It's a Guy Thing

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The new 911 starts speaking to you immediately with softly spoken words, for this has never been a sportscar that needs to raise its voice to be heard amongst the clatter of pop culture insecurities. And before you know it you’ve mentally stuck out your hand and given the new Porsche member a solid friendly handshake. You just know you’ll be seeing a lot more of it from here on in – the quintessential benchmark of professionalism.  

A pace around its familiar proportions is a calm study of assessment – no radical rewrites in thinking here but enough twitches of a revolution that will guide the world’s de facto sports car through a foggy period of transition that, to pick just one, will see 911 Turbo become hybrid. 

The 992 nomenclature starts where the 991.2 left off. All engines are turbocharged, the optional design and dynamic packages you’ve come to know and the acronyms that personalize them are present and even more time-shaving than they were before. It is no secret that this current Carrera S will transform into a variety of models that will continue to illuminate areas and abilities of the car’s entire lifecycle that aren’t quite so apparent to us now. 

Even though there are always those archetypal certainties – engine shoved out to the back with the two doors leading to a 2+2 cabin and a view over the brim of the steering wheel sharpening your attention to just above the front wheels – the new 911, spoken as 992 by Porsche anoraks, is tastefully engineered to make it appear visibly fresh and simultaneously iconic. 

Engineers can’t go full clean-sheet design with the 911. Within the design are rules and restrictions that focus the mind versus other brands who are ever-changing. I sometimes wonder if Ferdinand Porsche could have realistically expected that his formula for the 911 would still triumph amidst the pressures and innovations that have developed some fifty years later. 

Porsche’s designers aren’t ready to shave the wing mirrors in lieu of cameras but they are smoothing out the bodywork where they can with forensic finesse. About time. Ferrari and McLaren minimalized their flanks a long time ago and electronically powered systems will probably soon permit smartphone unlocking. New is the lightbar. Old is the return of front lights that no longer slouch down to the bumper as well as a bolder rear spoiler integrated into the glass panel. It looks crisp, riffing on the usual 911 chords with the body ironed tautly before swelling around the wider tracks and bigger wheels. 

Porsche’s flat six, 3.0-liter engine was never going to change in configuration after one tenure in 991 and it’s now sufficiently grander than what you’ll find in a 718 which beefs up the 911’s hierarchy. But while it’s similar enough that nobody on the internet found anything new to complain about, the previous engine in the 991.2 won’t pass the new WLTP emissions tests that this one will. Even if it could, the predecessor is weaker. Neighboring the cleaner, more powerful 3.0-liter flat-six is the 8-speed gearbox, delegating overdrive to the last two ratios for efficiency – top speed is achieved in sixth. A 7-speed manual will have the same price, even though it’s a significantly cheaper thing to package. The price of purity.

Carrera and Carrera S are the comfy, around-the-clock base models and will be followed by Cabriolet versions. But the current entry-level model is not entry-level performance; to find an equivalent from Mercedes-AMG or Jaguar you’ll need to reach the furthest, priciest point on their catalog where GT-R and SVR are currently growing old. The 0-60mph point is quickly reached in 3.7 seconds. Porsche has a reputation for delivering accurate real-world testing, or famously under-reporting performance stats.

We’ve sated our bellies on the technical spec of 992 before – in fact this is my second bite at the 911. Today is different because I’m out on road and track with an impromptu wet handling parkour to start us off.  

What you need on the roads around Valencia is a compact car, a nose lift function, good visibility, navigation and active cruise control for the highways. The Carrera S is armed with all these things so it effortlessly traverses the scope of terrain ahead of it. But it’s not quite as compact as it used to be, which is always what made the 911 so wonderfully unintimidating when you misjudged something and needed an extra foot of room. Now the bigger wheel tracks take some of that margin away, although because the visibility is still so excellent you don’t really notice. 

Not too dissimilar to a 991’s pliant ride but because of the nicer cabin it feels a lot more special as it hunts down the road. The perfection of a new 911 is that it never responds with too little or too much exertion. So homogenized that nothing is overbearing or overshadows another element. A car that’s faithfully underneath you, reconciling all the information without all the post-production that comes with being rendered by pre-installed, schmoozing algorithms. It’s not a car that relies on a nine-stage traction control system to find the right level of shock and awe – we’re looking at you AMG GT R.

The GT Porsches are the intimidating specialists, but 911 Carrera and 911 Carrera S are as fluent and forgiving as a 718 GTS.

There’s astonishing grip by virtue of the bigger wheel tracks and therefore fatter tires. Even when the dial turns to illuminate Sport and Sport Plus that the 4S versions -now in the same wide, muscular body style as the S – doesn’t immediately announce itself as the king of traction. So I’d leave that box unchecked for our climate, tease the backside’s flirty nature in the dry and stay safe under the guardianship of Wet Mode.

Inside the position of the key stub and the central rev counter are famous harbingers to the 911’s lineage. Now Porsche must deal with the quandary of iconic retention amid transformative changes that elevate it to a new realm. Not only does the cabin mimic Cayenne, but arguably the cabin is this way because of Cayenne’s success and the profits it has reaped for Porsche. The 992 owes a lot to Cayenne, which is why other sportscar brands are trying to follow the formula. Customizable digital displays, a new 10-inch touchscreen, a less cluttered layout interspersed with a tile of fixed buttons, including ESC off – which you’d have no trouble getting a finger to during one of Valencia’s fast climbing curves. 

Materials for one, and the perfect click feedback are not complicit with the usual incongruous foibles of a single-faceted sportscar and while the connected services on board or the autonomous are interspersed around you, 911 hasn’t lost a second of focus. A cossetting cabin which makes going very quickly very easy, it serves to only blast open the chasm between itself and sportscar makers. 

The 991 Carrera is in immortal health as the new benchmark that most engineers can’t resist comparing their own set of notes to. Carrera S plants the seeds in fertile soil for what will grow and branch off as GTS and Turbo. Cars of this nature are usually polarized by idiosyncrasies or compromises but Porsche has lifted the burden of building the best sportscar up another level. 


The 992 has a carbon-fiber brake-pedal stem from the 918 that weighs less than the old aluminum one. A 41 percent saving


The Nurburgring time is 7m30s, five seconds faster versus the 991.