The Porsche 911 had its debut in 1963, at that time under the name 901 and over 50 years later, today, we can admire the 8th generation, Code-named 992. The 911 marks an innovation era for Porsche and is by far Porsche’s most successful model. But let’s finally have a closer look… Let me take you through the highlights of change in more technical detail.
Although it gained an overall wait of 130kg to its predecessor, the new body concept and lightweight strategy resulted in a body weight loss of roughly -40kg .
Compared with the previous model, the 911 Carrera 4S Coupé achieves torsion and bending values that are improved by 5%. As a result, the 911 stays unwaveringly on course even when driven sportily on road sections with different surfaces.
The engineer seemed almost suicidal when I asked him for the overall weight. I doubt any other carmaker would take every gramme so personally but at Porsche the quest for weight saving and ideal balance is what motivates them to obsession. How much so? They’ve built a brake pedal which, through the use of carbon fibre, saves 300 grammes. That’s 918 technology transfer right there.
Despite the 911’s inherently restrictive shape which dictates the engineering layout, you don’t need to be a 911 disciple to spot the new 992 from the 991.2.
First the rear lightbar it inherits from models like Cayenne and Macan emphasises the car’s flared rear haunches – no narrow body versions in the new 993 range with a one-size-fits all bodyshell, whether rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The door handles sit flush and there is a subtle increase to the front width with staggered 20-inch wheels and 21-inchers for the rear. New paints and wheel designs will keep the configurator buzzing.
Beneath all LEDs are front flaps that open and close automatically at different speeds. When open they provide cooling air to needed components and additionally offer a little downforce. If the driver puts the Carrera S in sport or sport plus driving mode, they stay open. When closed, the 911 slips through the air better, which is why they’re usually closed at interstate speeds.
Just like the exterior, you’ll find the 992’s interior is familiar, but in fact a quite sophisticated brand-new design. The main 911 furniture is present though; a peep over to the driver’s side reveals the central rev counter still swings an analogue needle, and you must again insert and turn a key to switch on the ignition.
Alongside the central rev counter – typical for Porsche – two thin, frameless freeform displays supply information to the driver. The now 10.9-inch centre screen of the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) can be operated quickly and intuitively thanks to the new architecture. In terms of digitalisation, the 911 takes the next step into the future with permanent connectivity as well as new functions and services. As standard, the PCM features online-navigation using swarm-based data and Porsche Connect Plus.
Talking about the future, the 992 brings along a longer wheelbase (2,450mm) and wider rear (1,557mm) and front (1,589mm) track width.
The 992 starts with a 5 percent lighter body-in-white — the bare chassis — weighing about 240 kg. Engineers did this with more extensive use of aluminum alloy, making up most of the body and a good chunk of the structure. Steel made up 63 percent of the 991 chassis; for the 992, it’s 30 percent.
Included in that percentage, the A and B pillars as well as side roof frame and components directly around the passenger cell are ultra-high-strength steel, giving the 992 5 percent more torsional rigidity than the 991.
You might have noticed the wide fenders by this point. Traditionally a hallmark of all-wheel drive 911s, now every version, regardless of the number of driven wheels, will sport enlarged fenders. It looks cool, but it also allowed Porsche to lengthen track width. Therefore the 992 is two centimetres longer, 4,5 centimetre wider and half a centimetre higher than the predecessor 991.2.
Of course, the engine was once again optimized. The 3.0-litre turbo is a revision of the 991.2’s twin-turbo setup but with higher output while stuffed and chortled by fun-throttling WLTP standards. These are the quick raw stats, once again reaffirming the 911s exceptional conversion of value for going quickly. In addition to the 22 kW (30 PS) increase in power to 331 kW (450 PS) at 6,500/min, the engine offers 30 Nm higher torque, at 530 Nm between 2,300 rpm and 5,000 rpm.
The answer to the question everyone has been asking me ever since I had a ride in the new 992: It sounds pretty good, in fact it sounds awesome!
- Power is up by 22kW to 331kW
- Torque is up by 30Nm to 530Nm
- The 0-100km/h time comes down by 0.4 seconds to 3.5 seconds
- The Nurburgring time is 7m30s, 5 seconds faster versus the 991.
The S accelerates to 62mph in 3.7 seconds, with the all-wheel drive 4S hitting it in 3.6 seconds. Power is sent to the wheels by a new eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic, which will help keep emissions down. There’s no official mention of a manual yet, but don’t worry – it will still be available.
The dynamic engine mounts – that have a new position better aligned to the engine’s centre of gravity – combine the advantages of a hard and soft engine mount.
If you pick the Sport Chrono Pack (which has launch control), 0.2 seconds can be shaved off the launch sprints of either. Top speeds are rated at 191mph for the S and 190 for the 4S. If you’re bothered, Porsche also claims that the S and 4S models can get up to 31.7mpg and 31.4mpg respectively.
Asymmetrical valve lift for better combustion
The variable valve control VarioCam Plus controls gas exchange with asymmetrical intake camshafts for the first time. The two adjacent valves of a cylinder open here with a different lift in partial load position. Whereas previously the small valve lift of both intake valves was a uniform 3.6 millimetres, the lift is now 2.0 millimetres and 4.5 millimetres on the new engine. This and various other detailed optimisations have improved fuel management and therefore combustion – reducing consumption and emissions. Smoother running at low engine speeds and loads also increases comfort on the road. The valves again open with parallel lift after switching to full lift.
Completely newly developed eight-speed dual-clutch transmission
The 911 Carrera S and 911 Carrera 4S are being launched exclusively with the first eight-speed dual-clutch transmission (PDK) for Porsche sports cars. Compared with the seven-speed transmission in the previous models, the new PDK offers a host of improvements. The driver can directly feel the enhanced combination of comfort, performance and efficiency. All gears have new ratios: first gear is now shorter and eighth gear longer than before. This made it possible to realise a longer final-drive ratio, thereby further reducing the engine speeds in the upper gears. The result is harmonious ratio stepping and further potential for reducing fuel consumption. Maximum speed can still be achieved in sixth gear. The use of a controlled oil pump and advanced fuel-efficient engine oils are further measures that reduce both power losses and fuel consumption. The oil pressure required for changing gear and clutch operation is controlled based on demand, and losses in power are reduced.
The 992 knows when it’s raining and you should too, considering this is a driver’s car and the presence of droplets on a windscreen or puddles up ahead has not changed in meaning.
Like the AEB system, there are three stages to Wet Mode. The first stage happens automatically as soon as a set of sensors at the back of the front wheel wells detects an adequate amount of precipitation. The system is always operating and analyzing the road, but once the water starts splashing up, the 992 primes its stability and traction control systems. A warning fires in the instrument cluster, informing the driver of the wet conditions and suggesting they activate Wet Mode via the updated, wheel-mounted dial. And once that’s done, the big changes come into play.
With Wet Mode enabled, the 992 should be more sure-footed than ever before.
Sensors in the wheelarch detect moisture, then a light pings on the dashboard asking you to switch the car to Wet Mode. Doing so triggers a number of anti-aquaplaning things. This includes raising the aero to increase downforce, shuffling extra power to the front axle, remapping throttle response. We tried it at Hockenheim ring and the results seemed to win over those critics who were at the reveal.
But while I went on a demo lap around a wet-handling course with Wet Mode on and off, it was hard to tell just how much was happening without physically feeling the gas and brake pedal or the vibrations from the steering wheel (remember, I was relegated to the passenger’s seat). The 992 felt more stable under throttle and more predictable under braking, but I will have to wait until we test the new 911 next month to judge the benefit of Wet Mode.
Porsche Track Precision app for sporty drivers
The Porsche Track Precision app allows 911 drivers to virtually save their experiences of driving enjoyment: The app permits detailed recording, display and analysis of driving data on a smartphone. Lap times can be automatically recorded via the PCM precise GPS signal, or manually by way of the steering wheel button in the optional Sport Chrono Package. Time measurement is even more precise with the lap trigger optionally available through Porsche equipment.
Firstly, I had the great chance to drive the 991 to Hockenheimring for the event. Which obviously means that I was lucky enough to be able to gain direct comparison between the new 992 and its predecessor. Although I’ve not had a go of the finished car just yet, I have had an exclusive ride in an all-new 911 prototype – and it’s looking good.
On a side note, driving the 911 in snow is always fun, which meant my journey of around 3 hours was a blast!
Despite the Porsche’s new focus on technology, it appears the tech has only improved the user experience, making the car’s extra speed more accessible and easier to handle.
I grabbed a passenger ride around the Hockenheim ring and we did most of it sideways while practicing the WET MODE. It is great fun, not the fastest way, but it has the right balance right out the box. And thanks to new cooling front and rear with better lubrication, you can drift the 992 for longer.
Around Hockenheim’s National Circuit layout, the 911 pulls ferociously with intake honk and exhaust snarl that are typically Porsche flat-six. The car is equipped with every available performance option — carbon-ceramic brakes, torque-vectoring differential, etc. — and pulls huge levels of lateral grip through bends. Porsche’s driver brakes late, holds big speed through each corner and rockets out again on a wave of torque. And when he, on lap two, turns off the stability control system, the 911 effortlessly dances sideways, twin-turbo engine singing as the revs soar. It’s a really promising introduction to the car’s 992 generation.
Best News are the RETURN OF THE MANUAL GEARBOX – And it’s going to be Porsche’s first seven-speed stick. No other news than that for now because Porsche is focusing where most of its customers are – the PDK crowd.
This is undeniably the smartest 911 ever made. But it’s bigger and more powerful, and while it’s still a world-class sports car, there’s more layers than ever between car and driver. It’s clear that Porsche has done a great deal of development on the 992, with the biggest focus on the car’s technology. My brief taste at Hockenheim wasn’t enough to tell me just what impact those added layers have on the 911. For that, I will have to wait a couple of weeks longer.
And you will, too – stay tuned for my full review and first drive of the 2020 Porsche 911!