10-Minute Test Drive: 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S

By Rachel Jones | Photographs by Cayla Zahoran

2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S, Auto Palace Porsche

The Porsche 911 Carrera S is put together like no car I’ve ever driven. The engine is in the back, the trunk is under the hood, and the key goes on the left side. “It was designed that way in the 1930s to accommodate race car drivers,” explains Archibald Wiese III, a sales professional at Auto Palace Porsche. “They’d jump in the driver’s side window, turn the key on the left, and move the gears at the right. It’s much faster that way.”

Moving fast is what this car does best. While WHIRL staff photographer Cayla Zahoran finishes taking shots of the sleek black ride, Wiese shows us his favorite part of the car. With a quick flick of the wrist, the engine unleashes a thunderous boom. This car doesn’t just sound like a beast — it is one! Top speed clocks in at 188 mph, and it jumps from 0 to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds.

Wiese reminds me of these stats as I adjust the rearview mirror. The silver notches on the steering wheel also adjust the gears, just like when you play a video game. And while I turned into a giggling schoolgirl at the offer of getting behind the wheel, I’ve since graduated into a wannabe race car driver with Bigelow Boulevard as my speedway.

As I come around the curve of the road, Wiese pushes a button to adjust the sports exhaust. Instantly, my roaring lioness of a car turns into a purring kitten. My speed stays the same, but the sound makes a world of difference. This car exudes form meets function, giving the power of a sports car with the versatility of a front-wheel drive. I mean, any car engineered in Germany has to be able to handle the Autobahn, right?

When we merge onto I-579, Wiese gets me back to the powerful sound I missed. “After we come around this curve,” he says, “punch it!” My black flat shoe connects with the gas pedal, and we cruise down the open road. I smile like someone just told me I could have chocolate cake for breakfast. Then, my five minutes is up.

With the speed of a pit crew, I climb in the back seat and Zahoran takes us back to Auto Palace Porsche. I didn’t get to see much of her time at the wheel though. The convertible kept the wind in my face and my eyes mostly shut. But when the 10-minute test drive is over, I definitely have the teased hair to prove I was along for the ride. Totally worth it.

Auto Palace Porsche, 4627 Baum Blvd., Oakland. 412.687.4000.

2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S, Auto Palace PorscheSTARTING PRICE: $132,000


• 3.8-litre, 6-cylinder engine
• 400 hp @ 7,400 rpm
• 440 lb.-ft. (torque)
• 20 mpg/city
• 27 mpg/hwy
• 7-speed manual Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) transmission
• Red caliper
• Sports chronograph in center
• LED bars in headlights for dynamic lighting
• Lights move to look ahead of contour of turns
• Burmester® High-End Surround Sound System
• Porsche Communication Management 3D navigation module


• Secondary screen behind wheel to see turn-by-turn directions better
• Bluetooth® connection for those mobile phones that only support the Handsfree Profile
• Free AHA Radio app for online access

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