We have but a few moments, a few short laps in the Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS, so let's slow everything down and savour it, just for one last time. Of course, it's not very likely that the next-generation 911 is going to be some sort of boondoggle, but there's always the chance, and therefore always the chance that this is our last drive in the best 911 of its generation.
Why is the GTS the best? Well, it's like a distillation of all the things that make a 911 great in one car. It has plenty of power, 450hp, but not the mental, rip-your-head-off-and-scream-down-your-neck power of the Turbo models. It's slightly lower, firmer and sharper than the standard 911, but isn't as spiky, nor as hard-edged as the GT3 and GT2 models. It's clearly designed around the driver, but it's not as stripped-out, nor as wildly expensive as the vaunted 911 R.
No, what the GTS is, is an almost perfect balance of all things Porsche. Rapid, but reasonably practical. Sensual, but sensible. And you can have it with a gorgeous, optional, 'ducktail' spoiler at the back.
Crucially, you can also have it with four-wheel drive, and on this - the 30th anniversary of the original 911 Carrera 4 - let me once again nail my colours firmly to the all-paw Porsche mast. I know, the purists will rage at me, and say that the rear-drive 911 is the only true 911, but nuts to that - I grew up in West Cork, where every road was wet and mud-strewn, so I'll have my rapid German coupe with 50 per cent more options when it comes to slipping and sliding, thanks.
Not that it does slip and slide, very much. Approach a tight corner from a fast straight in the 911 GTS and here's how it goes: come down a gear or two in the PDK dual-clutch gearbox as you lean gently on the endlessly powerful brakes; feel the steering load up with delicious feedback as the weight transfers forward; then, as you begin to turn in, rest your foot on the throttle pedal again, lightly at first, but with increasing intent as the apex passes and the corner unwinds; feel the 911 settle its weight and traction on the outside rear Michelin, feel it find grip, feel its balance and its poise and then feel the acceleration as all 450 of those ponies haul you up the road with vigorous obedience. Find another corner and repeat until you've had enough, the light fades, or the world runs out of hydrocarbon resources, whichever comes first.
Not everyone will get the 911, not even this GTS. Those who prefer a prancing Italian pantomime horse (or bull) deride its Beetle-derived styling (while simultaneously struggling to get their car off the driveway on an icy morning), while those who prefer Bulldog-breed British sports cars harumph at the 911's lack of wood-and-leather craftsmanship (um, has anyone mentioned Lucas Electrics?). And, as noted, even 911-heads will often deride the addition of four-wheel drive.
Ignore them. Ignore them all. With that flat-six wailing behind you and one of the best chassis in motor-dom working its magic beneath you, there are few better ways to consume tarmac, rubber and petrol than this. Herr Achleitner has his work cut out making a better 911 than this.