2014 Porsche 911 50 Years Edition review

A wider rear track and lashings of retro-inspired styling sets the 911 '50 Years Edition' apart from the standard Carrera S; we drive it in the UK...

2014 Porsche 911 50 Years Edition review

If anything warrants a special edition, it’s the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 911.

Here it is, in all its retro-inspired glory, complete with the wide-bodied shape usually reserved for four-wheel-drive models, although the 911 50 Years Edition actually gets the rear-wheel-drive layout and 394bhp output of the standard Carrera S model.

A sports exhaust – usually optional on the Carrera S – is included, and standard adaptive dampers also come with bespoke tuning to account for the wider rear track.

Other than that, it’s the styling that you’re paying for. Everything from the 20-inch Fuchs alloys, green font on the dials, and monochrome tartan seat inserts take inspiration from the classic 911s. Exterior colour options include two unique 50 Years Edition colours – Graphite Grey or the Geyser Grey metallic.

What’s the 2014 Porsche 911 50 Years Edition like to drive?

Awesome. Granted, you’re unlikely to feel the differences afforded by the wider rear track of the 50 Years Edition unless you’re driving it in a way that public roads rarely allow, but the standard Carrera S is phenomenally good anyway, so to say it feels similar is no criticism.

Those adaptive dampers afford a smooth-edged, if slightly bouncy ride over scarred surfaces, and they keep the 911’s sizeable body tightly in check. The steering is unchanged, so remains sharp and precise, with a satisfying weight to it that gives confidence in hard driving.

This, added to monumental grip levels and precise, easily-modulated pedal response makes the 911 feel rewarding, poised and remarkably unintimidating. It’s a car you can really enjoy at normal road speeds, as well as being bewildered by how it keeps ratcheting up the levels of traction and sense of connection the faster you go.

This special edition will, in that sort of use, serve up marginally more traction than the standard Carrera S, but don’t assume you can take liberties. The 911 may be a doddle to drive much of the time, but it's still a full-blooded sports car, and can be a bit snappy if you lift off the throttle when cornering at speed; it responds best if you balance it on the brakes to keep the nose from washing wide.

That flat-six engine is, of course, right at the heart of the driving experience. It revs smoothly, building progressively throughout the rev range, seeming to gradually gather aggression as it rips toward the 7500rpm redline.

Our car came with the standard seven-speed manual gearbox, which is fantastic in those moments you want to really drive the 911 hard, but it suffers from a heavy clutch, and a relatively long throw shift. We would recommend the £2388 PDK dual-clutch automatic; it still satisfies in faster driving, and makes the 911 feel faster in general, as well as much easier to live with.

What’s the 2014 Porsche 911 50 Years Edition like inside?

It’s a real show-stopper, yet doesn't cross the line into being so retro it’s tacky. The brushed aluminium highlights speak of an exactingly modern car, while the green dial font and white needles, and even the tartan upholstery, looks classy while still exuding a heritage feel. The '50 Year' badges aren’t over the top, and you get the same easy-to-use, solid-feeling interior that all 911s benefit from.

The standard colour touch-screen and sat-nav system are logically laid out, with great graphics and can be controlled via a rotary switch for easier use when you’re on the move.

You also get electrically adjustable sports seats that include lumbar adjustment (these are an expensive option on standard Carrera S models), so there’s plenty of scope to accommodate all shapes of driver, and the seats are supportive yet comfortable on longer journeys.    

There are also the two small seats in the back, which are far more useful as extra luggage space than for people, as they’re very upright with extremely limited headroom, so even children will be cramped. A deep, square storage space under the bonnet is also fine for a few soft weekend bags.

Should I buy one?

If only you could. With Porsche only making 1963 examples of the '50 Years Edition', it’s no surprise that UK cars have all sold already. You can, however, find some for sale nearly-new, all of which are likely to have the ‘essential’ extras – like PDK automatic and Bluetooth (shockingly, a £558 option).

Even though these used '50 Years Edition' cars are all still commanding more than list price, it’s easy to see why you would pay it. After all, to many Porsche aficionados, the wide-bodied 911s are considered the best-looking, and as a collector's item this anniversary edition also likely to hold its value better than a standard car.

For those prospective 911 buyers who aren’t so sold on the looks, or are not enamoured by the idea of buying used, a carefully specced Carrera S will be just as satisfying to drive and cheaper to buy. Even so, it’s not hard to see why the 50 Years Edition might have a dash more 'want one' factor. 

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Porsche 911 Carrera S 50 Years Edition

Engine size 3.8-litre petrol flat-six

Price from £92,257

Power 394bhp

Torque 325lb ft

0-62mph 4.5 seconds

Top speed 186mph

Fuel economy 29.7mpg

CO2 224g/km