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The Porsche 992 911: the Benchmark Sports Car for 56 Years and Counting

Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally, it comes from what you do consistently and if there is one manufacturer who understands that, its name is Porsche. While other German competitors may have a tendency to launch models in all possible shapes and sizes, Porsche’s approach to their line up tends to be more focused. 56 years of “luftgekühlt” (air-cooled) and water-cooled engined Porsches have all led to this: the new 8th generation 911, the 992. Porsche’s diligence when it comes to combining the old and the new is what keeps us all hooked, generations after generations. One thing is certain, they did not disappoint with this new 911 992 Carrera 4S.

In a world that is driven by the latest and newest, the past can sometimes feel like a burdensome, far away illusion. Yet when traditions are cherished and their boundaries pushed to new limits, they become a meaningful and valuable asset. This is precisely what we can all admire when looking at a 911’s silhouette.

Approaching the car from the front,

the 992 does not seem to differ greatly from the previous 991 model. However, the difference lies in Porsche taking a step away from rounded shapes to give the car more pronounced angles. The 992 now looks more mature and more aerodynamic than ever. Vents both at the front and back have been enlarged and shaped more rectangularly. The new sculpted hood gives the car a sharper and sportier look, reminiscing the older shapes of the first generation Porsches. Disappointing a few purists, Porsche enlarged the body size of the 911. The 992 is a little longer (+25mm), a little wider (+45mm) and a little heavier (+50kg, even though made with more aluminium), but all of this is mostly for the better as evolving means improving performance as we’ll see later on. And that’s all? Far from it. New flushed door handles have been installed and not only do they look sleek, they also conveniently come out as you unlock the car. Even from inside, the heavy door lightly pushes itself out for you as you open it.

However, the most dramatic modifications are to be found at the back with the new avant-garde taillight that spans across the back of the car. Because the 992 is smaller in size, the futuristic tail light gives it even more presence in comparison to its siblings like the Macan or Cayenne. Above it, the 911 displays new vertical plastic slats under which sits… two fans, and that is as much as you’ll see of the engine. Finally, the rear bumper is now an organized space that hosts the vents, exhaust tips and number plate.

Just like the exterior, the interior feels like a modern echo to older models.

The most distinctive aspect is the horizontal, rectangular shapes of the dashboard that faithfully carry the earlier Porsche designs. Similarly, the instrument cluster remains as we all know it, with its iconic 5 circular dials spread across. To keep traditions and modernize them, only one central analog tachometer was kept, while the other four dials are now digital. We just wish they kept details like cupholders the way they were, as we mostly used this central cup holder as a key holder.

Continuing with Porsche screens, the center 11” screen is incredibly precise and sharp. It truly invites the passengers to touch the ultra-responsive display, use Apple CarPlay, enjoy the HD 360° view when parking and so on. But no touchscreen is perfect. For example, it can be slightly challenging to stay focused on the road while pressing the buttons on screen, such as turning the sports exhaust on or off.

Another very satisfying improvement is the infotainment system’s new metallic knurled knobs. Customizable infotainment keys, volume buttons, driving mode buttons and gear knob have all been standardized to this new design. “But isn’t this gear knob a little… inadequate?” It undeniably is. Not only is it small but switching gears aggressively with the gear knob won’t be an option in this new 911 and you will have to stick to paddle shifters. In Porsche’s defense, the uniformity in all of these buttons makes the transition somewhat smooth. It ultimately gives the interior an organized, modern look. Very German to say the least.

Yet this organized simplicity doesn’t mean austere. Our Gentian Blue Porsche was paired with a beige leather interior and True Brown seatbelts, making it a very pleasant option-packed space to be in for long drives. On top of a gorgeous view of the wheel arches from the side mirrors, the interior is generous in terms of space and comfort. The front seats are heated and ventilated and there is also plenty of space to stretch your legs… which means the foldable back seats will on the contrary be very tight. They will still remain very useful when in need of extra seats or extra luggage space.

All of this does indeed come with an expensive price tag of ¥21,734,000 (approx. $200,000; £160,000) that includes ¥4,014,000 (approx. $37,000; £30,000) worth of options from necessary performance-related ones like PDCC (Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control) and all-wheel steering to questionable ones like having coloured logos on the center wheel caps.

Under the hood, or shall we say “hidden under the slats”,

is a 3.0L twin turbo at six that produces 443 hp at 6500 rpm and capable of hitting 0-100km/h in 3.6s. We are all happily greeted with another at six engine entering the 911 family and despite turbo complaints from the “it used to be better before” crowd, the two new turbochargers do help the engine perform in a more efficient way with minimal turbo lag. From inside the cabin and alongside all the road noise, you can clearly hear the turbos get to work every time you put your foot on the throttle. Once you release the throttle in Sport Mode with valves open, it’s a symphony of pops and bangs. The 992’s well balanced exhaust notes will satisfy many.

And so will the performance. The most surprising feeling when driving this 992 is how well it complements the driver. Porsche’s brilliant engineering allows the car to have incredible grip and a mind blowing gearbox that will highlight an accomplished driver’s skills and accompany a more amateur driver onto the roads.

Porsche is known for its grippy cars and the 992 is no exception. The extra millimeters added to the body of the 992 come in handy as the widened front and rear tracks help with better balance and grip. The engine mounts have been moved 20cm forward to increase balance as well. With the Carrera 4S being AWD, the power is delivered to all four wheels as needed. The massive 20” and 21” front and rear wheels help sealing the deal with maximum contact to the road. As a result, the car goes towards the direction you are aiming for, glued to the tarmac with overwhelming levels of accuracy.

Finally, we come around to Porsche’s delightful PDK transmission. Simply explained, PDK (Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe or Porsche dual clutch transmission) is a system that allows two clutches to work together. Though only one clutch is used at a time, it allows for a smooth gear transition when switching clutches. This happens for example when you are cruising on the highway at a high gear but you’d like to overtake the slow kei-car in front of you. Since you are in a Porsche, you will instinctively floor it and this is when PDK comes into action. From 8th gear, PDK will instantly drop down to 3rd gear which will give you enough boost for a sudden acceleration. Because of its accuracy and immediate action, PDK truly thinks faster than you do to the point that you wonder whether it was reading your mind. All of this is accompanied by Porsche’s Active Aerodynamics system, with active air intake aps and a massive active rear wing for even better aerodynamics when going up speed.

The 992 has evolved into a more mature version of what it used to be

and has proved itself worthy of its 911 name by respecting design and performance codes. That’s the thing about consistency, it allows you to take in the past and present and make it just as enjoyable as it used to be with all of the perks of modern gadgets and engineering.

It’s true, not everything is perfect; the new cup holder leaves us confused and the gear knob takes a bit of getting used to, but judging the 992 on these minor details would be being fussy. There is simply nothing to criticize here because the 992 is the benchmark in its category and it embodies the everyday high-performance sports car we all want. It’s agile, grippy and lively. The spirited 992 is here to have fun. From twisty mountain roads and spontaneous launch controls to a day spent in the city, it is here to do it all with you. Because it is a car that truly teaches you the pure pleasure of driving, you suddenly understand why… there is no substitute.


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