The New Porsche 992 911 Is Wider, Faster, More Powerful And More Digital Than Ever
Images courtesy of Porsche
The 911 is arguably the most significant sports car in history—at the very least it is one of the most talked about—and after months of us zooming in on prototype testing photos with and without layers of camouflage, Porsche is ready to give us the first official look at the eighth generation of the world’s favorite rear-engined performance car.
That aspect, performance, has improved over the last generation with more power and more grip available in the new cars, but the narrative being pushed to the forefront at the moment is the connectivity of the new 911 to the digital world—the first sentence of the press release mentions the width of the touchscreen rather than the power figures… Clearly we’re not as concerned with the size of the screens in the cabin as we are with how the car looks and feels to drive, so we’ll save the gizmos for the end. We’re eager to get some seat time in one to find out for ourselves, but until then we have a few stats and figures. Thankfully, as expected, they are impressive.
The new 992-generation of the 911 S and 911 4S are both 23hp up from the current models, with 443 turbocharged horsepower now coming from the revised flat six that features an “improved ignition process” and a new location for the turbos and intercooler system. I think they must have reached a point of engineering minutiae where these vagaries are the only way they can explain what they’ve done to the motor without getting into the weeds on thermodynamics. It results in a 0-100km/h time for the RWD S model of 3.7s, and 3.6s in the 4S. Equip either with the Sport Chrono package—no word on the exact specs yet—and apparently both of those times fall by .2s. Both cars will do over 300km/h out of the box.
The transmission options will grow to include a manual of some kind in the future, but for now Porsche is touting its new eight-speed dual-clutch PDK gearbox. So it’s clearly faster than the “old” 911 that you can still buy brand new today, and that’s all but expected. As it’s always been with the 911, none of the changes that made their way into the next evolution of the car are drastic. This is true for the styling perhaps more than any other aspect. The narrow-body (if you could even call any of the 991s narrow) era is officially over, and going forward in the 992 generation every 911 will feature wide front and rear fenders, the S models housing 20” and 21” wheels, respectively. The 992’s front arches of are flared 45mm beyond the last generation’s, and the new form of the car gives even greater emphasis to the narrow-by-comparison center section of the car. People will call it curvy, until they see its rather square butt.
Porsche stated that a more muscular look was part of the subtle (always) styling change for the new 911, and the rear end of the car is the most obvious recipient of this new approach. Immediately noticeable is the return of the famous Porsche light bar that extends across its width in a sharp unbroken strake of red and shadow—like the sharp recess on the front hood, this is the variety of modern retro we love to see. Below, the exhaust outlets have cozied up to each other significantly compared to the 991 cars, but that plastic-looking filler area around the pipes isn’t the most inspired piece of design, especially compared to the rest of the car which is otherwise unfussy and supremely smooth—the variable-position rear wing sits perfectly flush and unnoticeable, and the door handles are recessed into the body now, popping out to greet you.
Pull one of them and you’re welcomed by a well-appointed interior that looks decidedly more GT than sports car. The central tach is recessed into the dash to evoke the older generations of the 911, but the P-cars of the ‘70s didn’t have their tachometers sandwiched in by two big screens that spew out all manner of digital info. Thankfully, despite the lack of mechanical gauges and the addition of a huge infotainment screen in the center console, the guts don’t look overwhelming, and there are still enough actual buttons and switches to remind you that you’re sitting in a sports car instead of a Tesla.
As mentioned from the get-go, Porsche is really pushing its new 911’s connection to the digital world. First, there is a the personal assistant program called Porsche 360+, then there’s a system simply called “Road Trip” that helps drivers plan exciting routes with stops along the way, and finally, the hilarious-to-me “Impact.” What that does is measure the carbon footprint you’re making when you drive your 911. I truly don’t understand this part: they will tell you how much you’re hurting the environment, in dollars and cents, and then they give you options of foundations that research and combat climate change so you can donate the amount they’ve calculated you need to in order to offset your footprint. Whew. The ideals behind this are great, but who wants to drive a fast car fast while it tells you how many little polar bears are being pushed out to sea on melting blocks of ice because of your fun? Isn’t this what the Taycan is for?
That’s just me though, and again, it’s a good idea that occupies the moral high ground, so I’ll shut up about it and get back into the car. Porsche is still holding back some stats like weight and skid pad results (the body sans front and rear bumpers is made from aluminum now, so it could be lighter than the last one), but they did include some basic details about a few more electronic systems that will impact the driving experience. One is Porsche Wet mode, which uses sensors to detect puddles and such on the road and adjust the car before you even make contact. Further safety by way of technology comes from a thermal imaging camera that improves safety at night—it could save you from hitting an errant deer on a dark backroad after all.
The cars aren’t due not the road until 2019, and until then all we can do is stay tuned for more information. What do you think about the new 911? Will it create a “narrow-body” movement? Is it time for us to call the 991 “raw” yet?