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    C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    I took posession of a C4S X51 about 6 hours ago. GT Silver, Cocoa Interior, a few interior options but nothing over the top. The money was spent on the motor. It took a long wait to get to today. I have not had the chance to really wring it out just yet, and it needs to be broken in a bit, but some first impressions. (My prior car is a 2002 996 C2 so it is not easy for me to compare straight up with a C2 997; that is the frame of reference.)

    Speed - the push at lower rpm's is noticeably more potent. In second gear from 20 mph to about 50 the car just leaps forward. The 2002+ variety of the 996 is basically the same engine as a 997 C2 so this thing clearly has a lot more power on tap, especially from about 2000-3500 rpms, whereas the 3600cc motor just got its urge around the mid 3000s. The pull in higher gears at lower rpm's is also noticeable. The resistance from compression on a downshift seemed lower than on the 996; not so sure if I am imagining that or not.

    Responsiveness - the X51 responds very quickly to inputs. Not that the 3600 cc boxer failed to respond, but the X51 just reacts REALLY QUICK to a bit more throttle or a bit less. I have to think that is from the superior airflow of the intake chambers and headers of this motor.

    The sound - it varies with the sport exhaust that comes with the X51. In sport mode it is LOUD as you work through the gears. I have driven a few Ferraris and it is that kind of loud but a little more gutteral, like a big-bore engine with a very small amount of exhaust restriction. All this is the work of modern science and reasonance chambers and valves; nonetheless they did a great job. Revving it at idle it has a ripping sound as the tach ramps up. Very impressive.


    The ride - It feels taughter than the 996 which is not a surprise given the PASM and lower profile 19 inch wheels. There was not a lot of body roll on the 996 but there is just about nil on this. I have the feeling in a skidpad test this would hold more than 1.0g - there is just no feeling that any slipping can/will occur. Obviously there are limits and I have not had a chance to explore them fully but on feel alone they are outrageously high and the 996's were pretty impressive already.

    Handling - There is this chippy dialogue that seems to go on between some C2 owners directed at the C4. My take - the C2 has a lighter steering resistance and this makes it "feel quicker" but the rolling resistance of rubber is the same on both cars and with more forward weight on a C4 maybe it changes directions slightly qucker. Who knows. What is clear from driving around and "point-and-shooting" it through a variety of turns is that for actual track-type purposes you can do more with the 4 wheel drive set up. I owned a C2 for almost 5 years and know the feel of it very well, how to push the back end out a bit with the powerband, or how to bring out the rear too far if you blast the throttle unscrupulously... Personally, as compared to some other rear-wheel drive cars I have owned (BMW M3 being the best of the bunch) you need to push the modern Carreras soooo hard to use the power oversteer that I think far more is made out of this than is reasonable. That's just my opinion.

    As regards the C4S's handling, it is very quick but the steering does feel a shade heavier. I did not detect any understeer, it seemed very neutral to me. But what is quite cool is powering through a tight turn - I could clearly feel the front end pulling while applying power in a small radius turn. On a C2 making the same move I might go easy on the throttle until I was far enough through the arc that the power would help me to staighten out. I don't get too many chances to work on my throttle-steering at the race track so it is a more opportunistic skill set as such, and pushing the limits does not feel comfortable to me on the streets. I get the distinct feeling of having fewer limitations in place on the C4S; the pull was very evident on some sharp 90 degree turns. And it can actually be a snow car.

    According to the dealer's technician, who seemed fairly knowledgeable, holding the rpm's low in the break-in period is ridiculous as these cars are well broken in at Zuffenhausen before leaving the factory, but to be safe I am not going north of about 4500 for a little while. According to him, if I am lucky enough to pull up next to a 996 GT3, let it rip and watch him cringe in the rearview mirror; it is not even a contest. I'll assume it would be a close show with the 997 GT3 and that running laps around the a track would reveal a distinct advantage to the 8000+ rpm motor. But since 98% of my driving has some utilitarian motive typically, and based on the shove just moving around town this is a great day to day rocketship.


    As a parting thought, on a familiar boulevard that I have driven up and down a thousand times, the urge from 0 to the mid 50s was just about instant; the velocity happens with almost no effort, especially in sport mode. And it sounds damn good with that engine roar 3 feet to the back. This is not a street that one ought to be driving much over 45mph for safety so keeping the right foot under control will be a big challenge. There are reasons I stayed away from a turbo despite the price proximity to my setup - though it must surely be a phenomenal rush to go from 0-80 in 5 seconds. Where the heck can you do that in the USA and not recklessly endanger everyone on the road? The speed control issues would probably be more than mildly frustrating. And it sounds like a vacuum cleaner. With the C4S X51, you have it all: brutal power, an engine that sounds the part, race-car like responsiveness, a drivetrain that can be pushed to amazing limits by mere mortal sports car enthusiasts, and clean lines / great hips. So far, I am quite satisfied.

    BigOnion

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    Cool! Enjoy!

    Ive been thinking about a C2S X51 Cab. We see what happens.Its either that or a GT3, but I really like top down driving.

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    That was my other alternative and I still wonder. The C4S looks damn good in the flesh from a variety of angles. I have always loved the 911 roofline and glasshouse so much and obviously you lose it on the Cab. But that motor with the top down would be incredible on all the senses.

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    The coupes look the best, the cabs look best with the top down, its a hobsons choice really.Cabs are way cool to drive fast at nite with the top down.

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    Thanks for the review, BigOnion- WAY Cool! Congratulations! Now, how about some pictures... please!

    Man, I can't wait to pick up my baby!


    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    Are you by any chance in the Boulder,Lafayette, Broomfield area?

    I would love to see and hear it! =)

    I have recently had to let my 996TT go, and am now without a P-car... =(

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    BigOnion... thanks for the nice read! Any chance we'll be seeing pics soon?
    -Joost-

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    BigOnion, very good initial review on the C4S X51. This is what I was looking for on this forum. Thank you. I would like to see more X51 reivews from you in the future if possible. I have been driving a 997 C2S for more than a year now. I kind of wish I would of pick a car with powerkit.

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    Onion,

    Great initial review. Congrats on the car. I'm looking forward to hearing more, particularly on the X51. Keep us posted, and pics would be great, too.

    Jim

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    Anyone have any first-hand numbers on the relevant fuel economy between the Carrera S and the Powerkit version? My 997 Carrera S Cab averages about 24mpg with sensible driving (18mpg when racing about back roads!).

    It's just that my 1.8L Turbo Audi S3 (now 250bhp) was chipped to add an extra 25bhp, again most noticeable in the lower rev band. I love the mod but the fuel economy went from averaging 35mpg down to 25mpg as result!

    Just wondering if the X51 option would tell a similar story in real life....

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    Thanks - I had been looking for an X51 review myself for some time. I will get some pictures up in a few days.

    Just drove to work this morning on a familar route with some good turns. The enthusism in my review is not just new car owner emotions bubbling over - the X51 is leaps and bounds faster than the 3600cc motor. And I am not so sure about the steering being heavier on the C4S either - it felt very close to the C2; light and responsive. I have the smaller diameter wheel and that does feel a bit different.

    I gather most people on this site are more interested in the motor than other impressions. The 3800cc X51 has the kind of thrust that I used to experience a long time ago when I drove a 600cc race-ready motorcycle. In sport mode especially the push is very hard at any engine speed over about 2300. In taller gears you really feel the higher torque; 3rd and 4th gear acceleration is a totally different proposition as compared to the 3600cc boxer on the 996. It is an impressive piece.

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    Congrats on your new car. Post some pics soon.

    The X-51 is one great piece of work. Nice smooth delivery througout the RPM range and sneaky fast. I am constantly doing 90 when I thought I was doing 70. It get's even better after the break -in is over.

    I'm sure the GT3 and turbo are wonderful, but I will "settle" for my X-51 for now.

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    Very informative thread bigonion. Thanks!

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    Sounds like a gorgeous color combo - I'd love to see it sometime. Let me know if you'd ever like to join me for a mountain drive or trackday (once the snow melts)

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    Great review, nice work..keep it coming! I would love to see a 997 CS (or 4) vs a 996 gt3..

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    Great review - pics please

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    Interesting review. Thanks.

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    I never got around to doing pictures but I'll try to do some when the snow melts. I had intended on making this a partial winter car but we have had 40"+ of snow in Colorado and side streets are just about impassable, even for tall SUV's because of huge variations in the effective road surface. Maybe in February my street's glacier will melt down and I can get the C4S out.

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    Hey - has anyone out there taken delivery on Meteor Grey? It would be awesome to see some photos.

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    I have had a C4S cab with the X51. I'm now up to 2500 miles and have a better feeling for the car. My only previous experience with the C2 was at the Porsche Driving Experience, and I fell in love with the car.
    I'll first address the supossed understeer with the C4S. I have pushed this car hard and it feels neutral to the limit. It is better planted than the C2 but defitenely not in a bad way.
    The engine sings. Up to the 2000 miles I was holding to 4000rpm, with an occasional excursion to 5000rpm. In the last few weeks, I've pushed beyond 6000rpm and it is an entirely different animal - it just screams. It is unfortunate that you don't have a lot of opportunities to do it - without going to jail - but the car really begins to feel like a supercar, not just a great sports car.
    Mileage is poor with the X51 - I hardly ever break 20mpg, but it is worth it. I leave my PSE on all the time and the sound when going through an under pass is just fabulous.
    Couldn't be happier with the car - I had tried the Turbo and didn't like it, so I'm happy to report that after 2500 miles my love affair with this car is just getting better
    Paulo

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    Here you go bigonion. Saw this in Porsche Zentrum Stuttgart in November....

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    Thanks for the feedback. It's always interesting to read about people's experiences.

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    FOr the price of a C4S with X51, Id get a GT3

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    Would you agree that GT3 is a great car but C4S with X51 will give you more peace of mind when driving in a country where it rains a lot?

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    Quote:
    pcosta said:
    I have had a C4S cab with the X51. I'm now up to 2500 miles and have a better feeling for the car. My only previous experience with the C2 was at the Porsche Driving Experience, and I fell in love with the car.
    I'll first address the supossed understeer with the C4S. I have pushed this car hard and it feels neutral to the limit. It is better planted than the C2 but defitenely not in a bad way.
    The engine sings. Up to the 2000 miles I was holding to 4000rpm, with an occasional excursion to 5000rpm. In the last few weeks, I've pushed beyond 6000rpm and it is an entirely different animal - it just screams. It is unfortunate that you don't have a lot of opportunities to do it - without going to jail - but the car really begins to feel like a supercar, not just a great sports car.
    Mileage is poor with the X51 - I hardly ever break 20mpg, but it is worth it. I leave my PSE on all the time and the sound when going through an under pass is just fabulous.
    Couldn't be happier with the car - I had tried the Turbo and didn't like it, so I'm happy to report that after 2500 miles my love affair with this car is just getting better
    Paulo



    Don't shoot this guy now. He clearly said he didn't like the turbo. Oh, no, not another person posting his opinion regarding his preference for a n/a engine. (See post: disappointed with turbo for further insight) What is going on here. It must be a conspiracy. Wait. Hail: Silverrules ! Silverrules Superhero to the rescue. Silverrules where are you? Gothem City needs you! Stay tuned, same bat time, same bat channel, Silverrules will respond to rebut this silly assertion.
    Pcosta, congrats on what sounds like a fantastic car! You can disregard my aforementioned rant. Enjoy your ride.

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    I too would love a new GT3, but there are other things like interior, ground clearence, and that fact that it not only rains where I live it snows too. Taking all that into account he C4SX51 was the most realistic choice for me. Yes I'd prefer a lime green GT3 with black wheels, but the first time I scrape the spoiler, or can't get out of my driveway in the snow... I would realise that it was a bad choice for me... so best not go there.

    And I honestly do believe that the NA cars provide greater driver pleasure than the TT.

    Re: C4S Powerkit Review - Initial impressions

    That looks really nice.

     
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