There's this kid I know who works at the mini mart down the street. He's 19 years old, goes to the local junior college and drives an old piece o' shit Buick his grandma willed to him. He's got this habit of asking customers what they do for a living, primarily the ones who drive nice European cars. It struck me as odd and a bit intrusive the first time he asked me; I told him in not so many words it was none of his goddamn business. After some obsequious backpedaling he told me he wanted guidance on what to study in school so he could get a good job and eventually buy a nice car. It was a good question, one I wish I could answer in a single well-written paragraph.

After spending more than a week behind the wheel of this latest project from the Claus Ettensberger Corporation, I found myself wondering the same thing--what can I do to afford this Porsche? It is hands down the best 911 this writer has ever driven and, unlike the 996, cuts a distinctive profile both muscular and very, very sexy.

Previously I hadn't spent much time in the 997 and that's a shame. Porsche not only restored its body but also made it more powerful and agile to boot. And as much as I liked the previous generation, this new 911 is so much better it threatens to leave its older sibling in its formidable wake.Porsche's continued 911 development continues to push the performance envelope. You've gotta wonder just how much better the car can get. TechArt asked the same question, and after some well-placed hardware developed a powerful response.

CEC has been the exclusive North American distributor of TechArt for more than a decade, a concession jealously guarded with good reason. TechArt products undergo rigorous development and testing, utilizing the same University of Stuttgart wind tunnel Porsche once used. Helmed by aerodynamic engineer Dr. Mattias and businessman Mr. Thomas, TechArt will not release a Porsche product unless it has a beneficial effect on the vehicle.This 2005 911 Carrera S has been treated with TechArt's aerodynamic program comprised of a front chin spoiler, pronounced side skirts, roof spoiler and rear diffuser. The stuff is wrought from tough PU-RIM plastic and installed using a high-tech adhesive. Additional touches include carbon-fiber inserts in the side mirrors and treated headlamp bezels. Later TechArt aerodynamics will most likely be more pronounced and built from carbon-Kevlar composites. The end result left the 997 with significantly more downforce, a dynamic especially noticeable at high speeds.

Technology partners Eibach and Bilstein conspired to fabricate the TechArt coilover suspension. Featuring nine-way adjustable dampers, it is perhaps 10 to 15% tighter than stock while managing to provide a firm but comfortable ride. Although the coilovers allow the car to sit "in the weeds," CEC set it at a height that looked good and provided enough room to clear a standard parking berm (I learned this entirely by accident). Had it been any lower I would have surely ripped off the car's nose. TechArt's coilovers are designed to work with Porsche's PASM and can be augmented with a strut brace and larger anti-sway bars.

Ah, the wheels. They couldn't decide which TechArt Formula wheel looked best so CEC made one side black and the other silver. The jury is still split on this. Half swear black is bad-ass, and half claim silver is the only logical choice. The running gear measures 8.5x20 inches up front and 11x20 behind.

Tire giant Michelin developed a rubber package exclusively for TechArt. Through Michelin's newly formed tuner department, tire engineers cooked up a special rubber based on the vaunted Pilot Sport 2 tire, designed with specific load, adhesive and size parameters for TechArt's 997. The PS2s measure 245/30-20 up front and a massive 325/25-20 behind. According to Michelin, this is the theoretical limit on tire size (depth). Any bigger and tires cease to be tires.

The Porsche's 3.8-liter engine was improved with TechArt's Power kit, which includes a revised ECU, intake, 200-cell sport cat and sport exhaust. The TechArt program takes the Porsche's peak output from 355 bhp to a claimed 375 bhp. We recently tested a similar AWE system on a stock 997 CS and saw an increase of more than 45 whp. Not bad for a few bolt-on mods.

TechArt also has a full line of interior bits including steering wheels, pedals, carbon fiber trim, etc. Like Porsche's own Motorsport line, the stuff is top shelf and looks beautiful.

In spite of my short commute, I often found myself flying past the office off-ramp at triple digits. Like its predecessor, the engine sports a power curve that won't quit until the rev limiter steps in, only this one's got even more of it. The car feels uniquely connected to the road; you find yourself pushing the limits of physics just to see if they still apply. Given this 911's capabilities, things like g-forces, speed and time itself may need to be revised.

2005 Porsche Carrera S

Drivetrain
Horizontally opposed rear engine,rear-wheel drive

Engine
3.8-liter inline six, four overhead cams,four valves per cylinderMods: TechArt ECU, intake,sport cat and exhaust

Transmission
Six-speed manual

Suspension
Mods: TechArt adjustable coilovers

Wheels and Tires
TechArt Formula, 8.5x11 (f), 11x20 (r)Michelin Pilot Sport 2, 245/30-20 (f), 325/25-20 (r)

Exterior
TechArt front ch

SOURCE
Claus Ettensberger Corporation
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