillset continues to impress.
Good stuff: The 911’s practicality is often underappreciated, but the flexibility it offers is one of its strongest points. This, combined with its performance really helps to justify it as the practical performance choice
Bad stuff: Despite the turbocharging, we’re struggling to get better than 22mpg out of the 911. But you buy a sports car for performance not hypermiling…