Porsche 911 Turbo S: Crazy expensive and worth it
CNN — NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- I have this Porsche issue. Pretty much every time I drive one, I love it. Then I look at the price.
Now, every time I get into a car I have some idea of the price but that's usually based on the sticker price plus, you know, some reasonable amount for options.
Porsche owners are laughing already. In Porsch-ese, a "reasonable amount" for "options" means "insane money" for "things you'd expect to be standard." Things like cruise control, navigation, a back-up camera, a logo on the center wheel caps. This is how a $60,000 Porsche Boxster turns into a nearly $100,000 car that still seems like it's missing some stuff.
But, somehow, after a spending a couple days with the most expensive, loaded up Porsche 911 you can buy -- a car with a total price tag that just hops over $200,000-- I thought, "Yeah, this car's worth it."
Mind you, I didn't think that right away.
You're in Bentley and Aston Martin territory with that kind of money. So as I drove this Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet I thought "I could be driving something exotic for this much money that would get much more attention."
Or would it? The 911 looked hotter than Satan's sunburn with a big wing on the back, nice race rims and bright yellow seatbelts. Plus, it sounded mean. But it was still "just a 911."
But, oh my, did it drive.
That's the thing that finally did me in. Porsche engineers should get a Nobel for pulling 560 horsepower from a 3.8-liter 6-cylinder engine. Yes, you probably do need a race track to get the full potential out of this car but, honestly, a good freeway on-ramp or cloverleaf is enough to experience much of the thrill. In addition to glorious acceleration, this car has monstrous brakes which easily bring you back to sane speeds.
It also has all-wheel-drive so, when accelerating hard and cornering hard, it holds the road like a dog holds a tennis ball. With that engine hanging out over the rear axle it does have that peculiar butt-heavy feeling 911 owners love but that I find takes some getting used to. I don't really feel like the car is centered around me. I feel like it's centered around my wallet.
Wait... There's that money thing again.
I drove a little while in the Pennsylvania countryside. I took a couple of detours, the top was down, the engine was roaring and I had the car swooping through curves. The seven speed automatic transmission (there's no manual option) flipped up and down through perfectly timed gear changes. Even the optional high-end stereo fought gamely against the engine noise and still came out a winner.
Now, how, exactly, would this be better in an exotic car? Is it faster? More fun? Not really. Would I be smiling any wider in a Bentley or an Aston? Nope.
And, really, it still looks pretty darned wicked.
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