2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S
When you’re offered an opportunity to spend a weekend in Germany driving one of your favourite sportscars in the world (yes Porsche please take note of this sentence.. ehm ehm), what do you say? HELL YEA!!!
There’s no tougher design mandate than keeping something the same while at the same time making it better. That has been Porsche’s mission for quite some time: to keep 911 purists happy while making the car faster, safer, and more comfortable. At first glance, this new 992-generation Porsche 911 doesn’t look like a new 911, but as you’d expect, once on the move, everything is new about the latest creation. It’s modern without being vogueish, relevant while somehow still standing apart - these are the contradictions at the heart of the 911’s unique appeal, not to mention its continued and rampant success thanks to its uninterrupted sale for 55 years! So to find out just how good it has become we needed to test it out for ourselves, not only on the world famous Autobahn but on Porsche’s very own Leipzig testing circuit.
The 992 combines classic Porsche 911 cues and carryovers from the previous (991) model with a few new touches. Despite the same-again looks, the bodyshell is all new. All models will now come with the same wider rear arches previously reserved for all-wheel-drive models, so the only distinguishing feature between the two launched models - Carrera S and Carrera 4S - is a piece of trim above the tail lights. The rear end also adopts the full-width light bar used in all of the Porsche’s latest models. Under the skin, there’s more power from the flat-six turbocharged engine, along with a few chassis alterations which for the first time include different size wheels for the front & rear and a new, eight-speed automatic gearbox.
How’s it on the inside?
The interior’s been given a serious dose of class, but the clear driver focus remains. You still get the good-old-fashioned analogue rev counter, flanked by digital instruments rather than a fully digital panel that most manufacturers seem to go with. The driving position is perfect and endlessly adjustable, with comfortable seats that hug your body just enough without being too tight. In the tech department, the updated new technology draws an ideal line between intrusive and useful. The central screen is large, super-responsive and crystal clear and although the removal of the large button panels from the centre console will rile some people, there’s no denying it tidies up the cabin.
Let’s talk engine!
The only options customers have at the moment is whether they’d like two-or four-wheel-drive as there is only the Carrera S and Carrera 4S to choose from. Both use the same rear-mounted flat-six engine, producing 450hp and 530Nm of Torque. A seven-speed manual gearbox (that’s right, Porsche says they will always make a manual) won’t arrive until next year, so an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic is all that’s available at the moment. As for performance, it’s as impressive as the numbers suggest: 444hp at 6,500rpm and will do 0 -100 km/h in 3.5 seconds. It’s a superb engine. Despite the turbochargers, throttle response is crisp, and there’s ample power nearly up to the 7,400rpm line. The metallic roar of the flat-six sounds epic too, and there’s more than enough poke to have some exhilarating moments in the bends.
What’s it like on the move?
After picking up our 911 from the Porsche factory at Zuffenhausen, which is right next to the stunning Porsche Museum (which is a must visit) the first thing we did was hit the Autobahn. With an iconic machine pushing 444bhp from its twin-turbo 3.0-liter flat-six engine, it’s hard not to try and find the fastest stretch of road around. Thankfully, Germany is epic, and there are still many unrestricted stretches of the Autobahn around Stuttgart. Before we knew it, we were doing speed well in excess of 200km/h (more like 280). And the best part - IT WAS ENTIRELY LEGAL! No moroor, No checkpoints, and No damn speeding cameras! Once on the move, we learned a few things about the new 911.
Each new 911 generation has been more stable under acceleration, braking, and cornering—thus easier to drive—than the last, and this one doesn’t break with tradition. Slightly heavier than the 991.2, owing in part to that hybrid-ready transmission housing, the 992 retains the same predictable chassis responses and crispness at the front axle. Porsche’s sophisticated raft of tech, including actuated anti-roll bars (PDCC), rear axle steering, and performance-tuned active dampers (PASM Sport) all show up here. Find a good road, dial up the Sport setting, drop the hammer, and the 911 attacks and slithers through corners like a pit viper, begging for ever quicker inputs from all limbs, and punching out of corners with railgun-like alacrity. Put the selector in Normal mode, the 911 is more compliant than ever, with the PDK and dampers conspiring to engage in luxury-car cosplay. But dial to Sport Plus, the 911 demonstrates why it’s still the best value for money super sports car in the world.
A new feature with the 992 is the “Wet Mode.” It’s a new safety system that uses acoustic sensors in the wheel wells to predict wet-weather scenarios. Then, the system suggests the driver to manually choose Wet Mode, which sets a less aggressive throttle and PDK mapping, adjusts ABS and tweaks stability control thresholds to offer the best control. Adaptive aero goes into full drag mode as well. Another bit we must mention is the new 911 now comes with a wider track, and 305-width tires over the rear 21-inch rims (staggered, with 20-in units up front), the 992’s grip is ruthlessly brutal on and off camber. That familiar at-the-hips swivel, better suited to aggressive trail braking than ever, still predominates. It’s a shame, so few Carreras will spend time on a circuit because it’s here the car feels most at home. Speaking of home, we will be more than happy to take this new baby out to our BIC track for another test, just sayin’.
Overall, our time in Germany gave us all the insight we needed on this vastly loved Porsche Icon. The 992 is of course, tremendously fast across the ground when you want it to be, but the satisfaction comes from being able to make use of the car’s power with confidence. You can use all 444-horsepower with as much aggression as you want because the chassis inspires confidence, dialing you into the grip so that you know just how much more throttle you can use. The engine itself is a masterpiece and hard to fault. We simply just can’t get enough of this car, and we’re confident that you won’t either.