The Hard Way

The Hard Way 1
The Hard Way 2

The wide-body C4S’s generous tires, fast-acting all-wheel-drive, and inherent rear-engined traction advantage helps it get out of corners like nothing else —except a 911 Turbo, of course. With the safe and secure handling comes a ride quality that will upset few customers in what can only be termed a luxurious segment. Over three days, the Meteor Grey car had laid down a gauntlet Sport PASM would be hard-pressed to best: a ride good enough to make an SL buyer happy along with handling sharp enough to satisfy hardcore 911 drivers.

On to Germany, and the Aqua Blue C4S coupe. According to PCNA, the Sport PASM setup doesn’t alter the dam­pers, anti-roll bars, or suspension bushings, but its spring rates are roughly nine percent stiffer. Sport PASM springs drop the ride height by an additional 10 mm while the number of spring coils remains the same, at four. If that sounds like a subtle change, that matches up with our first impressions: Sport PASM just didn’t seem like much of a compromise.

Of course, roads in Germany are typically superior to those in much of the U.S. Certainly that’s true of Michigan, though Ohio’s roads in the areas we visited were generally excellent. Fortunately for this test, it seems even the Germans have the occasional patches of poor pavement these days. We found some just outside Heidel­berg, as well as less-than-smooth brick streets in several older Swabian cities.

In each case, Sport PASM surprised us with its ability to soak up lumps and bumps while taking the edge off sharp shocks. Is it every bit as good as the regular PASM system in this regard? If no, then it’s not far off. On the other hand, the Sport PASM C4S felt subtly sharper, turning in just a bit better — and its limited-slip diff is a welcome addition.

All up, we felt Sport PASM offered a sportier setup without wrecking the ride. The extra 10-mm drop in ride height was a subtle visual bonus. In fact, that may be what it comes down to. Buyers who don’t feel that the slight drop in ride height and small advantage in handling are worth the added hassle of a more vulnerable front bum­per can stick with regular PASM. As for me? It’d be Sport PASM — but I’m just glad we finally have the choice.

Also from Issue 180

  • The Forgotten 911 SC-L 3.1
  • Preview: 2011 Boxster Spyder
  • 2009 Corvette ZR1 vs. 997 GT2
  • Troutman-Barnes four-door 911S
  • Patrick Long 2010 GT3 Cup Tire Test
  • Modified 997 GT2
  • Market Update: 1989–98 911
  • Interview: Dirk Werner
  • Project Cayman: Lightweight Seats
  • How Not to Own a 944, Epilogue
  • Tech Forum: TPMS Part 1
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