Preview - Porsche Carrera GT

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Nov 28, 2003.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Why everything else amounts to toothbrushes and coffee machines

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    BY DANIEL PUND
    December 2003

    It's not the $440,000 Carrera GT's absurdly fast top speed that awes you—we were aboard yet had no fear as Porsche's test driver clocked 208 mph (with a tailwind) on a Soviet-era military runway in the former East Germany. It's not this Ferrari Enzo fighter's equally absurd accelerative force, either: Porsche modestly claims a 0-to-62-mph time of 3.9 seconds, but it's probably more like 3.5 seconds.

    It's not even the otherworldly strength of the gigantic ceramic brakes that made the greatest impression on us, although they are strong enough at full clamp to lift the passenger fully away from his leather-covered, carbon-Kevlar seat and hard against the locked seatbelt.

    No question—all these feats are stratospherically impressive. But they are just extensions of what you've felt before in a common automobile. These figures don't reveal the character of the Carrera GT any more than one's familiarity with hops, barley, and water explains how they can make you drunk.

    Porsche says it will build 1500 of these supercars over the next three years. The Carrera GT, which began life as a proposal for a Le Mans race car, is nothing if not uncommon. In truth, it's not even a car, really. It's not like those things we put in comparison tests and rate the ergonomics and measure the gas mileage of—all those conveyances that operate in the vast gray center of the performance spectrum. The 604-hp Carrera GT is different. It's all vibrancy and immediacy.

    It was actually turning off the ignition after our brief initial drive that first amazed us. The millisecond the ignition circuit is broken, there is . . . nothing. Normally, when you key the ignition off, the crankshaft makes a few extra lazy rotations as the mass of the moving parts takes a half-beat to submit to friction and come to a complete rest. It's a universal experience we take for granted.

    But in the GT, the crankshaft stops with a new suddenness—immediately, now, before your brain even considers the causal relationship between turning the key and the engine coming to rest. It's as if the crankshaft had seized within a quarter-rotation after the last spark plug fired. There is no mass at all to speak of in the drivetrain. Take, for example, the lightweight ceramic clutch (measuring a mere 6.7 inches in diameter) and the 10 titanium connecting rods in this 68-degree V-10. They weigh, by regular commodity-car standards, essentially nothing. After a romp in the GT, whatever you drive will feel as if it were powered by a huge diesel—the kind we imagine powering ocean liners—with 10-foot-long iron connecting rods.

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    This works, of course, in reverse, too. Unlike the brawny powerplant of, say, a Lamborghini Murciélago or Dodge Viper, which pummels physics into submission, the Porsche's race-bred V-10 seems to skirt physics entirely. It always feels unrestrained. Here again we can thank low rotational mass. The best production-car engines in the world accumulate revs in a satisfyingly smooth sweep. So quick to rev is the 5.7-liter Porsche engine that you scarcely are aware that it's putting forth any effort at all. A stab of the wide, floor-mounted gas pedal and—Brip!—you're at the 8000-rpm power peak. Watch the in-car footage of an F1 car going up through the gears with its brief, staccato blasts through the revs, then slow the footage down by about half, and you get the idea.

    This audiovisual trick will also roughly approximate the sound the GT makes. It's similar in timbre to an F1 motor but brawnier because of its greater displacement. Its note is a register lower because it runs fewer revs, and of course, it won't pierce your eardrums—there's a muffler. There is no time to adjust your mind-set between the docility of idle and the full-on, screaming fury of redline. Holy crap! Not even the standard traction-control system can keep up.

    The downside to this is that you will stall the car from a standstill. Everyone who sat in the driver's seat did. Well, you'll either stall it, or your big dumb right foot will call for far too many revs, spin the rear tires furiously, and a second later get shut down by traction control.
    This display of skill and precision doesn't impress the assembled Porsche personnel as much as you might imagine. Your best bet is to gingerly ease out the clutch pedal and keep your foot off the hair-trigger throttle. As the clutch hooks up, the idle automatically rises to about 1800 rpm, and you inch away—slowly, but with your dignity intact.

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    Once under way, you'll notice, perhaps for the first time in your life if you're of the male persuasion, that you have breasts. You may prefer to think of them as "pectorals at rest." Whatever, they're there, and they're moving violently in sympathy to each road dip and hillock. Meanwhile, nothing else in the car is moving. The Carrera GT is topless (with two removable carbon-fiber roof panels), yet there is no movement, no creak, no nothing going on in the carbon-fiber structure. The suspension—unequal-length control arms all around with race-car-style, pushrod-activated coil-overs mounted to the structure—will yield very little to a lowly road undulation, and because the structure will not bend even to the degree that stiff steel or aluminum cars will, all the movement is transferred to your unrestrained body bits. Unlike that of many super sports cars, or even mere sports cars, though, the Carrera GT's ride is not harsh. It doesn't feel nervous or skittish on imperfect roads. And unlike other fat-tired sports cars (the Porsche wears 265/35ZR-19 Michelins up front and 335/30ZR-20s in back), the GT doesn't suffer from bump steer. Truck troughs and crowned roads are beneath its consideration.

    Curiously, the Carrera's handling character is determined to an unusual degree by the powertrain as well. When designing a thing as spectacularly impractical as the GT, engineers can obsessively focus on achieving a low—nearly subterranean—center of gravity. The GT's crankshaft spins just 3.9 inches above its carbon-fiber floor. This is made possible by the engine's dry-sump oiling system and that small-diameter clutch. The six-speed transmission actually sits lower in the car than the differential. Only a fool, or a select few automotive writers, would explore the handling limits of this thing on public roads. We chose instead to gather what we could about the GT's at-the-limit behavior on a slalom course. Still, the concrete surface we tried this on had about the same coefficient of friction as 80-grit sandpaper, so turn-in was shockingly immediate and the GT constantly suggested rotating around its engine—but it never spun out. There is zero body roll (possibly you may have expected that). The Carrera GT offers no electronic stability-control system because, as Porsche explains, "the driving behavior is very good, and there is, therefore, no need for it." Theoretically, this is true. Unfortunately, at issue is the driving behavior of the pilot. For instance, we'd bet that the French reporter who ran a GT into an unmoving roadside object at considerable speed might have found ESP quite helpful.

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    Neither does the Carrera GT have a robotized clutch-pedal-less shifting system, like that in the Ferrari Enzo. Mounted high on the tall center console is a traditional dogleg shifter. Porsche contends that none of the paddle-shifting systems currently on the market is good enough for its baby. And we agree. Besides, matching your own revs on downshifts and smoothing upshifts with a judicious left foot are ultimately more involving than Ferrari's system. The one advantage of such systems, though, is they will not allow the driver to overrev the motor as one writer did with an ill-advised fifth-to-second downshift, lunching the hyperexpensive motor in one brief, but eternally regrettable, error.

    There are other downsides to driving a GT1 racer on public roads, such as scuffing, as we did, the carbon-fiber bottom on a routine bump. You'll also want to be aware that the hind end of your GT is 75.6 inches wide (a fraction of an inch narrower than a Lincoln Aviator). Place it carefully.

    But these are such plebeian concerns. We have been to the top of the mountain, and we're ruined for such trivialities.

    PORSCHE CARRERA GT

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    Vehicle type: mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door Targa
    Estimated base price: $440,000
    Engine type: DOHC 40-valve V-10, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection

    Displacement: 350 cu in, 5733cc
    Power (SAE net): 604 bhp @ 8000 rpm
    Torque (SAE net): 435 lb-ft @ 5750 rpm


    Transmission: 6-speed manual
    Wheelbase: 107.5 in
    Length/width/height: 181.6/75.6/45.9 in
    Curb weight: 3050 lb

    Manufacturer's performance ratings:
    Zero to 62 mph: 3.9 sec
    Zero to 124 mph: 9.9 sec
    Top speed (drag limited): 205 mph

    Projected fuel economy:
    European urban cycle 8 mpg
    extra-urban cycle 20 mpg
    combined cycle 13 mpg

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  2. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Breasts.
     
  3. Technik

    Technik OT Supporter

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    That the best Daewoo i've ever seen.:bowdown:
     
  4. 330R

    330R New Member

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    TriShield would be the greatest OT member ever if he could accompany each of these threads with a nice 30 minute video with the featured automobile being flogged around a track by Clarkson or Needel

    :bowdown: :bowdown:
     
  5. Evidence.

    Evidence. Robot Rock

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  6. Mugatu

    Mugatu Ask me about market research. OT Supporter

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    ugliest porsche evar!
     
  7. smell my finger

    smell my finger strive nonetheless towards beauty and truth,

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    :rofl:
     
  8. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    :rofl:


    :o
     
  9. TheKrazyRaven

    TheKrazyRaven New Member

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    my step dads boss bought one, cool guy

    said he'd lemme drive it when it gets it in march :eek3:
     
  10. ive already read this
     
  11. Pursuit

    Pursuit Guest

    and trisheild would never own one cause its not made by GM
     
  12. thegeneral

    thegeneral Guest

    :werd:

    Its an amazing car but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOT worth the money at all.
     
  13. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Yes.
     
  14. thegeneral

    thegeneral Guest

    good, then you can kill yourself
     
  15. Jeebus

    Jeebus Well-Known Member

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    KNOCK KNOCK! LOL!
    Why buy a Carrera GT when you can buy 11 Z06s :confused:
     
  16. Canucker

    Canucker Banned

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    Ford GT > anything.
     
  17. Chadder007

    Chadder007 OG Diamond Member

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    :werd: NOT worth that much money. IBamodedElisekicksitsass
     
  18. Otto

    Otto Who the hell do you think I am!?!?!?!

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    from the doors back
     
  19. Raider007

    Raider007 om nom nom nom

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    any hear the engine? it's sick, so sick, my penis doesn't know what to do when it hears the engine, cream itself or get hard...
     
  20. Section8

    Section8 .

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    That car sounds more amazing every time I read something new about it.
     
  21. Ruiner

    Ruiner Evil Inside

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    No. The Ford GT can't even hold the Carrera GT's jock-strap.
     
  22. JConnX

    JConnX Guest

    rip-off
     
  23. Ruiner

    Ruiner Evil Inside

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    I would like to know WHY everyone considers this car to be a rip-off. Compare it to everything else in its class. With that said, what do they think of the Enzo, the Murcielago, or the McLaren F1?
     
  24. Canucker

    Canucker Banned

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    you again. Hugely wrong. as usual.
     
  25. 330R

    330R New Member

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    i dont think its a ripoff, i also dont think its ugly. i also use very little punctutation
     

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