For a moment, I ponder why its acceleration figures are so close to the 992’s for, in truth, the older car feels far faster. And then I realise: old tyre technology, no instant shifting, no launch control, no traction control, and still it loses only 0.1sec to 62mph compared with a brand-new 911.
Of course, there would be no contest at all point to point. The 959 has an engaging chassis and those Bridgestones grip hard despite being mounted on skinny rims of just 17in diameter. But you can feel every year of progress in the 992’s grip and composure, and while I didn’t much feel like smoking the 959’s brakes, I know it would lag even further behind the 992 when it came to stopping power. Also, being Porsche’s first stab at four-wheel drive, there is no space in the nose for a boot, whereas the 992 offers rather generous amounts of luggage space.
But the question is: do they feel related? And the answer is that they do, but distantly. They share that sense of engineering integrity, some elements of their sounds and shapes, and positioning as long-distance touring cars as well as being out and out sports cars. And so normal does the 959 feel that you could even end up being disappointed by it. At least until you hit 4800rpm, whereafter your brain will be well and truly boggled.
More than anything, I loved the 959’s split personality, the way it was so civilised until the right moment presented itself, at which point it turned into a quite magnificent maniac. In that regard, the 992 Carrera 4S is perhaps not the correct modern equivalent after all, despite their on-paper similarities. What’s needed is a car with a superbly flexible engine that is nevertheless capable of entirely overwhelming even the best developed of all-wheel-drive Porsche platforms.