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    Easy Rider's 911 Factory Collection Trip (*with photos*)

    Easy Rider's 911 Factory Collection Trip

    It felt like the day would never come but, finally, after waiting for so very long, I took delivery of my new 997S at the factory in Stuttgart. WOW!! What a car!!!! I have had it for 7 days now (sorry, I have not written this report earlier - things have been so busy!) and all I can say is that it is simply fantastic! I just love it!! (But more on that later...)

    Just to remind you, this was my specification:

    Porsche 911 Carrera S Coupe, 6 speed manual transmission, C16 UK RHD
    U2 GT-Silver metallic paint
    RA Cocoa leather interior (with cocoa carpets & black alcantara roof-lining)
    P17 -20mm sports suspension with mechanical rear differential lock
    XLF Porsche Sports Exhaust system with chrome tailpipes
    640 Sport Chrono Package Plus
    407 19 inch SportDesign alloy wheels
    446 Wheel centres with full-colour Porsche crests
    482 Tyre-pressure monitoring (TPM)
    567 Grey top tinted windscreen
    635 ParkAssist (rear)
    650 Electric tilt/sliding sunroof
    P12 Automatically dimming interior and exterior mirrors with integrated rain sensor
    P01 Adaptive sports seats
    342 Seat heating
    XSC Porsche crest embossed on head restraints
    XSH Seat belts in silver-grey
    CCW Porsche Exclusive: B-pillar seat belt outlet trim in aluminium-look finish
    XTV Door trim in cocoa leather
    XNS Steering column casing in cocoa leather
    XMZ Rear centre console in cocoa leather
    CUV Porsche Exclusive: rear centre console compartment lid in cocoa leather (with Carrera S model logo)
    CDZ Porsche Exclusive: gear console top trim in cocoa leather
    X97 Gear lever in aluminium (with cocoa leather inlays)
    XMP Sunvisors in cocoa leather
    XZD Interior light surround in cocoa leather
    CVW Porsche Exclusive: interior mirror in cocoa leather
    810 Cocoa floor mats (x4 for RHD) with embroidered silver Porsche logo
    X70 Door entry guards in stainless steel (with Carrera S model logo)
    666 Telephone module for PCM
    672 Extended PCM navigation module (including DVD disc for Europe in English)
    680 BOSE sound system
    900 Factory Collection 911

    So, what did I get up to after I just disappeared off the rennteam radar on Thursday 9 Nov? Well, hoping that I don't repeat too much of what other people may have written before about their Stuttgart experiences, here is my story...

    I woke up bright and early on Thursday 9 Nov. For the previous few nights I had found it difficult to sleep more than about 5 hours. Such was my long pent-up excitement. We packed light taking just a small hard-sided case (to check in liquids etc) and two soft bags (to carry on board). Owning a 911 means packing very differently! Anyway, my wife and I flew from London (Stansted) Airport to Stuttgart on German Wings. I was very happy with the flight. Arriving at Stuttgart airport, where the weather was a bit dull, we simply took the S-Bahn (metro system) to Zuffenhausen station. The metro system is so easy to use, so clean and so cheap! (Only 2.85 Euros to Zuffenhausen). Arriving at Zuffenhausen where our hotel was, it felt like a small suburb in the northern part of Stuttgart. It briefly drizzled making me fear that the next (crucial) day might be dull and wet. Our hotel fortunately was just a 5 minute walk away. We stayed at the Golden Leaf Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, a basic 2/3 star place. I chose it for its convenience. It's only a 5 minute walk to the factory!

    That day, we went to the centre of Stuttgart just to do some sight-seeing and to have dinner. We went from Haupbahnhof (the main station) along the Konigstrasse (the main shopping street) to Schlossplatz (a big square) with some impressive buildings and monuments. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel for an early night sleep. But I kept waking up every 2 hours! The excitement was overwhelming!

    Friday 10 Nov. I had waited for that day for so very long. Finally, it dawned and all I could see was a perfect blue sky with plenty of winter sunshine. The weather gods were indeed smiling on me. We went first to the Porsche dealership at Porscheplatz in Zuffenhausen. It is the largest dealership I have ever seen. Simply vast! They were even filming an advertisement/promotional video outside the dealership. Inside an artist had made some sculptures which were on display. At the same roundabout, Porsche is building the new Museum which is due to open next year. Also, at that roundabout, there is the rear exit to the factory. (It used to be the main entrance). Everywhere we looked, we saw so many Porsches.

    We were escorted from the rear entrance to the New Car Delivery building. After completing some brief paperwork, handing over my German export plates (which my German dealer had sent to me by courier) to the lady at Reception (Tina Nathalie-Jacob who also provided me with a Zuffenhausen rear number plate holder for the export plates) and locking all my valuables in the locker room provided, my wife and I went on the English language factory tour at 10am.

    Our tour guide was a young man named Peter Markov. Usually, it is a retired employee who does the tours but we had this amusing guy doing it instead. It lasted about 90 minutes taking us from building to building around the factory site which looks and feels like a small village. We saw the main assembly line where a new Porsche is made every 5 minutes and where they produce about 160 cars per day. All the 911s are made on the same line. We even saw a GT3 Cup car being made. The only robot they have fits the front and rear windscreens to the car. All the while, little unmanned vehicles following black lines on the floor would be passing our little tour group carrying parts from one place to another. Next, we exited that building and went along various roads where various new cars were parked. We saw an orange GT3 RS, a viper green GT3 RS and various other cars including 997TT, Targa 4S etc. We then went to the place where they do the marriage of the engines with the chassis. From there, we went to the engine production area.

    The whole experience was fascinating and so very impressive. It really brings home to you how much work goes into making these cars. Unfortunately no cameras were allowed on the factory tour.

    After the factory tour, we stopped at the Porsche Design Drivers Selection shop where I purchased a 911 key-ring and a Porsche Travel Umbrella which fits in the slot in the front passenger inner door sill.

    After that, came the reason why I was there: New Car Delivery. We were taken upstairs to a large air-conditioned, well-lit hall with cars lined up on both sides. My heart started beating a little faster. The moment of unveiling was near. I turned the corner and there it was. My new 997S in GT Silver with Cocoa leather. The colour combination was just stunning in real life. I felt so happy I had chosen it. I love the deep shine of the dark silver with the warm richness of the mocha coloured cocoa with little accents in silver-grey, volcano grey and aluminium-look silver. I love the SportDesign wheels with coloured wheel centres. They really suit a GT-Silver 997S. I was simply speechless as I stood there just looking at it, gazing at it, wondering at its beauty. Every curve, every shape just looked beautiful. Seconds which felt like minutes went by in slow motion. I had waited so long for it that now, it felt like my body and mind needed time to catch up with the reality standing before me. Was this really mine? My brain said yes but my heart was not used to the idea yet: no more waiting needed. It was all so much to take in emotionally.

    A Porsche photographer then took a photo of my wife and I beside the car as a souvenir of our factory collection. The handover guy then handed me the key and I got in. I was just overwhelmed. I was struck by that beautiful new car smell, the softness of the leather, the comfort of the adaptive sports seats which hold you so well, the beautiful tactile feel of the aluminium gear knob with leather inlays, the feel of the black alcantara roof-lining with the soft leather of the sunvisors and interior light surround. I am also so glad I opted for the Porsche crests in the head rests, the aluminium-look B pillar seat belt outlet trim, the silver-grey seat belts, the leather door trim, the leather rear centre console, stainless steel door entry guards and the model logo on the rear centre console compartment lid. It all looks so harmonious. They just help complete the luxurious look. Plus, the various leather items are all beautifully stitched.

    To my relief, every option I had ordered was on the car. And yes, the steering wheel was on the right hand side of the dashboard! How lucky: I have OEM Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 (N1) tyres! I must say that I like the look of the Sport Chrono analogue timer on the dashboard and also the sensors for the ParkAssist really do not look bad to me at all. We took dozens of photos. Porsche gave me a small rechargeable LED torch which I had engraved later that day by the Porsche Design Drivers Selection shop. All the manuals came in a beautiful black leather folder.

    He explained the various features of the car (especially the PCM system). I walked around the car checking it for any flaws etc then we signed the handover paper. There were a couple of little marks on the car and a scratch on the driver door handle. They cleaned the marks and took the car away to have the door handle scratch machine polished out while my wife and I went for lunch.

    Lunch was delicious in the Guest Restaurant. It overlooks Porscheplatz. It looked and felt like a Four Seasons hotel restaurant with food to match. Afterwards, we headed back to the New Car Delivery building and popped into the (current) Porsche Museum. I got a couple of freebies from Reception: a blue parking time clock with a small integrated rubber strip for windscreen cleaning and a chamois demisting sponge. Back to our car where I tested the mp3 CD I had burned on iTunes especially for the drive home. The BOSE system sounds great. I loved it. Better than the Harmon Kardon system on my old BMW. Even the songnames came up correctly on the PCM. I programmed the navigation system to take us to our hotel near Heidelberg (NH Hotel Hirschberg Heidelberg). Easy! The polishing was done perfectly. Not a blemish left. The car had 4 miles on the odometer when I took delivery. When it came back from polishing etc, it had 6 miles on it.

    We loaded the car with our luggage and were surprised how much room there was to fit everything in. After such a busy but wonderful day so far, the moment of truth had arrived. It was now time to drive off. Honestly, I was so nervous. My first Porsche, driving on the right hand side of the road and a manual transmission made me anxious. (The cars I have driven regularly for the past 18 years have all been automatics). I started the engine. What a sound!! It feels so good. I pressed the Sport button, the PSE sounded amaaaaazing!!!!!!! Like a wild animal growling, snarling. This car is so easy to drive. It is so confidence inspiring.

    We drove straight to our hotel near Heidelberg on the autobahns. In the main, the road quality was superb.

    So, how does it drive? Words cannot describe it. You have to try it yourself to really appreciate it. I have the -20mm sports suspension. It is stunning!!! Beautifully firm. Never too harsh. It feels like a real sports car should feel. PASM normal mode by comparison just feels too soft, even vague by comparison - more like a GT car should feel. PASM sport mode is very firm but the ride quality is too bouncy yet strangely unconnected and remote. -20mm is around three quarters of the stiffness between PASM normal and PASM sport. I am so SO glad I chose -20mm. It is perfect for me. One of the best choices I made! Even with the variable quality of roads I experienced in Germany, Belgium, France and the UK, it felt fine. Sure, one feels every surface type but the whole point of driving a car like this is that I want to interact with the road. I want to feel involved. I do not want a ride which soaks up every tiny lump in the road such that I can switch off and become a passive driver. I would have chosen a Mercedes Benz if that is what I wanted.

    The steering feel is great. It is light and very responsive. The car feels so nimble and agile. The car handles like it is on rails.

    The brakes are so powerful with a wonderful feel. The acceleration is fabulous and I still have not taken it above 4000 rpm yet due to the running in period! There is so much power and torque in every gear.

    The manual transmission is silky smooth. No notchiness at all. I deliberately did not order the short shifter. Please note that I drive a RHD car so I would have to operate it with my left arm while I am a right-handed person. I made the right choice for me.

    I am also glad I chose Sport Chrono. The faster throttle response is so obvious. The car feels different. It may just be a different perception but I really love having a car which has two characters: Jekyll and Hyde! The best test is to drive at speed with Sport Chrono on, then to switch it off with the accelerator pedal in the same position. You can feel the power diminish and the car feels like it has relaxed.

    The tyre pressure monitoring system works wonderfully. It feels very reassuring to have the figures constantly displayed so that you can know everything is fine. You can see how the tyres warm up as you drive longer and faster.

    Driving to our hotel, as sunset came and other drivers on the autobahn switched on their headlamps, the benefit of auto dimming interior and exterior mirrors became obvious. No dazzling from behind! And the heated seats made us feel so cosy and warm in Winter.

    ParkAssist has been so helpful. It has a benefit I did not know about. It beeps whenever you select reverse. A handy way of confirming you have not selected first gear instead or vice versa.

    The sunroof too has been a great choice for me - I love the gentle breeze I get when night driving!

    By the way, I love the swollen bits on the sports steering wheel (at the ten minutes to two o clock positions). They really help with precise steering. I also love the bluish white light given off by the bi-xenon headlamps. They light up the whole road plus they do look cool. I also love the aluminium instrument dials and they way their whole character changes from daytime through sunset to night time. The displays are so easy to read plus it is so great to have oil temperature and oil pressure gauges so you know when it is safe to push the car harder.

    I have not tried the telephone yet. The extended navigation unit has been great. No system is perfect so you should not just follow it blindly but rather if you use it intelligently, it should take you exactly where you want to go.

    The Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 (N1) tyres are fantastic. They are so grippy and so comfortable on motorways. I love them and I am so glad and relieved I was lucky enough to get them rather than the Bridgestone Potenza RE050A (N0), the Pirelli PZero Rosso Asimmetrico (N1) or the Continental ContiSportContact 2 (N0) tyres.

    Here is the Tire Rack Max Performance Survey:

    http://www.tirerack.com/tires/surveyresults/surveydisplay.jsp?type=MP

    Anyway, back to our journey. We stayed the night in the NH Hotel Hirschberg Heidelberg which was pleasant and comfortable.

    Saturday 11 Nov:

    The next day we drove north to see my German dealer in Darmstadt which luckily was exactly upon our route. The factory had told me that I needed to get the Warranty and Service book stamped by the supplying dealer. It was a nice opportunity to finally meet the guy who sold me my car! I had been dealing with him by phone, email and fax till then. The weather then turned very wet. The rain-sensing wipers are fantastic. They are so much better than the rain sensing wipers on my old BMW. From there, we drove northward past Frankfurt and Cologne to Dusseldorf where we met Porsche-Jeck and his wife. We spent a lovely afternoon chatting away at their home. I had never met them before and yet, because of our friendship through rennteam, it felt like we had known them for ages. That is the great thing about rennteam - you meet people you have so much in common with. We all went out for dinner later that evening at a lovely family run Italian restaurant nearby. Of course, photos of Porsche-Jeck's Seal Grey and Cocoa Boxster S and my new car in their underground car park were a must-do rennteam tradition.

    Thanks to Porsche-Jeck and his wife for such a wonderful time. You are very kind and generous hosts. We look forward to welcoming you at our place next time you visit London.

    By this time, it was late and we had been on the road since early morning so it was time to head towards our hotel: Holiday Inn Aachen which turned out to be another very pleasant place to rest for the night.

    Sunday 11 Nov:

    We had plenty of driving to do this day so we just headed straight from Aachen to Calais passing through Belgium and northern France that day. We made good time in the 997S so were able to hop onto an earlier ferry from Calais to Dover arriving home in London by around 5pm. Our new car then went into its new home in our underground car park.

    I have been on holiday from the office this week in order to complete the process of registering the car with the UK DVLA, licensing it, declaring it to the HM Revenue & Customs for sales tax purposes, getting a Porsche Vehicle Tracking System fitted by my local dealer, getting the various automatic door locking and re-locking functions programmed for me by my local dealer, informing Porsche GB of my purchase, making sure that I have UK Porsche Assistance (i.e. PCGB issuing me with the same plastic card as a UK customer and me not having to contact the German helpline) and fitting UK number plates. While I was at the dealer, I sat in the car with the Porsche technician while he did various programming (locks close when the car speed exceeds 5 mph and doors relock after 20 seconds) using the PIWIS terminal which he connected to the car. He discovered that, for some reason, my alarm siren was not activated! Luckily, nothing untoward had happened on the journey back home. Still, a frightening thought as to what could have happened. I also discovered that there are not just 2 stages to check the rev limiter anymore (Vehicle Analysis and ECU) as was the case with the old 996. With the 997, the PIWIS terminal can actually check if the car has been over-revved in each of the 6 gears!

    We had a full tank of 98 RON fuel provided at the factory but since then, the only fuel I have put in the car is Shell V-Power fuel. Interestingly, Shell V-Power is 100 RON in Germany, 98 RON in Belgium and 99 RON in the UK. I did not fill up in France so I could not tell you what octane Shell V-Power is over there.

    Everything about this car feels like it was put together so well, like it will last forever. The quality of build and materials is instantly apparent the moment you touch something like a button, a knob etc. It is so obvious when you use any of the functions of the car that it has been so well designed, so well thought through. Precision engineering and design is why we pay such a premium for Porsche cars.

    I bought a basic high pressure washer to make car washing a little quicker and easier:

    http://www.karcher.de/en-GB/Products/Private/Consumer_Outdoor/K2_High_pressure_cleaners/13205110.htm

    I will also be putting a little engine oil in the car shortly. I picked up a nice mini-measuring jug to do this at my local Tesco supermarket. I am now spending some time re-reading all the threads on how best to wash the car and what products to order from the internet. Heaven knows my car needs a really good cleaning after our journey back from Stuttgart. I also plan to do the PSE vacuum hose modification later today.

    So, how do I feel? In a word, euphoric. If I were to do it all over again, I would not change a single thing. I am so happy with how I specced the car. Plus I saved over GBP7000 by buying the car in Germany. I would buy abroad again without a second of hesitation.

    This car is a dream come true for me. I just love it!!

    Please bear with me - I am now posting lots of photos...enjoy! (NB: the factory production photos are all official ones - not mine!)


    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    Zuffenhausen S Bahn station

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    Our hotel in Zuffenhausen

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    Stuttgart Schlossplatz

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    Schlossplatz again

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    Schlossplatz Konigstrasse

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    Another photo of Schlossplatz

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    Final photo of Schlossplatz

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    Porsche Zentrum Stuttgart

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    Porscheplatz

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    Inside the dealership

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    On one of the walls:

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    More cars inside...

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    A nice Meteor Grey example...

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    The Carrera GT engine

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    Construction work on the new Porsche Museum

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    Porscheplatz museum ad

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    Rear entrance to the factory

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    Another factory view (actually this building also houses the Guest Restaurant)

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    The bridge connecting the paint shop to the rest of the works

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    The main sign at the rear entrance

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    The new front entrance

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    Guest reception

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    New Car Delivery...

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    The Factory Tour. These 24 photos are official ones. I wasn't allowed to take my own ones during the factory tour.

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    Thanks for the write-up :-)
    Enjoy your car now...over 4'000 rpms that is :-)

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    Factory 2

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    3

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    4

    Re: Factory Collection and my first impressions

    5

     
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