The Bucket List“.

To be honest I never really gave the term much thought until I saw the preview of the movie made popular by Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson.

While I don’t have a list per se, I knew that the one thing I had to do in this lifetime was drive a Porsche in its purest form, on public roads, in its own backyard – with the only limit being my own skill and nerves.

The only place to do this (legally) for a guy from Canada would be Germany, on the famed Autobahn .

June 09

For me this chance came earlier than I could have imagined. Sent to India for business earlier this year, I realized my connecting flight would be through Frankfurt, Germany . Right away I knew this would be my opportunity! After a bit of research on the net and a few phone calls, I found that Avis Germany would rent me a Porsche for 24 hours with no restrictions. The deal was done. What better way to end a long business trip than with a spin on the Autobahn in a brand new Porsche!

Like a kid at Christmas, I counted down the days on my calendar. Saturday June 6th would be the big day. I arrived on June 4th and after being in (sweltering) India for a month and suffering from jet lag, I needed a few days to relax and cool down.While planning this detour I had booked a tour of the new Porsche Museum and factory in Stuttgart. The Factory tour was the highlight for sure, watching Porsche’s famed workers assembling 911’s, Cayman’s and Boxster’s in their meticulous environment.A quick ride back to Frankfurt on the high speed train then off to bed for what was to be a restless sleep.
The big day had finally arrived. I had been watching the weather rather obsessively all week and as luck would have it, rain was forecasted for the weekend. I was bummed out but thought “what the hell – I’ll just make the best of it”. I picked up the car early Saturday and the whole process was surprisingly simple.I showed my license and ID, signed the paperwork and the girl at the desk just handed me the keys. Leading up to the day I had romanticized this part of the experience- the walk around, showing me all the cool features and controls etc. In reality, it was cold and rainy- so a quick walk about the car and off she went.Now it was just me and the 911.
The Car Porsche makes several models but most hardcore enthusiasts will tell you that the only one that really matters is the 911. I have been a Porsche fan as long as I can remember and to be honest I’ve liked the 928, 944 and Boxster models over the years. But the 911 was the one that always pulled at my heart strings.Porsche had just released an updated version of the 911 (known as 997.2 internally) in late 2008 and a phone call to Germany confirmed that Avis had these newer models in their fleet -a pleasant surprise!
The 997.2 added a choice of new engines, new transmission, updated interior, electronics and mild facelift front and back. It would take a keen eye though for most to spot the differences from the outside. New LED lights front and back and slightly revised panels highlight the changes. Beneath the bodywork is a different story. The model I was to be driving was the 911 S, with its brand new 3.8 litre engine with direct fuel injection (a first on the 911 range).The result is 385HP (up 30hp from previous car) and 10% better fuel economy .Talk about progress! Porsche also introduced its first Double Clutch Gearbox known as Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe – or PDK for those of us who can’t speak German. This technology is all the rage now and was first introduced in a production vehicle by the VW/Audi group in 2005.Porsche actually pioneered this technology in the 80’s but it took years to perfect it for their road-going cars.
The interior of the 911 is already famous for its quality, class and durability. One thing owners griped about (and rightly so in a $100,000 car) was the lack of modern features like iPod/USB capability and Bluetooth. Porsche rectified this with the 997.2 and fitted it with all the mod-cons in a handsome new console. The seats are firm but comfortable and give the support a car with these capabilities deserves.My car had the optional navigation system (a must when driving in a foreign land for the first time). After fiddling with it for almost an hour I managed to switch it to English. Believe me, when you can’t read German, this is easier said than done! Finally it was time to get comfortable, fire this thing up and hit the Autobahn.
The Experience

My current ride is a nice but rather ordinary 2006 VW Jetta 2.0T with 200hp so this was to be a whole new experience for me. Oh and did I mention fun? I didn’t know that a grin could be permanently stuck on one’s face for 24 hours! The first thing you notice is the power. Even in the rain the car just pulls like nothing I’d driven before. No wheel spin, no drama.Just a low growl behind your ear from the 911’s famed flat six cylinder engine . Speed builds deceptively and triple digits are just a prod of your right foot away. The growl turns more mechanical and almost metallic as the revs rise near the 7600rpm redline. Nothing really compares to the sound of a flat six engine – it’s something that needs to be experienced not told.

I had wanted the 6 speed manual but this was the only car they had that day and I wasn’t going to complain too much. That being said, the 7 speed (not a typo!) PDK was a pleasant surprise.The shifts are lightning quick and no human could row the gears more efficiently.The car just shifts with no interruption in power. A bonus was that I could actually take some video – a task that would be too risky (and frankly, stupid) in a manual car. But if it were my car and my money I’d still take the six speed manual every time.
After a few hours behind the wheel, I was poised to start pushing the car towards its (read mine) limits. By early afternoon the car gods had smiled and the rain had eased. It was time to get the roof down and go topless in the German countryside. I decided to get off the Autobahn and explore the back roads to really see how this car handled.Boy was my day about to get better. I stumbled upon a small German village and found one of those idyllic roads that you only see in car commercials. Snaking up and down a small mountain, I drove the car as hard and fast as I dared.I was literally the only car on this road. Did I mention the permanent grin on my face?
The ride back to Frankfurt was to be my first test of the high speed capability of the 911. Now fully comfortable with the car I reached 230KM/h several times in the light Autobahn traffic.This was already faster than I had ever travelled in any car but with the damp roads I didn’t want to push my luck. But the tunnels are not wet – oh those tunnels.The Autobahn is blessed with several long tunnels and what a treat they are. Simply lower the windows, shift to third gear and floor the throttle! The sounds this car makes should be illegal…the hair literally stands up on the back of your neck!

After an evening cruise around Frankfurt, top down (It’s really fun pretending you actually own this car!), I set the alarm for 5am to see if I could better my 230km/h from the previous day. The A3 was dry and void of almost any traffic, so this would be easy. With my confidence high I managed to see 253km/h on the digital readout below the speedometer. My heart was thumping but the Porsche was beautifully poised and stable. The car can easily hit almost 300km/h but that was fast enough for me thank you. And with that I set the navigation to take me back to Avis. They say all good things must come to an end – but boy was it hard to hand those keys back to that girl.

.. Royston

Check out some videos of the experience I had !!

Sneak Peek ! Panamera outside Posrche factory Getting sneak drive in Porsche Panamera ! Was at Posrche factory and Museum fo tour and ran into a Panamera. Asked the guy driving and he gave me a quick sneak ride around the lot!
Royston driving a Porsche 911 in German countryside Rented a 911 for a day while on stopover in Frankfurt…If you’re a Porsche fan it’s a must do once in your life! Royston driving a new Porsche 911 through a tunnel near Frankfurt Listening to the swwet sound of the 2009 Carrera S while driving on A3 Autobohn near Frankfurt, Germany
Jai Ho Porsche Royston in his Porsche in Germany
Royston’s Porsche 911 idling in German countryside
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