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Thomas Mallett2012-05-02 17:13:13

Handling Or Looks?

Handling or looks? What weights in more on your buying decision?

You can tell a lot about someone by the car they drive. Why else would people choose to mortgage their future on car payments rather than get on the property ladder? I am not preaching, I am merely putting into perspective how important the car has become as a symbol for the average first world family.

On this basis I can expand upon the premise of this blog. What does your car say about you? Indeed, what would you want your car to say about you?

I am going to narrow the choice down to two broad categories. The first is the desire to look good, this often involves the ability to put the roof down and large wheels are invariably a key ingredient. On the other hand the dynamics of a car might be the most important factor. While the two are not mutually exclusive cars often end up by being biased towards one or the other.

First I shall deal with the issue of style. Certain cars are more suited to cruising boulevards than thrashing round the Nürburgring. It is important in such circumstances to specify the vehicle in such a way that it draws maximum attention to the owner. We have all seen them, they have 20” alloy wheels, a bright exterior and an equally bright interior trim. With the roof down they adorn Sunset Boulevard in their hundreds.

In fact, it gets worse, these cruisers have options that can make the standard car worse to drive meaning there is a clear trade-off between looks and handling.

I shall use the Porsche 911911Porsche 911Germany, 1963 > present6 series
327 versions
1068 photos
10 videos
as an example. In its most focused form the 911 is a scalpel-like driver’s tool. The GT3911 GT3Porsche 911 GT3Germany, 2009 > present5 photos
1 video
is honed to near-perfection with a slick manual gearbox and a chassis that is precise and feelsome, you don’t even need to buy the GT3 to experience the 911 in all its glory as a driver’s car, the standard Carrera911 CarreraPorsche 911 CarreraGermany, 2008 > present3 photos
is also great in its own right, more supple over a bumpy country road than the GT3, and poignantly it drives best on the standard 18” wheels. Colin Chapman would attest that unsprung mass is key.

911 GT3Porsche 911 GT3
232 cu in
435 hp @ 7600 rpm
194 mph
vsPorsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet Tiptronic
220 cu in
480 hp @ 6000 rpm
193 mph
911 Turbo Cabriolet Tiptronic

Now, I am going to ask you to rewind a generation. Quite frankly the 991 PDK Cab is too good to provide the comparison that I am looking for here. However, we do not have to go back that far to demonstrate the point adequately. The 997 Gen.1 from 2007 will do nicely. Specified as a cabriolet, with large wheels and the inadequate Tiptronic transmission the 911 becomes a style piece.

I repeat, there is nothing wrong with either of these, but I wonder what everyone else would pick? Obviously if you are reading this you are likely to enjoy driving and will probably tend towards the hard top and the manual gearbox, on the other hand I get the impression that most people would plump for the other option. What do you guys think?


I really would enjoy going fast, around the corners and in the straights, but I would also like to be comfortable doing it. I don't like convertibles, but I also wouldn't like to live with a bare bone...
02.05.2012 @ 15:45
05.05.2012 @ 04:30
06.05.2012 @ 08:29


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