Carrera 3.0 Review in Sport Auto Magazine, January 1976

The German magazine, Sport Auto, in a special issue for January 1976, provides perhaps the definitive contemporary road test of a Carrera 3.0.

Under the banner heading ‘Power Tool’ the celebrated German motoring journalist Dirk-Michael Conrad reviewed just about every aspect of the new Carrera 3.0, in the process comparing it to its 2.7 Carrera predecessor and to the contemporary 930 Turbo.

In terms of outright performance the article noted that the car was more refined but also quicker than its predecessor, something that the author put down to several factors:

‘Firstly this is because of the enlargement of 300 cc: the three litre engine, enlarged by 5mm compared to the previous 2.7 litre – and up until now only available in the Turbo – is now used in the Carrera. The torque remains similar to its predecessor at 26mkp but for the 1976 model year is available at 4200 rpm, in comparison to its predecessors’ 5000 rpm. Finally, it is undoubtedly due to the choice of k-Jetronic…replacing the previous, more direct mechanical inlet manifold injection. ‘

The overall effect was a more civilised (but still exhilarating) drive than that of the earlier car:

‘When shifting, a somewhat softer power delivery lessens the typical Carrera aggressiveness; one has the impression that the power is put down in a less nervous way…Luckily, there are no compromises made at the absolute performance level.’

The performance compared more than favourably as well, at times noticeably so:

‘…the legendary Porsche fist treats its passengers to an unimpaired punch. Only 6.3 seconds pass when the speedometer indicates 100 km/h. Thus, the 1976 Carrera is actually a tenth of a second faster than its 210 PS predecessor. Largely identical values are to be observed at the typical km/h markers: up until 180km/h the new car gains 0.2 seconds with 21 seconds in comparison to its predecessor.’

All this was down to the new car’s improved torque:

‘A comparison of power delivery diagrams explains the miracle: up until 5000 rpm, the three litre machine delivers considerably more power then the 2.7 litre. At 2000 rpm, 73 PS are available as opposed to the 2.7 litres’ 55 PS, at 3000 rpm the ratio is 115 : 85 PS and at 4000 rpm the ratio is 156 : 138 PS. The three litre is also more powerful at 5000 rpm with 187 PS where its predecessor delivers 180 PS. Only over that marker can the old Carrera finally get by and overtake. That is also the explanation for the slightly higher top speed of the old Carrera at 239km/h which, after an hour driving, will be 4 km further afield then the Carrera 3.0.’

The report notes that these impressive performance figures are:

‘even more remarkable as the new car not only has less overall power, but is also 45 kg heavier due to sound insulation…’

…and highlights the characteristic camminess of the Carrera’s new engine, which encourages drivers to maintain high revs as a means of getting the most out of it:

‘Unfulfilled bite up to 4000 rpm is followed by a decent kick when the torque comes really into action before moving into third gear you already reach 100 km/h so, on A-roads, you should start lifting your right foot already. The third gear is easy to slot into, by now you turn the stereo-radio off in order to better appreciate the engine sound, 150 km/h: fourth gear, the car doesn’t stop to pull and continues to progress, 190 km/h and move into 5th all the way to the top.’

As part of its road test the Carrera was put through its paces at the Hockenheim circuit, and the author provides a first hand account of how to make the most of the car’s sensational handling:

‘A first timid round on the Hockenheim circuit provides us with an almost textbook mild understeer with pleasant light steering. When you lift the accelerator in a bend, the Carrera moves good-natured into neutrality. This is courage inspiring. So we enter the next turn a bit more energetic: still understeering, albeit a bit more pronounced, the bushes next to the ameisen turn- in silently call you, weight transfer and there: the rear overtakes you. That’s not how to do it.

Therefore, slowly into the next turn, an empathic progressive acceleration and: yes, now it comes together. With mild overhanging rear and with very slight counter steering it gobbles the bend. It has sniffed blood: faster. Somehow it doesn’t require marking the bend anymore: the car circles – gently controlled and steered by the accelerator – on the fast line of the asphalt. A miracle of traction, not a single wheelspin, all power geared towards progress: it’s intoxicating.’

And for its time, the Carrera’s breaking system proved massively inspiring as well:

‘ An impressive performance is also provided by the 4 inner ventilated disk brakes…by a warmed up braking system the car sets a Sport Auto record: 8.3m/sec3 whilst cold the brakes decrease the vehicle with a very convincing 7.6m/sec3.’

Comparing it to the Turbo, the report noted that the Carrera 3.0 offered a different, and possibly more engaging, driving experience. The Turbo was a car for fast motorway and long-distance cruising, whilst the Carrera was more suited to active driving:

‘In short: A turbo is more a sports car for level-headed people whilst the Carrera attracts more dynamic characters. It would be ideal however, when your garage housed both a turbo and a Carrera: one for the motorways and one for the A-roads.’

Finally, the article summarised the quintessential characteristics that made the car, like all 911s, so desirable:

‘It is only once properly installed behind the small steering wheel, falling boot lid in eyesight, a beefy engine behind, that one realises what one acquires with a Porsche: pure driver’s pleasure.’

And, from earlier in the article, a single line that sums up something of the continuing appeal of the Carrera 3.0:

‘…a full bore accelerating Carrera 3.0 will stimulate your senses and is an acoustic delight.’

Translation: Bert Roex
Scans: Martin Merell (Martin – C3 Registry number 112 – is an official with the Porsche Club Sweden. His car – and tractor – appeared in edition Number 46 of 911 & Porsche World in 1997. A scan of the article can be seen below. Thanks to Martin for his permission to use it on the site)

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