Porsche 911 Carrera Review

Every time Porsche changes the 911, they take the risk that they'll ruin it (I know, purists will argue they did that when they switched from air to water-cooled engines). What's remarkable is how, every time, they dodge that bullet. It's the greatest high-wire act on earth...with continuous performances for the past 46 years.

If you'd asked me, I'd have told you that the 2008 911 was as good as they'd ever be able to make. I'd have been wrong.

The 2009 immediately announces its superiority. It performs better (even in the "base" Carrera, which I drove for a week recently), the interior is nicer, the electronic aids (Porsche Stability Management, Anti-lock Braking System, Anti-Slip Regulation, Engine Drag Torque Control and Active Brake Differential) all do their jobs with less intrusion on the joy and sport of driving.

And the styling refresher is a resounding success...taking the headlights ever so slightly more vertical evokes memories of the 911s of the 60s, 70s and 80s without being overtly retro.

Looking for excuses not to buy?

How about price? Porsches are insanely expensive, right? Wrong. The 911 Carrera base price is $75,600...there are a lot of far less capable vehicles that cost a lot more.

Gas mileage? Nope. The EPA says 18 city/25 highway.

Well, it can't possibly be environmentally responsible, Mike.

Um...it qualifies for LEV1 (Low Emission Vehicle) status.

Actually, price (and, okay, practicality...the back seats are a cruel joke) is about the only disqualifier that's genuine for most people. But in about five years, this is going to be the best used car purchase you've ever made.