When it ain’t broke…

911 family

If you glance at these three cars, they are essentially the same (barring colour)*.

I have spent some time thinking about why I like the 996 more than the other two variants. The 997 is ruled out just because of the slavish reversion to oval headlights and the platypus-flat nose section (which you can’t really see in profile).

The 991 has several problems, in my opinion. These are labeled in yellow.

A -this rear end is far too deep compared to the other two. Ok it’s probably aerodynamics but it looks too fat and adds unnecessary visual weight to the back end. This section (together with C) makes the whole rear end of the car seem as if it’s bending upwards.

B -the rear wheel bulge is too high and pushes up into the rear window too much, distorting the flow of the bodywork.

C -is it just me, or is the line of the door here sagging downwards? Why not make it straight?

D -windscreen slope is now less, leading to a lower roof height. This seems to cramp the ‘office’ and flatten the car unnecessarily. I’m not sure I would actually fit in. Also, the new sunroof opens by sliding over the back of the roof? That just can’t be good design.

E -headlamps are just too prominently convex for my taste. They looks like bulging fingernails or something.

F -front overhang is greatly reduced. This is good, but with the shorter front end, the rear now looks bloated. The car seems seriously rear end heavy.

G -silly little sharp indicator looks like it has been shoved into this already crowded area as an afterthought.

I’ve heard the current Head of Design talk about Ferdinand Porsche never changing anything just for change’s sake. He insisted always on some real improvement. The Porsche company currently believes it can’t keep selling the old thing…there must be a new one each year and it must look like ‘The New One’.  I’m having serious doubts about that mindset. My bet is that within a few years, they will be launching a much simplified, somewhat slower, more engaging, rougher, retro-911. No PASM, limited electronic modes, no iPad interface, no reactive aero, bright colours, drive-it-anywhere.

It will be costly and reasonably exclusive, representing a return to the roots, as the rest of the models go more and more electric/hybrid. This 911+ will be infinitely remanufacturable -take it back to the dealer every two years for renewal of even major components such as the engine and/or gearbox and/or interior. These parts will be new or factory refurbished. There may be a whole new longlife leasing scheme, tailored to suit an individual and including a programme of try-before-you-buy options.

Just my personal views, of course. No vehicles, or the egos of angry folk online, were harmed in the making of this post. If you are still in search of amusement in connection with this topic, I suggest watching this which talks a lot about Design DNA. How do they get that guy to speak as if his testicles are caught in a vise? Oh, right.

(*The bottom 2/3 of this image appeared on some forum and I’m not claiming copyright. Nor am I making any money from the reuse, so please don’t bother threatening legal action).

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