PS Technology Quotient: 39 (out of 50)
Road Manners: 8
If you want to push the 2002 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 -- and this car begs to be pushed -- I suggest taking it home. Not your home; its home: Bavaria, where the original Porsche was conceived and hundreds of miles of wide open, speed-limit-free autobahn now lie. Simply point toward the Alps, slide into the left lane, and go.
And go I did. As I passed 90 mph, the car clamped down onto the roadway, its newly enlarged 3.6-liter flat six in the back encouraging me to push it even further. I didn't have to shift into sixth gear until 120, and at 130 the wind inside my open convertible was just beginning to become an issue. At 145, it appeared that the other cars on the road had stopped moving.
Next, I peeled off the highway and took the car into the mountains, where its all-wheel drive proved especially adept at climbing mountain switchbacks. The car's mild oversteer took a bit of getting used to, but it was eventually welcome in the land where not making the next corner turns that rocket into a glider, albeit a very poor one.
But unless you live in Montana, the (legal) opportunities to feel your eyeballs flatten like this are extremely rare, making it a bit hard to justify owning such an expensive machine. That said, I want one. Please don't make me beg.
What's New: 20 more horsepower and a cupholder
What's Good: People stare
What's Not: Sticker shock
Base Price: $73,500
Major Options: Cabriolet, $9,700
Bottom Line: If only I had an extra 70 grand ...
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.