2020 Porsche 911 Carrera

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Review: Still The Sports Car King

by Sebastian Cenizo

How do you improve on perfection? For Porsche, we almost wouldn't mind if the next two generations of the 911 were unchanged, since nobody - literally nobody - else builds luxury sports cars like them. Yet Porsche is so committed to extracting every last tiny incremental improvement possible from its rear-engined sports car that every new model is marginally better than the last one and infinitely better than the competition. Behold, the latest mutation in the Porsche 911 lineage: the 2020 Carrera. Still powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-liter boxer engine, the new 911 boasts up to 443 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque, with regular models sending output to the rear wheels in classic fashion and those with a '4' on the rear fascia splitting thrust among all four corners. With evolution comes an increase in price, but with a starting point nigh on $100,000, is the Porsche still worthy of our praise, or is it getting too expensive to justify?

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 911 Carrera?

Although the casual passer-by will never notice any differences, the 992 generation is almost entirely new. Larger turbochargers, revised spring rates, more safety features, a new instrument cluster, a redesigned interior, and a subtly updated body are among the changes for 2020. The PDK transmission's shift lever has also been changed to a joystick-type design, and wheel sizes have swelled by an inch. Those more interested in the comfort aspect of the 911 will be pleased to note the inclusion of a central cupholder!

Pros and Cons

  • Incredible handling that belies rear-engine layout
  • Intoxicating acceleration
  • Beautiful interior
  • Safer than ever before
  • Numerous personalization options
  • Expensive, especially when the options add up
  • Non-S models can't get a manual gearbox
  • Cramped rear seats

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Carrera
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo Flat 6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$97,400
Carrera 4
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo Flat 6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$104,700
Carrera S
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo Flat 6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$113,300
Carrera 4S
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo Flat 6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$120,600

911 Carrera Exterior

The new 911 has been almost completely redesigned, and now features wider rear fenders on rear-wheel-drive models as well as the 4s; both now share a body for the first time in 911 history. A squared-off frunk lid with a recessed center notch is also new, as is a vertical brake light and a deployable rear spoiler with two modes, although U.S. models only get a single mode as the position that allows for the least drag obstructs the brake light. Other changes include gorgeous flush door handles and an increase in wheel sizes across the range. Carrera models now have 19-inch front wheels and 20-inch rears with S models one size bigger at each end. Telling the two apart is made simpler by black calipers and dual-exit exhaust tips on the Carreras while red calipers a quad-exit exhaust arrangement defines the S models. A tilting and sliding sunroof is available as an option.

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Front Angle View Porsche
2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Side View Porsche
2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Front Angle View 1 Porsche
See All 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The new 911 is marginally longer and wider than the 2019 model. Despite a 0.8 inch increase in overall length to 177.9 inches, the wheelbase remains unchanged at 96.5 inches. Overall width is still relatively narrow despite the wider front track and enlarged rear fenders, with all models measuring 72.9 inches across. Porsche nuts will be quick to point out that this is the first time that the RWD and AWD variants have the same rear width. Height measures 51.1 inches, while curb weight varies depending on the model. The lightest variants are the rear-wheel-drive versions, with the Carrera and Carrera S weighing 3,354 and 3,382 lbs respectively, while the all-wheel-drive 4 and 4S variants weigh in at 3,460 and 3,487 lbs respectively.

  • Length 177.9 in
  • Wheelbase 96.5 in
  • Height 51.1 in
  • Max Width 72.9 in
  • Front Width 62.7 in
  • Rear Width 61.2 in

Exterior Colors

Porsche loves to offer you customization options that lighten your wallet, and it's no different when it comes to picking your paint choice. Eight metallic paint finishes are available at a cost of $830 each, with choices like Carrara White, Agate Grey, Gentian Blue, Aventurine Green, GT Silver, Night Blue, Dolomite Silver, and Jet Black. If you don't want to spend extra on paint, no-cost options are limited to White, Black, Racing Yellow, and Guards Red. On the other end of the spectrum are special colors that cost $3,270, with Miami Blue, Lava Orange, Chalk, and Carmine Red providing a striking alternative that does anything but go with the flow.

  • Carrara White Metallic
  • Jet Black Metallic
  • Dolomite Silver Metallic
  • Gentian Blue Metallic
  • Night Blue Metallic
  • Agate Grey Metallic
  • GT Silver Metallic
  • Aventurine Green Metallic
  • Carmine Red
  • Chalk
  • Lava Orange
  • Miami Blue
  • Lizard Green
  • Custom Color
  • White
See all 18 colors

911 Carrera Performance

As always, performance is what a 911 is all about. The handling balance, acceleration, and feel of a 911 are simply mesmerizing and despite the increase in power over last year's model, thanks in part to larger turbochargers, the 911 still handles like it's on rails. Although a manual gearbox is not standard, it is a no-cost option on S models, with the base variants losing out on it completely. Alternatively, a new eight-speed PDK double-clutch is standard and it's even better than the old seven-speed, a transmission that we had no complaints with.

All models feature a rear-engined 3.0-liter twin-turbo boxer engine. The Carrera and Carrera 4 each come with 379 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque. The RWD Carrera sprints from 0-60 in just four seconds, with the addition of the Sport Chrono package and its launch control mode dropping that to 3.8. Top speed is rated at 182 mph, while the AWD Carrera loses 2 mph. This model's traction off the line keeps acceleration figures identical despite an increase in weight.

The Carrera S and 4S each produce 443 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque, but acceleration figures are marginally different between the two. The RWD version accelerates from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds with a top speed of 191 mph, while the AWD model shaves a tenth from the sprint time and tops out 1 mph sooner. As with the other variants, the addition of the Sport Chrono packages reduces two tenths from each model's 0-60 mph time.

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Front View Driving Porsche
2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Rear View Driving Porsche
2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Badge Porsche

Engine and Transmission

The base model's 379 hp 3.0-liter twin-turbo boxer is an impressive powerhouse of acceleration, with more than enough grunt for most buyers. Whether from a dig or when overtaking, the breadth of 331lb-ft of torque and ease of acceleration are remarkable, and even if left to its own devices, that new eight-speed PDK double-clutch transmission works wonders. Shifts are lightning quick yet remain smooth. In traffic, you can let the PDK do its thing in the background and never notice the gearchanges unless you actively pay attention to them. This new transmission is comprised of six short-ratio gears for optimal acceleration, allowing the 911 to reach top speed in sixth, while the last two gears are overdrive ratios that are designed to increase efficiency and reduce noise.

On the S models, the same engine features but it produces 443 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque, a considerable increase that makes the 911 Carrera feel even more alive. This is due to subtle changes that include the aforementioned larger turbochargers that run at the same boost levels as the old setup. While each version pulls with steam-train ferocity and hurtles you towards the horizon at an alarming rate, we'd opt for an S if possible, for genuine supercar performance in a relatively unassuming package. Despite how good these cars are, we'd still opt for the perfectly-notched seven-speed manual transmission that is offered at no cost, but it's only available on the S. In addition, the manual comes with the Sport Chrono package as standard. Part of the reason for Porsche continuing to offer this gearbox is the high level of interest and good sales in the U.S., so keep buying it and #savethemanuals.

  • Engine
    3.0-liter Twin-Turbo Flat 6 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

While each 911 gets incrementally better and better, the differences are not so slight so as to be unnoticeable. Larger wheels accompany tires that run at slightly lower pressures and combine with new Bilstein TDX shocks, increasing comfort while stiffer chassis components further improve the already outstanding handling characteristics of the 911. A wider front track and a quicker steering ratio improve turn-in, while rear brake discs that are 0.8 inches larger improve stopping power. Altogether, the end result is Carrera S that laps the Nurburgring's Nordschleife circuit around five seconds quicker than the previous model could.

The improvements to the new 911 have not been limited only to performance, however. A new Wet mode makes use of acoustic sensors in the front wheel wells. These detect water flung up by the tires, and when the level of spray is high enough, a warning is triggered on the dash that recommends Wet mode be activated. In this mode, numerous driving characteristics are changed, including throttle response, braking, and stability control mapping. The idea is not to go faster in wet weather, but rather for the experience to be safer - a useful idea particularly in a rear-engined sports car with a top speed north of 180 mph.

911 Carrera Gas Mileage

Gas mileage estimates are roughly the same for most 911 models, with the Carrera, Carrera 4, and Carrera S all returning 18/24/20 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. The rear-wheel-drive variants are fitted with a 16.9-gallon gas tank, returning an estimated range with mixed driving of around 338 miles between fillups. The all-wheel-drive variants get a larger, 17.6-gallon gas tank, offering a mixed range of around 352 miles. The top model, the Carrera 4S, is slightly less economical on the highway, returning a figure of 23 mpg. The upcoming manual variants are expected to be less economical in urban environments and slightly better on the open road.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    16.9 Gallons
* 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe

911 Carrera Interior

One of the few gripes we had with Porsche products of recent times is the interior design, which had begun to age a little. For 2020, the latest 911 features an entirely redesigned cabin that looks like it belongs in the modern era. A new 10.9-inch touchscreen sits in the middle of the dash, framed by a new design that brings leather and aluminum together beautifully and also adds visual width to the 911's cabin. As usual, these materials are all crafted exquisitely, and the cabin is typically solid. Behind the multi-function steering wheel, a new instrument cluster resides with a pair of seven-inch configurable screens sitting on either side of an elegant, analog rev counter. The gear lever has also been changed and is now of a joystick-like design.

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Steering Wheel Details Porsche
2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Gear Shifter Porsche
2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Gauge Cluster Porsche
See All 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The Porsche 911 Carrera is marketed as a 2+2, but as any current Porsche owner will be well aware, the rear seats are useless for adults of any size. Besides, a car like this is bought to thrill the driver and put fear into the passenger. As standard, four-way manually adjustable seats are fitted up front, but 14-way electric Sports seats and even 18-way Sports Plus seats can be specced with heating and ventilation. Whichever you opt for, you sit nice and low, and even the standard setup is good enough to accommodate most body types. Getting in and out requires some stooping, however, and all-round visibility is good with the exception of in the rear quarters, where the optional blind-spot monitoring system is almost essential.

  • Seating capacity
    4-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

As standard, all 911s feature a partial leather interior, piano black accents, and a sprinkling of aluminum. Upholstery with the standard seats is available in Black, Slate Grey, or Black/Mojave Beige, with the latter option adding $700 to your bill. On S models, this additional cost is removed, as it's a more premium model.

If you opt for leather on your base 911's dash, that will cost $2,840 but the beige option falls away here.

A full leather interior is also available in a wider range of colors, with pricing ranging between $4,530 and $4,960. Options include Graphite Blue, Bordeaux Red, Graphite Blue with Chalk stitching, Black/Iceland Green, and various combinations of black, beige, grey, and red. On the S models, these options are a little cheaper, ranging between $3,830 and $4,260. The most expensive color options are called Club Leather, and these are combinations of Truffle Brown and Agave Green - each with a price tag of $6,040 on non-S models and $5,340 on S variants.

Various trim materials and finishes are available too, with wood, carbon fiber, and aluminum among the choices. Alcantara can also be added to various surfaces including the steering wheel.

911 Carrera Trunk and Cargo Space

The 911 is fitted with a frunk, or front trunk, that provides just 4.6 cubic feet of volume, or enough space for an overnight bag, maybe two at a push. Fortunately, the rear seats make up for their all but unusable legroom by being perfect for extra storage, although you'd have to awkwardly stoop in through the low door frames to load anything substantial back here.

In the cabin, a central cupholder has been added for the first time, but the door pockets do still have recesses for water bottles and other small items. The center armrest and the glovebox are small, but that won't bother most buyers.

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Front Angle View 2 Porsche
2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Side View 1 Porsche
2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Rear Angle View Porsche

911 Carrera Infotainment and Features

Features

As standard, all 911s come with LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, a heated rear windshield, and parking sensors. Cruise control and forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking are also included. Launch control is available as part of the Sport Chrono package, which adds a chronograph with a stopwatch to the top of the dash too. Other options include a sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats, lane-keep assist, traffic-sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, and adaptive LED headlights. The top lighting system includes LED Matrix headlights as part of the Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus feature, but this is a $3,270 option, or an even steeper $4,010 if you want the headlight surrounds to be painted black. A nose-lifting system is also available, as are features like a surround-view camera, adaptive dampers, rear-wheel steering, a night vision camera, blind-spot monitoring, keyless access, a heated steering wheel, and ambient lighting. As far as sports cars go, few can be outfitted with features to the same level the 911 can.

Infotainment

A beautiful new 10.9-inch touchscreen manages infotainment on the 911 and is supplemented by a pair of USB ports and an SD card slot. Navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio, voice control, and Apple CarPlay are all included, but Android Auto is still missing. If the standard eight-speaker sound system is not enough for you, A Bose 12-speaker setup is available with noise compensation technology. Even more premium sound quality is available with the Burmester surround sound setup, featuring 13 speakers and an 855-watt output. Whichever you select, the touchscreen that accompanies each system works brilliantly, with bright, vibrant graphics and excellent responses.

911 Carrera Problems and Reliability

Thus far, two recalls have been issued for the 2020 911 Carrera. The first is for hazard warning lights that would not activate, while the second affects Carrera S models, in which the bolts connecting the driveshaft to the wheel hub may not be tightened properly.

Porsche provides a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty, as well as a 12-year rust perforation warranty. A one-year/10,000-mile maintenance plan is also included.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    12 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Maintenance:
    1 Years \ 10,000 Miles

911 Carrera Safety

The Porsche 911 is part of a segment where cars are not often crashed for testing purposes and, as such, neither the IIHS nor the NHTSA has had the 911 submitted for testing. However, with a number of additional safety features added for the 2020 model, we expect that it would fare well.

Key Safety Features

As standard, the new 911 features the usual rearview camera, auto high beam, and parking sensor features, but forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking has also been added. Also included are frontal, side-impact, and side-curtain airbags. The usual traction and stability management programs also feature, along with a new Wet mode that aims to make the 911 safer in the rain. Available features include adaptive LED Matrix headlights, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, traffic-sign recognition, blind-spot monitoring, and a night-vision camera.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera a good car?

Despite an increase in cost, the 911 is still one of, if not the best sports cars on the planet. It remains on the cutting edge of dynamic ability for a four-wheel machine, and with numerous advancements for the 2020 model, the new 911 is faster, feels better on the limit, is safer, and has a phenomenal interior that can rival anything the Italians or other German brands can throw at it. The poise and balance of the car, along with its tremendous throttle response, sweet-shifting transmission, and that brilliant engine all combine beautifully to create the perfect sports car recipe that sometimes there are not enough adjectives to describe. With pricing now as close to the $100k mark as ever, it may be difficult to justify buying this car, but with a stunning interior and numerous improvements over the 2019 model, the money is worth it. Just drive one and you'll see exactly what we're on about.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera?

The 2020 911 Carrera starts at a base price of $97,400, excluding a $1,350 delivery, processing, and handling fee. The all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 starts at $104,700. Next up in the range is the Carrera S, with more power and an asking price of $113,300. The top model in the range is the Carrera 4S, and this retails for $120,600. Fully loaded with options, we used Porsche's online configurator to build a 4S that cost over $220,000.

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Models

The 2020 911 is available in four variants: Carrera, Carrera 4, Carrera S, and Carrera 4S.

The base Carrera is a rear-wheel-drive model with 19-inch wheels in front and 20s out back. A 379 hp 3.0-liter twin-turbo boxer feeds an eight-speed PDK double-clutch transmission. Standard features include parking sensors, LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, automatic windshield wipers, a heated rear windshield, and a Wet driving mode. Other features include a 10.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system with voice control, satellite radio, navigation, and Apple CarPlay. Top speed is rated at 182 mph.

The Carrera S builds on the base Carrera by adding one-inch-larger wheels all round, and features red brake calipers and a quad-exit exhaust system to help it stand out. It also produces more power, with 443 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque, enabling it to reach a top speed of 191 mph, the fastest of any Carrera model.

Models with the '4' suffix are identical in almost all aspects to their base compatriot, save for the addition of an all-wheel-drive system and a larger fuel tank.

See All 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Numerous options and packages are available for all Porsche models and the 911 Carrera is no different. The Premium package is one we'd highly recommend. For $5,380, this adds adaptive cruise control, keyless entry, ventilated front seats, adaptive LED headlights, an upgraded Bose sound system, lane-keep assist, and traffic-sign recognition. As always on a Porsche sports car, the Sport Chrono package is worth considering, with a steering wheel-mounted drive mode selector with additional settings, launch control (with PDK only), and an analog and digital chronograph that doubles as a stopwatch. This costs $2,720. If you get an S model, a seven-speed manual transmission is available at no charge, and the Sport Chrono package is added for free.

🚗What Porsche 911 Carrera Model Should I Buy?

While the non-S variants are brilliant sports cars with more than enough acceleration and top-end ability for most, we still love the feel of a manual Porsche. To get this, you need an S. As good as the all-wheel-drive system in the 4S is, unless slippery roads are a common feature of your daily commute, we think the lighter and more nimble Carrera S is a lot more fun. We'd definitely spend a little extra on the Premium Package for its advanced safety features that include adaptive cruise control and ventilated front seats, as well as a 12-speaker Bose sound system. While the possibilities are almost endless, this should be enough for daily use and fun driving, making the 911 a great all-rounder with lots of driver engagement and more than enough luxury.

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Comparisons

Porsche 718 Cayman Porsche
Audi R8 Coupe Audi
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Porsche 911 Carrera379 hpTBC$97,400
Porsche 718 Cayman 300 hpTBC$57,500
Audi R8 Coupe 562 hp13/20 mpg$169,900

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera vs Porsche 718 Cayman

The Porsche Cayman, when it was first announced, was viewed by some purists as a marketing gimmick. Although increased sales through a more affordable Porsche product was definitely the end goal, the engineering and attention to detail put into this mid-engined sports car were right up there with the best of them. As it's evolved, the Cayman has become something of a performance bargain and is no longer looked down on quite so much. With a base price of $57,500 versus the 911's $97,400, those who own the original Porsche sports car will still look down on Cayman buyers, especially since it comes with a 2.0-liter four-pot in base form. Nevertheless, the two-seater offers more storage space, with a combined volume between the front and the back storage compartments of 15 cubic feet. As a Porsche model, it handles beautifully and offers accessible performance too. Even so, if we could afford it, we'd rather have the OG.

See Porsche 718 Cayman Review

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera vs Audi R8 Coupe

Although more expensive in base form at $169,900, the Audi R8 is similarly priced when you compare it to a full-specced Carrera 4S. Powered by a 5.2-liter V10 coupled to a quattro all-wheel-drive system and a seven-speed S tronic transmission, the R8 develops 562 hp in base form. Along with a similarly hi-tech interior and upmarket premium materials, the R8 is just as impractical as the 911, albeit with two fewer seats. Capable of a top speed of at least 201 mph, the R8 is a genuine supercar. Although it lacks the delicate poise and razor-sharp handling of the 911, it's a much more dramatically-styled vehicle and is sure to turn more heads than the Porsche. However, the Porsche is more engaging and is ultimately the car that purists may prefer. For sheer drama, the R8 is better, but as a scalpel of driving ability, the 911 is untouchable.

See Audi R8 Coupe Review

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