C4: How Good?

Carrera 4: How Good?

Reproduced from Autocar & Motor 
6 December 1989

The Carrera 4 is, in some ways, a better car than the Carrera 2. On wet or
slippery roads, the advantages are as clear cut as you might imagine: still
better traction out of bends; more progressive and consistent steering responses
when the road demands quick bursts of power; marginally higher levels of overall
grip and a subliminal impression of enhanced stability and security as alien to
ingrained 911 sensibilities as convenient switchgear.

And that’s on merely wet roads. Drop the temperature below zero and the two
cars become separate propositions. It’s all much as you’d expect. The more
interesting question, however, is what price all-weather ability?

It’s a matter we went some way towards resolving in a previous issue when the
two cars met head-to-head in Germany. On dry roads, the Carrera 4 driver feels a
little more detached from the action than his C2 counter-part. Turn-in is
slightly tardier, initial understeer stronger. In broad terms, the all-drive
Porsche gives the impression of being a touch less agile – a sabre with a
blunted edge.

The differences are easier to understand when you compare the two cars’
weights: 1380kg for the C2, 1460kg for the C4 – a 5.7 per cent increase. Porsche
claims that the C4’s extra weight – and the power dissipation involved with
driving all four wheels – is insignificant up to 60mph. The implication is that
it is significant everywhere else and, save for top speed where the C2 is just
2mph faster at 168mph, this is precisely the case.

In fact, the C2 is a bare tenth quicker to 60mph than the C4 which returns
5.2 secs. Thereafter, the rear-drive Carrera gradually but inexorably pulls away
to reach 100mph in 12.7secs (14.0 secs for C4.) and 130mph in a stunning 23.7
secs (27.5 secs). Remove the advantage afforded by the C4’s superior traction
off the line, however, and the Carrera 2 emerges as a clearly harder sprinter in
the UK-legal band. Its 4.6 secs through the gears 30-70mph time borders on the
sensational, not only trouncing the C4’s 5.l secs but shading the Lotus Esprit
Turbo SE’s 4.7secs. The advantage lies with the Carrera 2 in 4th and 5th gear
flexibility, too. Just compare the figures in the comparison table.  

The Performance Story

Top Speed Acceleration in
Gear
Carrera 2 Carrera 4 Carrera 2 Carrera 4
Mean 158 mph 156 mph Fourth Gear secs secs
Best 160 mph 159 mph 20-30 5.7 6.3
30-50 5.4 5.8

Acceleration from Rest

40-60 5.4 5.9
Carrera 2 Carrera 4 5

0-70

5.5 5.9
mph secs secs 60-80 5.3 5.8
0-30 2.1 1.9 70-90 5.0 5.7
0-40 3.0 2.9 80-100 5.1 5.6
0-50 4.0 4.0 90-110 5.3 5.9
0-60 5.1 5.2 100-120 6.0 7.0

0-70

6.7 7.0 Fifth Gear
0-80 8.3 8.8 20-30 8.2
0-90 10.2 11.0 30-50 7.5 7.9
0-100 12.7 14.0 40-60 7.3 7.9
0-110 15.3 17.4 5

0-70

7.4 8.2
0-120 18.7 21.3 60-80 7.6 8.4
0-130 23.7 27.5 70-90 8.1 8.8
Standing 1/4 mile 13.6 13.9 80-100 8.1 9.1
Standing km: 24.6 25.5 90-110 7.7 9.2
30-70mph thru gears 4.6 5.1 100-120 8.2 9.9
110-130 8.2 9.7
120-140 11.7

 

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