Home / Drives / Porsche Track Experience – Apex Predators

 

The 911 Carrera S Cabriolet I went in next for the Porsche Track Experience proved just as fast, but felt so much more forgiving and comfortable. It allowed for an exciting lap round, yet, after the GT3 RS, felt less extreme and more refined. It wants me to relax while it does the job well, responding to every input and turning it into eye-popping action instantaneously. Yes, it has a turbo engine but it still revs to 7,000 rpm and can create a symphony of sound getting on the revs. The 8PDK gearbox is brilliant and lightning-quick. Even kick-down acceleration is fast, yet, thanks to the feel of this 911, abundantly rewarding for all the senses, with less of the terror of its older Miami Blue sibling.

Porsche Track Experience

The 718 Spyder is much more than the hoot-and-a-half as I’d find out soon enough. This is the ultimate iteration of the Boxster (boxer-roadster) until the rumoured RS model comes out. It packs a GT3-derived 4.0-litre nat-asp boxer-six with 420 friendly horses, 420 Nm and a six-speed manual gearbox—like its hardtop twin, the Cayman GT4. The last manual car I drove had 48 hp. The most powerful one I’d driven thus far had 285 hp, so, no big deal then. Right. Racetrack. Manual. Rear-wheel-drive Porsche two-door. Let’s do this!

Porsche Track Experience

Light clutch, rev-matching and an artistic H-gate notwithstanding, this 718 felt easy to drive. The lack of traffic helped. From first up to second and exit the pit-lane. Up the hill after turn two and get ready to unleash the 1.4-tonne baby missile as I—progressively—step on the gas and hear a symphony of revs that feels so similar yet no less exciting! The Spyder really hits the right spots, then bounces off the limiter as I slot third and get back on the pedal. What a glorious noise to be enveloped in. The clutch is light and easy. The steering is weighted perfectly and the Spyder feels like a tiny track tool—which it is, even with its roof taken off, as it carves through corners, sure-footed, planted, and involving like few other cars on the planet. I can only imagine what the GT4 RS must feel like! The excitement levels, at least for me, are on par with the 911 GT3 RS I’d just driven. Exhilarating and intoxicating to say the very least. Smile wide and plastered as I stopped on the main straight for the driver swap. What a machine!

Need to Know – Porsche 718 Spyder

Price: Rs 1.60 crore (ex-showroom), Rs 1.75 crore (as tested)
Engine: 4.0-litre, boxer-six, petrol DI
Output: 420 hp, 420 Nm
Transmission: Six-speed, manual, rear-wheel drive
Weight: 1,420 kg


Porsche Track Experience

The SUVs, and equally heavy Panamera Turbo S, were up next. And they’re proper sport and utility in equal measure, as unbelievable as it may sound. I hopped into the Panamera Turbo S immediately to break in the weight difference. The Panamera may weighs two tonnes but it has twice the horsepower and almost twice the torque of the first V8 I’d ever driven—the 315-hp, Yamaha-engined Volvo S80. It also has all-wheel drive and a manic 8PDK with, if I remember correctly, a torque-limit of 1,000 Nm. That means it’s wicked quick and can get going in a hurry. This Turbo S can hit naught to 100 km/h in three seconds and a blink and get up to 315 km/h. It rockets forward effortlessly, doing 160 k/h in sixth at a smidgen over 2,000 rpm, and with responsive dynamics, silent cabin and supreme comfort, makes high speed motoring look like pocket change compared to those premium luxo-barges that cost the same but come with more vanity features and are only half-prepared for fun. Of course, the Panamera isn’t cheap by any stretch of the imagination.


Porsche Track Experience

Switch over to the Macan GTS in Python Green and it’s more SUV-ish but very compact after the positively luxurious Panamera. The Macan GTS and its contrast green stitching on taut black leather get my senses twitching. It sure is exciting to be in, and looks—and feels—just as sporty as its two-door cousins. The 2.9-litre V6 in here is an Ingolstadt-RS spec unit making 440 hp and 550 Nm with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic driving all four wheels. It’s heavy, but also nimble and very agile; and not just for a car of its type. Few cars can do what it can and so well. Of course, with its Rs 1.47-crore price tag—excluding the paint, GTS Sport paket and options totaling Rs 37.5 lakh—it’s hard to imagine it being any less.

Need to Know – Porsche Macan GTS

Price: Rs 1.47 crore (ex-showroom), Rs 1.84 crore (as tested)
Engine: 2.9-litre, twin-turbo V6, petrol DI
Output: 440 hp, 550 Nm
Transmission: Seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic, all-wheel drive
Weight: 1,960 kg


Porsche Track Experience

Finally, it was time to get up into the Cayenne Turbo. Although it is based on the VW Group’s MLB (modular longitudinal matrix) platform, like the Macan and Panamera—and the Lamborghini Urus, Bentley Bentayga, Audi RS Q8 and VW Touareg—it is, in effect, a bigger, more versatile and more rugged Porsche sports car. The 4.0-litre, square-dimensioned, twin-turbo V8, too, is shared with the all big names mentioned above and packs a far more than adequate 550 hp and 770 Nm with an eight-speed PDK automatic handling transmission duties to all four wheels. In a straight line, it’s a rocket. In the corners, it’s ballistic and equal parts intimidating and trustworthy, like riding a wild tiger rescued as a child. It will not eat me alive if I treat it well. That latter bit is true for all Porsches, or super sports cars in general, I’d say. Nevertheless, the Cayenne stumps with its breathtaking acceleration, insane cornering ability that belies its proportions, and supple ride and interior. This one costed Rs 1.93 crore but had over Rs 55 lakh of options. Not getting into the details because each Porsche is—and well should be—just as individual as its owner. There are no shortage of options in any case. In fact, I look forward to spending more time on the Porsche Car Configurator to see just how unique (and expensive) things can really get.

Need to Know – Porsche Cayenne Turbo

Price: Rs 1.93 crore (ex-showroom), Rs 2.49 crore (as tested)
Engine: 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8, petrol DI
Output: 550 hp, 770 Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic, all-wheel drive
Weight: 2,145 kg


All in all, the Porsche Track Experience was one action-packed day that left my body exhausted but mind and soul dancing with joy. It was truly an unforgettable experience. Porsche have 100s of slots on offer for this experience at the Buddh International Circuit up north, and at Kari Motor Speedway down south, so stay in touch with the nearby Porsche Centre. For a nominal five-figure sum, one can indulge in the finest Stuttgart has to offer and then some. It provides a varied experience of all sorts of motoring bliss that, if one is an enthusiast—or Porsche fan—should not be missed!

Porsche Track Experience

 

About the author: Jim Gorde

 

Deputy Editor at Car India and Bike India.
Believes that learning never stops, and that diesel plug-in hybrids are the only feasible future.
t: @CarIndia/@BikeIndia
IG: @carindia_mag/@bikeindia

 

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