We went to the Zuffenhausen where the new 911 will be built.
Rather than being an updated 991, the eighth generation of Porsche’s venerable rear-engined sportscar was designed with a clean sheet of paper around the brand new MMB modular platform shared with the forthcoming 718 Boxster/Cayman replacement.
After riding shotgun in the 992 around the Hockenheim Club Circuit, on the second day of the 992 technical workshop event, we were shown around the building at Zuffenhausen where production of the 2020 Porsche 911 is now well underway. We also learned about Porsche's rigorous design and testing regime, as well as a strict quality control system that has won multiple awards for quality and reliability across the globe.
Here are ten things we learned about the new car.
As expected the latest generation 911 is evolutionary rather than revolutionary in the changes to its classic rear-engine appearance. Sitting 0.8 inches longer and 1.57 inches wider it now only comes in the popular wide ‘Turbo’ look body, which enables Porsche to rationalize components.
The revised nose features LED matrix headlights, while the big air intakes on either side have adjustable flaps that apportion just the right amount of cooling air to the radiators. The rest of the time these stay closed to reduce drag.
The roofline is the same as before, and features a bonded in modular center that can be aluminum, magnesium, carbon-fibrer or glass with a metal or glass sunroof insert.
To save weight, the new bodyshell has a higher content of aluminum and high-strength, lightweight steel. Meanwhile, aerodynamic drag is reduced thanks to better detailing and flush fitting powered door handles.
The tail is distinguished by its thin full-width lighting strip, a design cue for all models in the current Porsche range, and the neat rear wing that is an integral part of the rear bodywork when at rest. The twin vertically aligned high-level brake lights on the vertical bars of the engine bay grille are also unique and distinctive.
The 992 further closes the speed gap between the lowly Carrera and Porsche’s past supercars. While the 991 GT2 RS is still top of the current tree with its 918 Spyder beating 6:44.97 Nurburgring lap time, the latest 992 Carrera S stands tall at 7:25 min. To put things in perspective that's 5.0 sec faster than the outgoing model and a mere second behind the 997.2 GT2 RS from 2010.
The 992 is powered by the second generation of the 9A2 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged flat six that debuted in the 991 in 2015. Known by its internal code 9A2 evo, the revised motor has larger turbochargers and a completely new intake and exhaust for increased efficiency. Despite the addition of the power-sapping Particulate Filter in Europe the revised engine makes 20 hp and 22 lb-ft of torque more and has lower emissions and better gas mileage.
The 992 is the first 911 to feature larger diameter rear wheels, where normally just wider wheels are used. The first production Porsche with larger rear wheels was the Carrera GT of 2004, which used 19- and 20-inch wheels respectively. The 918 Spyder of 2013 was next with 20- and 21-inch wheels. Now the 992 adopts this system using 8.5J x 20-inch and 11.5J x 21-inch alloys shod with 245/35ZR20 and 305/30ZR21 tires.
The 992 has active aerodynamics with front air intake shutters that close over 40 mph to improve drag but open when the road speed exceeds 105mph and the rear wing rises to the Performance position where it creates a zero lift condition over the rear axle. It also rises to this maximum angle to improve rear wheel traction under hard braking.
The 992 uses a completely new engine mounting system that finally ditches the traditional rear engine carrier arm. In the new system the mounts are part of the rear structure and are 168 mm further forward and 113 mm further outboard. This new positioning improves isolation from road shock and improves body control by reducing vertical engine movement within the chassis.
The 992’s Drive Mode system now has a Wet Mode. Acoustic sensors in the wheel housings detect the sound of water and flash a warning in the instrument cluster suggesting that the driver use Wet Mode. When this is selected the throttle, gearbox, suspension, traction control, and aerodynamics are tailored to maximise safety in slippery conditions.
The 992 uses 80 ECUs to control all its functions from engine, active damping, rear wheel steering, telematics and the HVAC system. It is also the first 911 to use FlexRay high-speed data transmission, which Porsche introduced on the latest Cayenne and Panamera. This works within the CAN-BUS system in conjunction with MOST and LAN networks where appropriate.
The 992 is the first 911 to offer all of the driver assistance aids, including the 10.9-inch wide touchscreen, as its four-seat siblings. This means road sign identification, night vision assist and so on. The only feature it was not possible to incorporate is the Head-Up Display (HUD) due to the extreme curvature of the front windscreen and the fact that the sub-woofer box of the optional Burmester audio system occupies the full width of the area under the dashboard top.
Every 992 should be delivered near perfect as rigorous quality control at Porsche has won the company many awards for reliability and customer satisfaction in recent years. QC takes place at every level of production, and the level of attention to detail we witnessed in the paint, fit and finish inspection checking process would do credit to world-class concours judges.