The latest rear-wheel-drive Porsche 911 has so much traction and grip that it’s more difficult than ever for the four-wheel-drive Carrera 4 to set itself apart. So is a little reassurance still worth an extra £5,000 over the standard rear-drive Carrera?
A brief look at the performance figures reveals there’s no benefit when it comes to acceleration off the line. Our manual Carrera 4 test car goes from 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds, while the rear-drive Carrera can manage the same in 4.8 seconds. The tables are likely to turn in slippery conditions, but the standard Carrera hardly ever struggles to put its power down.
It’s also difficult to feel the benefit of all-wheel drive through corners. With 50bhp less than the S model, the regular Porsche 911 Carrera is already a more forgiving car to drive at the limit, so the added security of traction from both axles isn’t significant. You have to provoke the Carrera 4 before you feel its front wheels helping to guide you around a corner, where the standard Carrera would either oversteer or just cut power.
None of this means the new Carrera 4 is disappointing to drive – in fact, it’s fantastic – but from behind the wheel, you’ll struggle to tell the difference over a standard Carrera.
There are a few visual cues outside, though, such as 22mm wider wheelarches and a red light strip connecting the two rear light clusters. The 4 will also be slightly more expensive to run than a regular Carrera: four driven wheels and 25kg of extra weight mean the claimed fuel economy figure goes from 31.4mpg to 30.4mpg. Driving the 4, you get the distinct feeling that the £5,000 could have been better spent speccing a standard Carrera with performance options.
A PDK gearbox, sports exhaust and torque vectoring could all be added to a Carrera for about the same amount, and the end result would be a more thrilling and well rounded performance car.