Can you believe that it's been seven years since the Porsche 911 had it's last major update? It doesn't seem so long ago that fans of idiosyncratic engine positioning and red seat belts were marching towards Stuttgart with pitchforks and flaming torches denouncing the then-new 991 model as the work of Satan himself.
"WE HATE ELECTRIC POWER STEERING!", they cried. "IT'S TOO LONG!" they wailed. But instead of listening to these howls of protest, Porsche (correctly) decided to take the Kimi Raikkonen approach to the development of their new car. "Leave us alone", they said. "We know what we're doing."
And as it turned out, they really did. Porsche decided to carried on being controversial. First, they launched a GT3 with no manual option. Because they knew that their PDK gearbox was better. Once they had done that, they set about upsetting everyone with a Carrera by fitting it with a turbocharged engine.
And then there was my personal favourite. The time when they launched the limited-run 911R, sold them all to speculators who thought that they'd make a killing flogging their cars on at vastly inflated prices, and then immediately launched an identical GT3 Touring model into series production to pull the rug right out from under the speculators feet. When I heard about this I laughed so hard that I slipped a couple of discs.
Lazy Porsche employees relying on snow to disguise new 911 in the Arctic Circle.
But now the time has almost come for the 991 to disappear off into the sunset. Porsche have been working on the replacement, the imaginatively-titled 992, for a good few years now, and reports are filtering out of Germany that it'll be on sale in time for Angela Merkel's leaving drinks.
As with everything that Porsche do, except for the still-hilarious GT3 Touring, the 992's testing regime has been conducted with the utmost seriousness and now the newest iteration of the evergreen sportster is reaching the point when it will be ready to officially launch.
The new car has been put through it's paces in some of the harshest environments on Earth. The hot weather testing was conducted in America's Death Valley, where summer temperatures regularly exceed 46 degrees Celsius in July. They've made sure it can handle the cold as well. A stint in the frozen Arctic Circle should ensure that your 992's heater has enough grunt to keep you toasty on a rainy November evening in Stockport.
Of course, it's not just reliability testing that needs to be taken care of. As well as there being plenty of rivals from other manufacturers for the 992 to worry about, it also has to build on the reputation of it's predecessor as one of the world's finest driving machines.
With that in mind a rigorous dynamic test programme has been undertaken. The new car has been spanked mercilessly around the famous Nardo test track in Italy, where engineers have been fine-tuning the engine, handling and aerodynamics to the nth degree. It's been to Colorado, to make sure that the turbocharged power units don't suffer in the thinner air up in the Rocky Mountains. And natürlich, Porsche have been busy with their new baby at the Nurburgring. James May will be thrilled, I'm sure.
"Jurgen, I think I might have lost ze back end slightly..."
The new 992-generation of the Porsche 911 will be officially unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show which begins on November 30th, with the first UK deliveries expected in 2019. Prices are yet to be announced, but expect it to cost more than a 718 Cayman, and less than a Soyuz space capsule.
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All images credited to: Porsche AG.