Cars That Threatened To Topple The 911 (But Didn't)
Every time a relatively affordable and properly fast car has been announced, car magazines throughout the world run headlines like 'Target 911' or 'Watch out, Porsche.' The 911 has been under attack since the early 1970s, when Ferrari's flawless 246 Dino squared up to Porsche's 2.4S model. That 911's rock-solid reliability won the day, but the competition never went away.

After the Dino came the ungainly 308 GT4, which was mid-engined and even had a couple of rear seats. It wasn't enough and was followed by the unspeakably beautiful 308 and 328 models-the closest Ferrari ever came to mass production.

The 911 outlived them all, yet its biggest threat came from within. Porsche wanted the 911 dead and planned to phase it out during the 1970s with the 928-an admittedly superb GT car but nowhere near as thrilling as the old-timer. 911 sales remained strong and the 928 faded into the shadows, finally killed off in 1995 with the awesome GTS.

Recently, Aston Martin's V8 Vantage has tempted 911 fanatics to stray and who can blame them? The Vantage is one of the sexiest-looking cars ever built. But it's a bit fragile and doesn't feel as fast as even the least powerful 911. That's just been addressed with the revised, more powerful and sharper Vantage, so let's see what happens.

From Japan has come Nissan's GT-R: a direct challenger to the 911 Turbo. It practically matches the blown 911, no matter what statistic is mentioned, and is half the price. But it's a bit vulgar and bit, well, Japanese.

So when Audi announced production of the show-stopping R8, we were prepared for magazine headlines about going for the 911's jugular. What we weren't prepared for was Audi giving the iconic Porsche a sound kicking. Who'd have thought it?

2008 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

Rear engine, all-wheel drive

3.8-liter flat six, dohc, 24-valve

Six-speed manual

Peak Power: 381 hp @ 7200 rpm
Peak Torque: 306 lb-ft @ 5500 rpm
0-60mph: 4.5 sec.
Top speed: 184 mph

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