I recently attended a Porsche dealer’s launch of the new “911”.It was a sunny day and I thought what the heck – I’ll drive my 1972 911 T/ST there since they were showing examples of the six previous generations of Porsche’s venerable rear-engined “sports car” (there are actually seven including the SWB ’64-68, but who’s counting.)

No doubt about it, the 991 is a beautiful car. Faster than the 997, and significantly bigger. The rear seats are roomier, and interior noise level is at an all-time low… Want to know who were the folks showing theleat interest in the 991 and the most interest in my comparatively tiny 1972 911? The dealership’s mechanics. They wanted one just like it.

The 991 completes the 911’s transition to luxury high performance grand touring car. It’s smaller and sportier than the 4-door Panamera, but not what some might consider compact. When someone uses the term “sports car” they are usually referring to a car that is compact, nimble, seats two adults, and imparts the appropriate sensory experience. That role has apparently been inherited in the Porsche line-up by the Cayman/Boxster.

The third generation Porsche Boxster (981) will be available in April. This is a stunning looking car, with it’s all-new side intakes and Carrera GT/918 styling cues. The mid-engined body and chassis are heavily redesigned with lots of aluminum. And even though the footprint is larger than before it doesn’t make this model look oversized. With the 315 HP 3.4L “S” motor option, it should feel sufficiently sporty for most enthusiasts. A newly designed hardtop Cayman is due to follow. Just hope the interior feels as spacious as my smaller 40 year old 911.

Porsche’s advertising and photographs are top notch as usual. My sensibilities are not really affected by the numerous references to the 550 and RS 60 Spyders, but let’s hope that any future models named “R” or “GTS” actually are…

Update 6-12-12: Helmut Becker, a former chief economist at BMW who now runs a consulting firm in Munich, said Porsche’s new-found passion for big cars made business sense, even if it turns away purists. “Two-seater sports cars are completely uneconomical, their customer base is shrinking,” Becker told Reuters. “Even a classical sports car maker has a right to broaden its portfolio.” Well that explains the Cayenne SUV…

(Photographer: Unknown, courtesy Porsche)