Why the Porsche 911 R is the best of 2016

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Porsche is moving the 911 forward with turbocharging and whatnot, but it’s great to see they still understand that much of their clientele still values driving purity. The 911 R is a Porsche purist’s wet dream, the lightest 911 available with the biggest, baddest engine, the 500hp 4.0L.

Base price for the 911R was under $200,000, but prices on the used market immediately shot up to more than four times that. Only 991 911 Rs will be built, but the car represents hope for us driving enthusiasts who crave the experience of a pure 911. We’re all praying that much of what has made the 911 R so desirable will find its way into the new 991.2 GT3, which supposedly will have a manual transmission as well.

You see, while cars have been getting faster in terms of lap times with paddle shift transmissions, they’ve also gotten duller in many regards. Some paddle shift gearboxes are fantastic, and Porsche’s PDK is one of the best, but it still can’t offer the depth of experience that a manual gearshift does. In the end of the day that shifter paddle is just a glorified button that tells a computer to shift a gear. You’re not actually doing it, and that does make driving less engaging of an experience. Faster be damned, fun is what matters most, especially in a road car.

The 911 R embodies the driver’s mindset in the modern era. It shows that a car can be modern, and still be extremely engaging. 911s aren’t transportations appliances, they’re sports cars, and it’s good to see that Porsche may be remembering that for the long run.

There were many other phenomenal cars that dropped this year, but for me, the 911 R hits at a deep ideological level.

-Nick

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