Porsche 911 Carrera S

17 Nov, 2011 6:44pm Dan Strong

All-new 911 packs more technology than ever before - does it dilute the legendary driving experience?

Verdict

5
The new Porsche 911 truly is an incredible piece of engineering, it’s faster, more stable and more refined than its predecessor, but still has a powerful personality. Of course, some people will tell you that the new 911 isn’t as much fun to drive as its predecessor, but the comparison is unfair. It’s important to remember that the current 997 generation 911 has been developed over the last decade to become the car it is today. There’s no doubt in our minds that the newcomer will go on to even greater things.
The world’s most famous sports car is back and all eyes are on Porsche to see if it can make the 911 even better.

The looks are familiar but there have been big changes under the skin. The chassis, engine, gearbox and suspension have all been changed, making this the most far reaching evolution of the 911 yet. 

At launch, two versions will be offered, a 3.4-litre Carrera, and the more powerful 3.8-litre Carrera S tested here.

The most significant alterations include a 100mm longer wheelbase, a wider front track, a 20mm lower roofline and a 40kg weight reduction. The weight saving comes courtesy of the fact that the new body mixes aluminium panels with ultra-stiff steel subframes.

Controversially, the car also uses an electro-mechanical power steering system, instead of the hydraulic set-up of old. Some have predicted it will not be able to offer the sublime steering feel that’s been a trademark of the model since it was launched in 1963.

The car also has one of the most advanced and all-encompassing traction control systems ever fielded on a Porsche – something else that could stick in the throats of purists. So with all of that in mind, can all of this technology combine to create a car as desirable as its predecessor? 

Things get off to a great start as the new 400bhp 3.8-litre six-cylinder engine wastes no time impressing. Offering an unrivalled blend of smoothness and drivability, it has explosive reserves of performance and sounds amazing at maximum revs. Amazingly, it can return 32.4mpg as well.

Against the clock, the 911 will sprint from 0-60mph in just 4.3 seconds, while top speed is a staggering 183mph. 

Frankly, the rear wheel-drive Carrera S feels even faster than the numbers above suggest. There’s a limited-slip differential fitted as standard to the rear axle, and as you exit a corner and get back on the throttle, the car tightens its line and fires you forward.

For the first time, the PDCC traction control system is backed by Porsche’s new dynamic roll control system, which constantly adjusts the stiffness of the roll bars to keep the car flat in corners. 

You can opt for a seven-speed manual gearbox, although frankly, the seven-speed PDK semi-automatic is so good, and changes gear so fast you won’t miss the manual. 

It’s important to remember that the new 991-generation is longer, lower and lighter than the 997 it replaces. Those physical changes have a major impact on the way the car responds to the drive, and rides over bumps. 

As a result the new Carrera S offers a more mature driving experience than the old car, it feels more polished, less frenetic and is more comfortable on rough roads too.

Purists who loved the handling and feel offered by 911s of the past are almost sure to say that the car has lost at least some of its appeal – and we’d have to agree with them in the sense that the electromechanical steering has robbed the 911 of some of its involvement.

But to dismiss this car as being somehow a less exciting Porsche 911 would be unfair. 

Yes, the 991 is very different to the model it replaces, both in terms of comfort and refinement on offer, and the way it communicates with the driver, but its still a hugely rewarding car to drive and now it’s a better all-rounder too.

So, has Porsche served up another winner with the new 911? Quite simply, yes.

Disqus - noscript

And no one would ever know it!

Dull looking car that has very little cred in the eyes of others, other than the poncy buyers of it...

And being a German 'premium' car, should have a special Tobin tax placed upon its purchase and purchasers of...

The car itself is pure vandalism object and I would feel ashamed to be driving one or sat inside one!

You've not driven until you've driven a 911!

I'd rather not drive at all, if it has to be in some arrogant over-powered Beetle variant!

Drive past the Porsche garage everyday, and I can quite assure you @Abdurrahman1, that they have no cred anymore whatsoever... 80's cars for 80's men!

I simply disagree, how can you judge a car as a failure when it is simply the most successful sports car ever. Moreover I don't know why this sort of car should have this a so called 'Tobin tax' applied to it. Yes its not made in the UK but if Porsche didn't exist neither would its UK main dealers, or the mechanics or advertisers, or the admin staff, there is no denying these are British jobs for British people. And if you tell me its over powered, over priced and kills polar bears this is simply not the case. It is a premium car which requires a premium price tag. Compare that to the price of supposed British cars of the same sector it undercuts them by some margin. Over-powered- well if you can call this car over powered then I have no idea what your doing reading a car magazine. On the environment front this car makes huge leaps forward, the engine smaller, power is up its lighter and with the new high ratio cursing gears makes it as economical as a hatch back on a motorway run.

The car is simply a 4 wheeled reminder of red braces and block sized mobile phones... Image wise its a stinker of a car!

People who buy them and eulogise about these things should wake up a smell the coffee... Your laughing stocks!!

If its a premium car which deserves a premium price tag? (whatever your definition of what premium is... In this case I just call it a vehicle that attracts attention from elderly chavs) Then it can also have a tobin tax placed upon it, to show just how premium it is...

GTR

You have no idea what you are talking about... We could rubbish all sorts of cars based on who drove them in the 80's or what bankers drive now (I believe Astons and Ferraris are the current tools of choice).

The 911 existed long before bankers and is one of the most successful cars in motor racing ever with god knows how many class victories at Le Mans.

Cars developing technologies like this pass them down to everyday motorist and the motoring world would be a poorer place without them whatever you think of their image.

I quite like being a laughing stock, and would rather have fun driving my kids to school in my 911 than slagging everybody off for what they like or drive. Life is too short.

Opinions are divided about the 911.
Between those who have driven one and know that it's the best sports car in the world.
And those who haven't driven one - and don't know what they're talking about. Doesn't stop them having an opinion, however.

Yes your right... Its the best sports car in the world if your aged over 60 and have arthritis of the hips... Other than that... Not special enough, and looks to much like a soap bar shaped VW Beetle, thats had a fair few passes under a cold water tap to smooth-en its shape out!

And your laughed at for being a merchant 'banker' driving it!

P.S only a completely arrogant so-and-so (or Porsche) owner would be so cheeky in claiming a. 911's are the best sportscar, b. that at present the 911 get stuffed both on the track and off it, by its rivals...

Also I see a Cox'ster parked close every day, and wouldn't say it looks any more 'premium' than say an MX5... In fact put some grime on it and it looks very un-special indeed!

And has LegiolXHispana ever driven one? or even a Cayman? Thought not. And he says Porsche has no cred....

...iconic, epic, one step ahead!

`nuff said!

If you slate some-thing without trying it out first, then I'd politely call you a muppet! I'm sorry but if you don't like the look or image then thats kool. You just have to understand that there is a reason why zee Germans do well in the art of making cars. Its because they do them so damn well. Its the reason whey bmw can sell more cars then ford in certain segments. As Abdurrahman man said "You've not driven until you've driven a 911". Fellas got a strong point! I figure if you visit site's like this
then its because you not only like cars, but you enjoy the art of
driving. I'm sure there are other reasons but those two would
have to be up there at the top of the list. that being the case then you can scold the looks of the 911, the subtle evolution over 40
years, whatever. The driving and engineering- forget it. Your
dealing with top notch stuff, along with Ferrari, Bmw, Mercedes, Aston Martin, Lambo, Lotus- to name but a few. And Porsche
can feel proud that regardless of what the muppets say, it is up there in the upper regions of even the most premo list of
driver orientated performance cars. So pls pls all you haters out
there, stop the noise.. doing my head in!

Don't know how this car can be better than the 997 which I think is the best drivers car ever built. Can't wait to try a 991!!

Also what's wrong with red braces?!!

Good laugh this forum. Some do, some don't. Some people are Green (don't know or envy)
My 991 cab will be delivered end March early April, i will give the haters a two finger salute as i pass them and the people with brains i will give them a lovely wave and smile.
PS. did test drive an Aston but it broke down???? nuff said.

Key specs

* Price: £81,242
* Engine: 3.8-litre 6cyl, 400bhp
* Transmission: Seven-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
* 0-62mph: 4.3 seconds
* Top speed: 189mph
* Economy: 32.4mpg
* CO2: 205g/km
* Equipment: Leather upholstery, sports seats, 20-inch alloys, seven-inch colour touchscreen, iPod connection, PDK automatic gearbox, launch control
* On sale: December

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