Porsches have always been special cars. When this new 992 generation of the iconic 911 came out it wasn’t totally my cup of tea. It was too modern, too wide and too different from the smaller Porsches of the past. Porsche knows this Porschephile syndrome 911 enthusiasts suffer from, and that forms a key part of the car’s design. So, like in these sixty years, they have only tweaked the essential bits. The wheel arches and fenders are much more pronounced. The air dams are a lot bigger now and mimicking that is the rear bumper with a wider valance in black that houses the now bigger exhausts.
The 992 is built on the strong foundations of the 991. But it’s a lot better in every possible way. The electric power steering which enthusiasts criticized at first in the 911 is now even better. It’s faster and more direct and you can feel a lot of the road underneath. The electric shaver shaped gear selector, while it doesn’t feel as manly as moving a chunky lever, is much easier to operate. You can slot between D or R in rapid succession with just a finger – handy when parking in a tight space. The seat rails are lower by 20mm to make you feel closer to the road. While the wheel track has only grown by 13mm at the rear, the car is a lot wider at the front by 50mm. This feels huge from behind the wheel on tight, narrow roads and while parking. But when you throw it around a set of corners, you appreciate how planted it is at the front.
I am not a big fan of the new pop out door handles. They are fiddly to operate and have less space to slide your fingers underneath unless you unlock via the remote beforehand. Porsche might say they are there for better aerodynamics but there was nothing wrong with the old full size door handles. The sports exhaust on this car wasn’t all that great sounding. And I don’t like the way that rear spoiler rises up, taking up some of the fenders along with it and revealing too much of the plastic underneath.
The 3.0 litre flat six turbo engine produces 385bhp and 450Nm and it took me some time to convince myself that this was actually a base 911 Carrera. It pulls so strongly that you suspect if the power and performance figures Porsche quoted, were too conservative. Verifying our doubts, our Racelogic recorded a 0-100kmph time of 3.72 seconds which is nearly three tenths faster than Porsche’s own time of 4.0 sec. Think about that for a second, because not so long ago, this would have been 911 turbo territory.
The new 8 speed PDK dual clutch gearbox has shorter ratios in the first four gears. It feels more civilised and smoother than the old 7 speed PDK but gives you lightning quick reflexes when you call upon them. The Sports Chrono pack gives you 20 seconds of overboost and that’s nice to have when going for a quick overtake or hurling yourself out of a slow corner. The engine has immense torque and feels quite eager to rev for one that’s strangled by two turbos on each bank. In older generations of the Porsche, you needed to get the Carrera S because the standard 911 felt so dull, but not in this. It is plenty fast for most and the performance is so well suited to the capabilities of the chassis, you can enjoy it more of the time. Yet it is so tractable, so easy to drive in traffic and it would even return 10kmpl on my morning commute without trying too hard.
Couple that to the great visibility, ground clearance (this one had a front lift kit fitted) and ride quality, and you quickly know why a 911 is the everyday supercar. On the standard wheels which are 19 inchers at the front and 20 at the rear, it can tackle our bad roads better than most performance sedans. It is the first time that Porsche has gone for two different wheel sizes in a standard 911 but I like the effect. The front end feels light as it is in a 911 while the rear feels substantial and quite planted. How a 911 works so well with a layout that’s flawed by design, is still something.
It does everything a sports car needs to do and more. It can be driven daily, offers 2+2 seating, it’s fast, efficient, it is easy to see out of – as for living with every day, there is no better alternative. This 992 gen is better in every possible way, being nicer to drive and much faster overall than the 991. If the base 911 Carrera is anything to go by, one can only imagine how the higher spec variants would be.
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