When it comes to performance motoring, nothing stirs the soul quite as completely as the Porsche 911.
Known by many as the benchmark to beat for many sports cars worth their salt, the German machine has always delivered a pure and unfiltered driving experience that few others could match.
Even as the decades rolled by, the 911 recipe never quite changed, and its relevance in the automotive scene never faded away. It still uses a unique rear-engine, rear-wheel drive (RR) layout first adopted by its 356 ancestor, and a responsive flat-six boxer engine that excites throughout the power band.
Fast forward to 2023, and we finally get behind the wheel of its latest iteration – the 992-generation Carrera. It's longer, wider, and more powerful than its predecessor, with even more advanced technologies packed inside to unlock the car's full potential regardless of driving conditions.
Is this the purest expression of the 911 that you can experience today? We reckon it is, and then some.
An Iconic Design That Endures
One effective trump card that the 911 has over its competition is its design. The grand tourer's iconic sloping profile and rounded headlights are once again found on the latest 992-generation model, making it instantly recognisable to both the car enthusiast and average layman.
This time, however, the 992 Carrera benefits from sharper lines. It sports a more angular bonnet and squared-off front air intakes, evoking memories of the 993 and 930 models of yesteryear.
It also comes with mostly-aluminium widebody sheet metal now, despite being an entry-level model. Previous generations, in contrast, had a separate "narrowbody" shell for the basic Carrera.
All-LED lights with a quartet of daytime running lights on each headlamp come as standard too, just like the other Porsches we've reviewed recently.
They provide excellent clarity even in the darkest of conditions, although if you require even more clarity at night, the carmaker is more than happy to equip the 911 with Night View Assist. This S$13,305 option effectively gives your 911 night vision capabilities, and even detects (and highlights) different types of obstacles for you to avoid. Short of a few missiles on standby, you're very much looking at a Bond car.
Porsche has also tightened up the rear fascia, with the 911 now featuring a sleek LED lightbar that runs across the back, and the third braking light positioned alongside the intercooler outlets.
The wide rear profile of the 992 911 is gorgeous from virtually all angles, amplifying the car's muscular fenders and curves. You also get wheels with staggered diameters front and rear, which translates to even grippier handling considering the rear-heavy nature of the 911.
Our press vehicle was fitted with optional 20/21-inch black Carrera S ten-spoke wheels respectively, up from the standard-issue 19/20-inch ones, which makes a world of difference visually. And where road contact is concerned, Porsche's wrapped the alloys around in sticky Goodyear Eagle F1s.
Like many ultra-modern cars, the 911 now features flush door handles that slide open when you touch them. We much prefer the sturdier-feeling traditional handles to this overengineered mechanism, to be frank. The current ones feel too clunky to operate, and not as reassuring to operate.
What we do like are the active aerodynamics. The front air intake shutters completely close between 70-150 km/h to keep air flow resistance and fuel consumption low. They open once more at 150 km/h, before fully opening up at speeds above 170 km/h to balance out aerodynamics and cooling needed for spirited driving.
Similarly, the rear spoiler automatically deploys slightly in Eco position at 90 km/h, before fully extending in Performance position once it crosses past the 150 km/h mark. Though we were unable to reach such ludicrous speeds, the 911 allowed us to deploy it even at start-stop traffic via a softkey in the PCM infotainment system. Neat!
A Cabin for All Seasons
A sleek and minimalist cabin greets you as you step inside. As one would expect from a celebrated sports car like this, Porsche's gotten the driving position spot-on. You sit very low on the supportive checkered pattern leather seats, and all the controls are within easy reach, quite literally down to the distance between the driver's seat and pedals.
The centre console, which was previously riddled with buttons on the 991, has been tidied up and now features a simplified array of HVAC switchgear on the upper half. Coupled with digital readouts, the new layout makes for a very user-friendly experience.
Porsche has also to the length of redesigning the dashboard too, presenting a more angular and cleaner take of it, and less of the "lumpy" dated look that plagued previous generations of the 911. A crisp 10.9-inch infotainment display takes centre-stage, with the middle AC vents now positioned below it.
Porsche purists will also note that certain driver-centric elements have also gone under the knife. The 911's classic "five-dial" instrument cluster, for example, now features dual seven-inch digital screens that flank the lone analogue tachometer. While the other dials are still present – albeit in virtual form – they can be customised to show other driving data.
The leather steering wheel has evolved, with a more subdued (and admittedly more plasticky) spoke design and molded hex screw motifs, while retaining the thin rim that we've come to love on Porsche cars.
Even the PDK shifter has undergone a transformation, now seemingly shaped after a miniature Braun shaver, all in a bid to clear up space in the cabin.
You get 132 litres of storage space up front, which may not sound like a lot. And it really isn't. But the silver lining is that the boot's fairly deep, which means you can store a mid-sized luggage bag plus a duffel bag should you choose.
And if required, the somewhat usable rear seats can also double as storage areas for your groceries and other paraphernalia. When pitted against other high-end sports cars like the R8 V10 in the area of practicality, the 911 is simply the better choice.
Internal Combustion Power Fights Back
Traditional Porsche fans were not happy when the 991.2 Carrera started using turbocharged units, moving away from the naturally-aspirated ones that have always powered base model 911s. It's the same case here with the 992, which uses the 3.0-litre twin-turbo 9A2 Evo flat-six powerplant. And you know what? It's a very potent bit of engineering.
The new 911 Carrera now churns out 385 bhp and 450 Nm of torque. That's up 15 horses from its predecessor, thanks mostly to larger turbochargers and a reworked intake system, both of which make full use of its much wider derrière. Remember the aforementioned intercoolers? They now sit above the engine, while air intakes are now located on the sides.
It does a century sprint in merely 4.2 seconds, and 0.2 seconds faster with the Sport Chrono Package opted in. At full flight with the rear spoiler keeping the car glued to the tarmac, the 911 is capable of reaching 293 km/h. Plenty fast for a bog-standard Carrera with only two driven wheels, then.
Where the 911 truly shines is around the sweeping bends, showing off its shockingly good balance and traction. It performs brilliantly even when pushed hard, staying on its intended line faithfully and responding to the driver's input instantaneously. If the Porsche folks had told us this was an AWD Carrera, we'd have believed it.
Despite its electric steering system, the Porsche still feels visceral and raw, with extremely precise steering feedback that ensures you have complete control of the car. Floor it and the engine responds in kind; all six cylinders start firing at full speed, screaming all the way to the 7,500 rpm redline, as your grip on the wheel tightens and you clear all eight gear ratios.
With the driving mode set at Sport or the most extreme Sport Plus, the 911 sharpens up in all conceivable ways, from a sharper gearbox to a stiffened suspension, and heightened throttle response.
Turn the PSM electronic nannies off and it becomes even more unhinged and alive. The 911's rear end slips out easily and welcomes sideways action with open arms, much like the Taycan. Best of all, it remains controllable and light on its feet, made better by its well-designed wheel and responsive pedals.
Flick the driving mode dial to Wet, and the 911 adapts itself accordingly to remain stable in the most slippery of conditions, all without cutting the maximum power output. We found it to be exceedingly stable in the wet, with the traction and stability management systems working overtime to keep it pointed at the right direction while travelling at high speed.
In short, the 911 driving experience is downright intoxicating and just silly fun when you want it to be, and assuringly safe to drive when the situation calls for more sensible driving.
The Spirit of Porsche in Its Purest Form
Porsche has come a long way since the very first 911 from the 1960s. It's got plenty more computers on-board now, forced induction to go along with its water-cooled engine, and a much more advanced – and substantial – shell.
But underneath all those intricacies and novelties, the new 911 Carrera still possesses the same riotous, excitable (and practical!) spirit that have left smiles on generations of Porsche fans and driving enthusiasts the world over, yours truly included.
It's not a perfect sports car; nothing truly is. It has its fair share of issues, but they all seem inconsequential when faced with its strengths. And if Porsche has proven anything, it's that the 911 Carrera has succeeded in coming very close to achieving perfection.
|Porsche 911 Carrera (992) Specifications|
|Price: $559,888 (w/o COE)||VES Band: C2|
385 bhp, 450 Nm
Fuel Tank Capacity:
4,519 mm x 1,852 mm x 1,298 mm
Photo Credits: Muhammad Mu'tasim (@mutasimdrives) and ACube Creative (@weareacube)
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