Andre Lam’s First Take On The New Porsche 911 (Type 992) Carrera S In Munich.
P: Daniel Wollstein and Rossen Gargolov
The Porsche 911 now enters its eight generation with the release of the 992 series 911. Outwardly the 992 looks similar to the 991 it replaces but there is an added element of sexiness thanks to a few styling tweaks. At first brush it would seem the stylists are trying too hard to make the entire Porsche model range look like one big happy family but it does get better with familiarity.
The 911 has come a long way since its 1963 air-cooled ancestor. In the 56 years one thing has remained unchanged and that is the rear-engine layout and thankfully it remains a flat six but for how much longer remains to be seen. Against all odds the rear-engine layout has survived but there has been considerable effort by Porsche to ensure that it remains not just a viable layout but indeed an all conquering one with record lap times at the Nurburgring circuit to prove it.
More than ever before, the 911 Carrera looks so hunkered down and purposeful as if the body is just draped over the huge wheels. It has to be said that these are the largest set of wheels ever offered on a 911 Carrera and they are actually staggered not just in width but diameter as well being 20 inch in front and 21 inch at the rear.
With the passing of the 991.2 the narrow body that was characteristic of the Carrera family is gone, replaced with the wider body of the GT3/GTS with up to 45mm more width at the front and nearly as much at the rear. This gives the 992 Carrera S the wide stance that had characterised the more sporty 911 variants. No doubt this wider track enhances dynamic performance as much as it does the aesthetics.
On the inside the architecture is not a complete departure from that of the 991. It now resembles the current range of Porsches with gloss black surfaces hiding touch controls and much of the changes come from the need to accommodate the new 10.9 inch central LCD infotainment touchscreen. The central air vents now exit below the screen and just above the central console.
The instrument cluster now has discrete round dials unlike the overlapping ones in the 991. A large central analogue tachometer dominates and is flanked by two configurable LCD screens that will display a host of information apart from the usual speed, engine temp and remaining fuel. The biggest consternation is the shrinking of the gear lever to a tiny gear toggle switch. It just feels odd for a Porsche to do without a gear lever but perhaps it’s preparing us for the all electric Taycan.
The new 9A2evo turbocharged 3-litre flat six engines now has 450 hp which is 30 hp more than previously. Its efficiency has been increased by an improved injection process using 200 bar pressure and a new layout for the turbochargers along with its charge air-cooling system. Compression ratio is increased from 10:1 to 10.2:1 and the torque has improved from 500 Nm to 530 Nm between 2300 to 5000 rpm.
The power is delivered by a newly developed eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. The 7th and the new 8th ratios are heavily overdriven to reduce fuel consumption leaving 6th to attain the remarkable 308 km/h top speed. Interestingly the housing of the PDK gearbox is larger than it needs to be, providing enough space for an electric motor suggesting that there will be hybrid 992 by or at the mid-life face lift.
Construction of the 992 is similar to the 991 but there has been a considerable increase in the use of aluminium body parts to help reduce steel parts from 63% previously to just 30% presently to help keep weight down. It is then a bit disappointing to learn that the new 992 Carrera S is still around 55 kg heavier but we should not forget that the body is now a widebody and we should really be comparing with the 1470 kg Carrera GTS but that still makes it 45 kg heavier.
992 Carrera S 1,515 kg DIN
991 Carrera S 1,460 kg DIN
991 Carrera GTS 1,470 kg DIN
The extra weight can be explained by the bigger staggered wheels and tyres which allow the use of larger rear brakes which increased from 330mm to 350mm. Do not forget there is new active aerodynamics front and rear plus a new 8 speed PDK with larger housing. A stronger bodyshell increases rigidity by 5% over the previous one and there is more equipment in the 992. We hoped there would be no weight increase but having the extra goodies here helps offset that.
Considerable attention to the new active aerodynamics allows the optimal amount of downforce for each drive mode. The rear spoiler consists of the entire rear portion of the deck lid and is lifted to one of three positions to balance the downforce from the front. The front also has active elements to divert airflow to or from the ducts to control cooling drag and downforce.
Up to 90 km/h the rear spoiler remains in the closed or retracted position. Once beyond 90 km/h in Normal drive mode, it will extend slightly to Eco position to reduce aero drag up to 150km/h. Past that it extends fully to the Performance position maximising downforce and remains up even when top speed is reached.
In Sport or Sport Plus the rear spoiler quickly extends to Performance position once past 90 km/h. If for some reason the engine is running hot the spoiler extends at 60 km/h to increase engine cooling. Also to compensate for an open sunroof at over 90 km/h the rear spoiler goes straight to fully extended as well.
At the front the active cooling flaps act as active aerodynamic devices. In Normal mode the flaps are completely closed between 70 km/h and 150 km/h. Above 150km/h the flaps begin to open and at 170 km/h are fully open. With the sunroof open the flaps open earlier at 120 km/h to mitigate the disrupted airflow. And in Sport or Sport Plus the flaps are always open for max cooling and downforce.
The provision of a “Wet mode” feature is possibly the world’s first. This system detects the characteristic sound of water splashing on the underside of the wheel arches and puts the electronic stability system on notice activating the first level response which is to increase the sensitivity of the stability control and the PTM (Porsche Traction Management).
It also activates a wet warning light next to the tachometer. It is then up to the driver to take the next step by manually switching to wet mode. This will then put the engine and transmission into a more docile mood. Throttle response and power delivery is more muted so as not to upset the handling balance caused by loss of traction through coarse power application.
To help counter aquaplaning and enhance wet grip the rear active spoiler is in the Performance position and the front flaps are fully open at 90 km/h to generate more downforce to exert more load on the tyre contact patches. True to form Porsche says this mode is not going to limit peak power nor top speed. It also says this mode is useful during winter as well.
Porsche has also introduced a Brake Assist accident mitigation system. At the first stage, the system warns the driver visually and acoustically of an impending accident/crash. Second stage is an autonomous braking jolt if the driver is slow to react to danger or if he reacts late and with too little braking it will assist the driver to apply the full emergency brake force. Finally if the driver has failed to react at all, an automatic emergency braking operation is initiated to mitigate the consequences of a collision.
Also available are systems to assist keeping in lane, or active cruise control that maintains a safe distance behind traffic ahead and blind spot warning system called Lane-change assist. Moving away from core Porsche systems but nonetheless a must-have for younger buyers is the Porsche Connect App that connects one’s iPhone or Android phones to the infotainment system. Porsche has also developed a Porsche Track Precision App that will help display some performance telemetry on your phone.
The new steering wheel has the not-very-attractive but superbly functional rotary mode (optional, comes with Sport Chrono) selector dial though now it is just labelled Drive mode rather than the individual modes itself. The center of which is a button that when pressed gives an overboost performance lift of around 20 seconds. The dial lets you select Normal, Wet, Sports and Sports Plus and displays you selection on the center screen.
With the optional Sport Chrono comes a proper launch control to achieve the remarkable sub 4 second sprint time. Without this option the car still launches but much less aggressively and is more representative of everyday driving styles. But like most buyers, not being able to hit the stated 3.7 seconds to 100 km/h no matter how rarely is still something they are not willing to live without.
Chassis rigidity reaches a new zenith and this is borne out by the imperturbable feeling one gets when driving the 992. Despite the obviously oversized 20/21 inch wheels and tyres the 992 rides with surprising comfort and control thanks to the Pirelli P-Zero tyres. The steering accuracy is superb, among the very best but not quite at the level of the GT3 despite having a 11% quicker steering rack.
Those who purchase the optional rear wheel steering system will enjoy sharper handling without the need of firm springing. However Porsche took the opportunity to increase spring and damper rates such that at high speeds only the Normal mode provides a balanced GT-type cruise. At autobahn speeds Sport mode is slightly too firm. One can engage Sport or Sport Plus on smoother roads or in the mountains where speeds are not that high and the extra body control comes in useful.
The satisfying power delivery of the 992 Carrera S has enough performance to beat the mighty 480 hp 997.1 Turbo. With a 0-100 km/h sprint of 3.7 seconds the Carrera S is 0.2 seconds quicker than before but it is the rapid and decisive kickdown response of the new PDK that impresses. Turbo lag is completely hidden by the clever shift program so that you could believe this is naturally aspirated.
In effect the 992 Carrera is the previous GTS being almost identical in power and performance. The entry level 911 is now worthy of the respect given to the remarkable 911 GTS, arguably the best non-Motorsport GT car Porsche makes and you can have it for the price of a Carrera S.
Car: Porsche 992 Carrera S
Engine: 2981cc, 24-valves, Flat six with twin turbos
Transmission: 8-Speed PDK
Power: 450 hp at 6500 rpm
Torque: 530 Nm at 2300-5000 rpm
0-100 km/h: 3.7 seconds
Top Speed: 308 km/h
Fuel Consumption: 8.9 l/100km (Euro spec)