One of the biggest challenges facing the design and engineering team at Porsche, is how to keep improving on such an iconic sports car as the 911, while still staying true to its roots?
The 911 can easily be considered the backbone of what the Porsche brand represents and has been almost from day one.
Messing with a vehicle that is steeped in such a rich heritage is a dangerous venture.
But I can say that after being invited to the world première of the eighth generation of the Porsche 911, code name 992 – shown to media from around the world on the eve of this year’s LA Auto Show – the car is still in good hands, with just the right mix of technology and styling updates.
This is what we were told and shown at the reveal of the 911 Carrera S and 4S Coupe models.
The brand’s icon continues to set the standard when it comes to exclusive sportiness.
Unmistakably committed to the Porsche DNA with a more muscular look and an interior featuring a 10.9-inch touchscreen monitor, the new 911 is timeless and modern.
Intelligent control and chassis elements, as well as innovative assistance systems enhance the masterfully uncompromising dynamism that the classic rear-engine sports car is famed for.
The next generation of flat-six turbocharged engines has been further developed and is more powerful than ever, resulting in an output of 331kW, which corresponds to an increase of 22kW, compared with the previous generation.
An improved injection process and a new layout for the turbochargers and charge air cooling system enhance drive efficiency even further.
The power is delivered by a newly developed eight-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (dual-clutch transmission).
Additional highlights include new assistance systems, such as the Porsche wet mode to make driving even safer, night vision assist with thermal imaging camera, as well as comprehensive connectivity now also using swarm intelligence.
Both models beat the four-second mark for acceleration from 0-100km/h.
The rear-wheel-drive 911 Carrera S needs 3.7 sec and the 911 Carrera 4S with all-wheel drive, just 3.6 sec, it is claimed.
This makes both cars 0.4 sec faster than their predecessors.
The optional Sport Chrono package reduces the sprint by a further 0.2 sec. Top speed has been measured at 308km/h for the 911 Carrera S and 306km/h for the all-wheeldrive version. Fuel consumption (NEDC-correlated) of the 911 Carrera S is 8.9-litres per 100km, while the 911 Carrera 4S records this figure as 9.0-l/100km, it is said.
The exterior design is completely new and emphasises the leap in performance for the 911. Significantly wider wheel housings arch over the 20-inch front wheels and 21-inch rear wheels.
The rear end is now the same width across all models, highlighting the slimline centre section. At the front, the body is 45mm wider.
Electrical pop-out handles in the doors emphasise the tapered and smooth side contour, while a bonnet with a pronounced recess evokes the design of the first 911s.
All models feature a rear significantly wider, variable-position rear spoiler and the seamless, elegant light strip. Apart from the front and rear sections, the entire outer shell is now made from aluminium.
The new interior is characterised by the clear and straight lines of the dashboard with recessed instruments, inspired by the 911 models from the 1970s.
Alongside the central rev counter – typical for Porsche – two thin, frameless displays supply information to the driver.
The centre screen of the Porsche communication management (PCM) is now 10.9 inches, and can be operated easily and without distraction, thanks to the new interior design.
Located underneath this is a compact switch unit with five buttons for direct access to important vehicle functions.
In terms of digitalisation, it takes a step into the future with permanent connectivity as well as new functions and services. The standard PCM features include navigation as well as Porsche connect plus.
In a world first, Porsche has developed the wet mode, included as standard. This function detects water on the road, preconditions the control systems accordingly and warns the driver, who can then set up the vehicle for enhanced safety by simply pushing a button or using the mode switch on the steering wheel (Sport Chrono package).
The warning and brake assist system, also fitted as standard, detects the risk of collisions with moving objects and initiates emergency braking if necessary.
Night vision assist with a thermal imaging camera is optionally available for the 911 for the first time.
The adaptive cruise control option includes automatic distance control, stop-and-go function, reversible occupant protection and an innovative autonomous emergency assist function.
The 911 Carrera S and 4S models are available for order now with pricing coming in at R1 708 000 for the S and R1 797 000 for the 4S.
This includes a three-year/100 000km DrivePlan. First deliveries are expected mid next year.