This is one topic that will make Porsche purists sweat with derision. Porsche is generally regarded amongst loyalists as a marque that doesn’t just keep up with the times, but also one that doesn’t forget its origins. The look has yet to change since the mid 60s, yet despite the gradually progressive styling, it hasn’t hampered its recognition as the world’s best selling sports car.
In over half a century of the 911 moniker, the brand has insisted beyond all else that the layout be left untouched by time and design. Until now, the engine still hangs over the rear axle. Porsche purists scoffed in contempt when, at the turn of the millennium, the German company decided that the traditionally air-cooled powerhouse would give way to liquid cooling. The 996 thus represented one of the biggest changes to the denomination.
Turbocharging was first introduced in 1975 with the 930 model. Porsche had been developing this technology since the early sixties and, in a bid to bow to FIA rulings in order to go racing, Porsche introduced the 930 model. Many moons have passed since that momentous decision, and the Turbo badge was reserved for the higher performing models of the 911 range.
However, with changing winds of stringent environmental regulations blustering stronger by the day, Porsche had to comply. Engines are now cleaner, more efficient and frugal as a result. Displacement has taken a dive without sacrificing power. While some may say that Porsche hadn’t bothered with styling, they’ve spent their time honing and perfecting the 911-trademarked recipe. Sounds all good and swell – on paper atleast.
With this ‘new’ 991 model, nothing much has changed in terms of looks, with the exception of a couple of new vents at both extremities in the lower rear quadrant of the bumper to channel hot air from the intercoolers. Other than that, all the changes are under the skin. Starting with the business end of a Porsche.
Traditionally, to extract more power from the engine, you need bigger displacement, as is the case of the recently launched GT3 RS with its 4.0-litre flat-six engine. Turbocharging effectively reduces the displacement area needed for more power. The mill that sits in the new 911 is 3.0-litres in displacement. That being said, kerb weight of the all-aluminium block is also lower than before.
In base Carrera guise it churns out 370 hp while the Carrera S flavour makes 420 hp. In both cases, this represents a power boost of 20 hp over their predecessors, thanks in part to modified turbine compressors, a trick exhaust system and tuned engine management. Torque figures on both models have surged upwards with this new shift, with a maximum of 450 Nm and 500 Nm respectively, delivered constantly from 1,700 rpm up to 5,000 rpm.
The 911 Carrera, together with the brand’s PDK and Sport Chrono Package, sprints from standstill to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds. The hotter S variant breaks the magic three-second mark at 3.9 seconds. Top speeds of both models have also increased further; the 911 Carrera now has a top speed of 295 km/h – an increase of 7 km/h, while the 911 Carrera S now reaches 307 km/h, up by 5 km/h.
The new Carrera comes with a rotary “mode switch” selector (borrowed from the 918 Spyder) that allows drivers to change driving modes on the fly, choosing between Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual. The PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) chassis lowers the ride height by 10 mm, is now a standard feature of every Carrera model. It improves stability during fast cornering. At the same time, new dampers enhance comfort thanks to the precise response characteristic as well as improving body control during spirited drives.
On the inside, nothing much has changed besides the new Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system. The 7-inch display works just like a smartphone and supports Apple CarPlay as well. All the bells and whistles that you’d come to expect from Porsche is present here too.
As it stands, the new 911 is now on sale in the UK with deliveries slated for December. Prices start from £76,412 (RM505,578) for the base Carrera model and £85,857 (RM568,071) for the Carrera S guise.