The Porsche 911 has been all things to all sports car enthusiasts for more than 50 years. In recent times, it’s combined the highest levels of quality, one of the most comfortable ride qualities around, razor sharp handling dynamics, and something most unique for a sport car – genuine day to day practicality and usability. The refresh to the 991 generation, 991.2, retains the unusual but familiar rear-engined configuration, but to the chagrin of purists, you can now buy a turbocharged 911 that isn’t a 911 Turbo. Now, even the Carrera and Carrera S models feature boosted engines… uh oh.
The 911 still features a traditional 2+2 seating configuration. Though you wouldn’t travel cross country with family in the back, the seats are useable over short distances for small adults or children – making the 911 still one of the most practical sports cars around. Of course you can also fold them away to afford 9 cubic feet of stowage space, in addition to the 4 cubes in the front trunk, making 13 cu ft in total.
The 911 offers a phenomenal seating position in comfortable, yet supportive front bucket seats, and excellent forward visibility – though rear visibility is compromised. There’s plenty of head and leg-room (Cabriolet models offer more headroom still), and Porsche’s ergonomics are on point. Right from the ‘base’ Carrera, the 911 features exceptionally high quality materials and an intuitive layout – though there’s still a multitude of buttons beneath the new touch screen that are a bit too cluttered.
Imagine a sports car that rides with the fluency and comfort of your favorite executive sedan. The 911 Carrera and Carrera S ride better than that, even on the S’ 20-inch alloys. Adaptive dampers are standard, and levels of composure over even the roughest of roads are good enough to forget you’re in a sports car. Not only that, but the suspension is incredibly resistant to body lean and provides sublime body control over all surfaces under any driving conditions, regardless of how hard its being tested.
Push harder, it responds better, gripping more, remaining unfazed by any road imperfections. The steering, though electronically assisted, drips with almost all the feedback of a hydraulic system, weighting up naturally, as communicating the grip limits of the front wheels with magical precision. The Carrera S offers even sharper handling dynamics with its standard torque vectoring system.
For the first time, your 911 is turbocharged whether it has a ‘Turbo’ badge or not. The Carrera and Carrera S feature 3.0-liter twin-turbo flat six motors, the former outputting 370 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, with the S derivative improving these to 420hp and 369 lb-ft. Rear wheel drive is standard, though a rear-biased all-wheel drive system is available on Carrera 4 and 4S badged derivatives. While a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox may shift rapidly and be more efficient, there’s a 7-speed manual gearbox too that will appeal to purists, despite the awkwardly tall gearing.
Porsche only crash tests its cars in Europe, though the 911 is built to the most stringent of standards, and includes safety features such as automatic braking, active cruise control, and blind spot monitoring, as well as post-collision braking. When it comes to optioning equipment, it’s best to be careful as the base price can quickly double with the wrong options in place. Even as standard though, there’s good specification levels, including leather upholstery, online navigation, park assist with reverse camera, and dual-zone climate. A worthwhile option, though, is the venerable Sport Chrono Package with additional drive modes, launch control, and rev matching functionality.
Unconventional and uncompromising, the Porsche 911 Carrera and Carrera S are still the definitive everyday sports cars. Even after 50 years, they still remain the yard stick for the sports car world – and as long as other aspire to compete at this level, the world is better for it.