It takes only a few seconds behind the wheel of the latest incarnation of the Porsche 911 Carrera to understand why men have been giving away the house and keeping the 911 in divorce settlements for 40 years. I took the Carrera and its super alter ego, the Carrera S, for a spin in East Rutherford, N.J., where what I call the Giants Stadium Parking Lot 500 brought test drivers to the hallowed asphalt of the Meadowlands. The ovalish racecourse there didn't allow me to sample the car's ability to go from 0 to 60 in 4.6 seconds, and I didn't fare much better on the decidedly anti-autobahn stretch of New Jersey pavement known as Route 18. I notched 100 for a few fleeting moments, but it was a mere tease to what the 911 could do unfettered by traffic or traffic cones.
Sticker price: $69,300 for Carrera, $79,100 for Carrera S version.
Vital stats: The Carrera has a 3.6-liter 325-hp flat-6, the S a 3.8-liter 355-hp flat-6; six-speed manual (optional steering wheel tiptronic); rear-wheel drive; 18-inch wheels; 19/26 mpg.
Just like Atari's Pole Position: The optional $920 Sport Chrono package includes a timer that tracks whether the driver is ahead of, even with, or behind the pace he set at the starting line. A glance at changing colors on the dashboard display lets weekend Formula 1-types know if they're breaking personal speed records. Just think of the gambling opportunities.
Nice touches: A subtle design that updates the classic look; a button that stiffens the shocks; dual tailpipes; and a spoiler that deploys at 75 mph, just when you're getting warmed up.
Drawbacks: A back seat that maybe fits a toddler and an odd placement for the automatic seat finder. I accidentally moved my seat twice while driving.
What you think it says about you: "I accept nothing less as a reward for a lifetime of self-madeness."
What it really says about you: "I lied. My other car isn't a Porsche."
Second opinion: "Porsche gets it right with more power, a wider track, aluminum calipers, and available ceramic composite brake discs," says Trisha Hessinger, host of Car Care & Repair on the DIY Network. "In Porsche's own words, they have 'polished the diamond,' and it is radiant."