The Gen 2 991 Porsche 911 Carrera caused a little bit of a stir when it was announced in 2015. Both the Carrera and Carrera S models would have their engine capacities cut to 3 litres and become turbocharged. So the non 911 Turbo is now turbocharged. Die-hard Porsche fans winced and I must admit, I was uncertain – but why? Why don’t people trust the manufacturer who have been evolving their flagship model for over half a century? It’s as if they think they know better. This is why they’re wrong.
The car available for me to test was the Carrera S with the seven-speed manual gearbox. It now has 420hp from a turbocharged 3 litre flat-six and made the unmistakable 911 growl on ignition; So far, so good.
From inside the cabin, you would never know it was turbocharged. With Sport engaged on the new steering wheel mounted ‘mode switch’ and the sports exhaust active, when you stretch the engine above 4,000rpm, the rear-mounted boxer engine still howls excitedly. There is also no obvious sensation of turbocharging, unlike the experience in the 911 Turbo models. There is certainly an increase in the torque curve which arrives at 1,700rpm, but this is offered in a completely smooth and linear manner, still feeling naturally aspirated. This is achieved by turbochargers which are fitted with modified turbine compressors, a specific exhaust system and a tuned engine management system which combine to create the typical 911 driving experience; soulful, responsive and involving.
Available as an option on the new 911 Carrera S models is the active rear-axle steering, first seen on the 911 Turbo and GT3. This makes the already capable Carrera S even more agile and enhances stability at high speed. This technology is truly ground-breaking and corners can be taken without the need for trail braking or peeling away from the throttle. A balanced throttle and gentle pour of the steering wheel is all that is required for the car to respond confidently.
Although there is a very strong argument for the PDK transmission (that is Porsche’s super intuitive double-clutch gearbox, also used in the 911 GT3), I would still order my own 911 Carrera with three pedals. The seven-speed manual gearbox is lovely. The throw and feel as you stir from one cog to the next is slick with a quality weight which guides the gearlever securely into position. As you involve yourself with this process, with Sport mode engaged, each time you change down a gear or two, there is an automatic throttle blip as the gear is selected, which executes a perfect rev match.
This test car was on standard brakes with 6-piston calipers at the front axle and 4-piston at the rear. These are plenty strong enough for harder use and respond with a confident and natural progression the further you lean on the pedal, without starting to weaken under sustained pressure.
For me, a Porsche is a special car. The crest gets under your skin. I think this is why there is so much uncertainty toward the brand when change is announced. However, those who criticised the change soon go quiet as they realise Porsche have delivered yet again; case in point being the launch of the 991 in 2012.
Engine Size: 3.0 litre, flat-six, 24 valve, rear-mounted
Top Speed: 191 mph
Power: 420 hp
Torque: 369 lb ft
Transmission: Seven-speed manual
Driven Wheels: Rear
0-62 mph: 4.3 seconds
Combined MPG: 32.5
Kerb Weight: 1515kg
OTR Price: £85,857
Star Rating: * * * * *