Sometimes it seems as though there are more varieties of

" target="_blank" >Porsche 911 than almost any other single model of motor car currently on the market. Porsche's core model, the 'icon' from which it derives everything from its engineering philosophy through to its design language, is available in a wide variety of flavours, from the entry-level Carrera right through to the GT2 RS, a lightweight, track-focused device that more than holds its own with the world's fastest supercars and costs some two and a half times more than its sibling.

This is true breadth of ability and goes some way to justifying the 911's fundamentals. Over the course of nearly 50 years since the car's debut, successive iterations have honed the premise until the end result is razor sharp, a killer one-liner if you like, practised and practised until utterly perfect. It's often said that those who drive Porsche sports cars are largely immune to any lingering antipathy the brand might have gathered over the years, for they know full well that the car they're sitting in is a delight to drive. Sports cars are a statement, and the 911's combination of ubiquity and design conservatism is pretty muted in these days of increasingly conspicuous consumption.

Of all the 911 variants, it is the 911 Carrera GTS that walks the line between everyday functionality and the relentlessness of the more track-focused high-end models. On any road surface the steering feels alive and direct and power is never lacking. By mixing and matching some of the best bits from pricier 911s, like a wider track body and a discrete bodykit, with the functional brilliance of the basic car - compact size, all-round visibility, almost total practicality (apart from the rather miserly luggage space) - you get a car that comes very close to being all things to all people.

Sure, there are those stubborn people for whom the Porsche badge will never hold any appeal. But we suspect they're the ones who have never actually driven one. As always, there's an all-new 911 waiting in the wings, and all past indications are that it'll be better than ever before. Right now, however, it looks like the Carrera GTS will live on as true contemporary classic.

TAGS: PORSCHE