Brent Co / Jenna Genio | April 25, 2016 10:49
Unfamiliar yet familiar
When Porsche announced the move to turbocharged engines from the traditional normally aspirated flat-six in the standard 911 and Carrera models, purists and hardcore fans were up in arms. How can Porsche, a sportscar maker that has stuck so faithfully to the formula of the original 911 for 50 years, suddenly make such a huge change across their purest line?
This new 911 is a step into unfamiliar -yet familiar- ground. Yes, they have their 911 Turbo variants, but this is the first time that Porsche has made their "standard" 911 and Carrera models into turbos. Porsche says the 911 is "The only car that can beat the Porsche 911"; which raises expectations for this latest and most controversial update; and they call it the 991.2.
We see if their new sports car can live up to its promise.
While still a type 991, the changes on the outside are rather subtle, just the fine details that make it a little sleeker. Up front is a new pair of Bi-Xenon projector headlamps with LED daytime running lights integrated, slimmer LED turn signals and a slightly reshaped front bumper with active intake flaps inherited from the 918 Spyder. Significantly different on the rear is the new vertical slats that represent heritage styling and gives better cooling to the turbo engine. The LED tail lamps now feature a three-dimensional styling giving it a sculpted look.
Local models are specced with a centrally-mounted sport exhaust to give it more rumble and even more sporting character. The look is finished off with the optional 20-inch Carrera Classic wheels.
Inside, the most significant change is the new steering wheel and the PDK paddleshifters which are finally properly oriented where you 'pull' to upshift and 'push' to downshift. Proper being similar to that of sequential gearbox shifters found on race cars. The Sport Chromo Package is standard for the market, which adds a centrally mounted stopwatch that allows recording of lap times, or just function as a clock on normal days. Another 'race inspired' feature is the rotary drive mode selector mounted on the steering wheel. This allows the driver to change between Normal, Sport or Sport Plus with a 'Sport Response' button that gives a momentary 'extra boost' function for 20 seconds, similar to KERS.
The new entertainment system comes with local navigation as standard and Apple CarPlay connectivity for iPhone users. The tablet inspired touchscreen is intuitive and easy to navigate. Bose audio is standard, but not enjoyed as the engine music was just a lot more appealing.
Powering the (991.2) Porsche 911 Carrera S is a new 3.0-liter flat-six twin-turbo engine which produces 420 PS and 500 Nm of torque; a 20 PS and 60 Nm bump from the previous 3.8-liter NA. As standard, local spec models are mated to a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox which the German automaker fondly calls PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplung).
Despite being turbocharged, the new engine feels very responsive, with very minimal turbo lag to allay fears of less than stellar response compared to the old naturally aspirated power mill. Receiving some amount of re-tweaking is the chassis, which feels a lot more civilized on rougher surfaces which you’ll commonly encounter in the country. On smooth roads and bends, it delivers impeccable stability and handling giving the perfect balance between comfort and performance. The selectable PASM (Porsche Active Stability Management) further enhances driving dynamics; again, it feels much more civilized on this mode even on less than perfect roads.
The car we tested does not come with the optional rear wheel steering system, but it does feel easier to drive because of the lighter engine. The RWS is expected to further reduce 'snap oversteer' effect - a common Porsche trait due to its rear mounted engine setup. You can opt to spec for the option to make yourself a 'better driver'.
After experiencing the new 991.2 Carrera S, it does validate Porsche’s decision to replace the engine with twin-turbo despite much opposition from its many fans; so much so that the remaining stocks of the 3.8-liter NA flat-six 991.1 were quickly snapped up and demand for previous models drove up.
After 4 years of the type 991, the updates to the fine details, despite minimal, do look and feel quite significant.