If there was one car that required no introduction, whether it’s from the racing roots or the ever iconic look, then it’s the Porsche 911. In its 49 years of existence, the 911 is one of the very few cars in the world that’s known by young and old.
While it’s beyond redundant to say that the current generation 911 (991) looks like its predecessor (997), the few refinements that have been made make the new 911 come as close to perfection as one could imagine. Being a fan of coupe, however, I can’t really say the same for the convertible model. Even with the top up, the sleek dynamics of the coupe cannot be achieved. But that’s not to say the convertible 911 looks bad in any way; purely a matter of personal preference.
The main visual changes of the 991 Carrera S compared to the previous gen 997 come in the form of a slightly stretched out nose emphasized by the way the oval headlamps are enclosed around the front bumper. The front grills beneath them are much larger, trimmed ever so slightly by a strip of daytime running LEDs.
From the rear you can see a significant change in the form of the very thin taillights, making the rear fenders arching slightly more. Certainly the new 911 feels more filling, but with the top down the rear end looks a bit too big for my taste.
Moving inside, we see a spacious cabin, but only send someone in the back if you want them to slowly suffocate; otherwise roll with the top down if you have to seat 3 more people in the Carrera S.
The main dashboard is as simple as it has ever been, with the focus mainly on the driving experience. Of course you have creature comforts like the cup holders built into the dash, but smartly hidden behind a nondescript panel on the passenger’s side.
The three-spoked steering wheel itself has no buttons on it, save for the LED indication of when the Carrera S is set to ‘Sports’ mode or when the ‘Launch Control’ is initiated. The five cluster instrument panel is dominated by the tachometer in the middle, with the generously numbered speedometer to its left. On the far left we see the temperate monitors for the engine. To the right of the tach is the a high-resolution computer display which shows everything from the car’s status to the name of the track being streamed via Bluetooth to a cut-out version of the map from the navigation system. All of this is accessible by a lever on the right.
Move to the center and we see the exact same layout as in the Boxter S tested a few weeks back. The 7-speed dual-clutch PDK gearbox dominates the place; with the driving assists (or rather enthusiast functions) nestling below it.
Apart from the visual changes like bringing the convertible top up or down, you can also raise the rear spoiler at the touch of a button. Additionally one of the options is to change the exhaust system, which moves the membrane around to the cabin in such a way that you get the real grunt of the engine. Not only does the Carrera S sound more savage, you can feel the engine at work through high RPMs. Of course, it nice to have the option to turn off the loud exhaust note as during highway cruises or in traffic jams, it just becomes an irritating drone after some time.
The optional start/ stop function turns off the engine when you stop at the traffic light, starting up again when you lift your foot off the brakes. It’s the same system as in the Audi, so no surprise seeing it here as VW likes to share technologies across the company.
Despite the normal suspension, the Carrera S has a somewhat stiff ride, which goes even stiffer if you want it to.
Powering the 2013 Carrera S is the famous 3.8-liter boxer 6-clylinder engine making 400HP @ 7400RPM and 440Nm torque @ 5600RPM. That’s enough to propel the 1.4-ton Carrera S from 0 to 100kmph in a blistering flat 4 seconds (in Sports Plus mode) thanks to the optional PDK gearbox. The standard Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control on the Carrera S ensures pitch perfect cornering.
Now the new 991 models bring with them the electro-mechanical power steering, which, in addition to the start/stop system actually improves fuel efficiency. When driving normally you can expect to get around 9L/ 100km.
The interior does a good job of sound isolation from the road, going so far as to subdue the engine noise as well; giving you a true Grand Tourer feel. However, at the touch of a (few) button(s) you can transform the Carrera S from a glamorously smooth and powerful GT into a lean mean racing machine. In ‘Sports Plus’ mode the suspension tightens up while the gear ratios become even more aggressive than Normal, giving you a 911 that’s ready to rip to shreds any tarmac at the slightest provocation.
And that’s essentially the base feeling about the 911, that there’s a precise measurement of power and poise which allows you to tackle any road in the world. That is the spirit of a race car, and the latest 911 carries it with as much grace and passion as its predecessors.