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The quintessential Porsche experience... again

S Muralidhar | Updated on April 25, 2019 Published on April 25, 2019

Setting the track on fire The new 911 gets a 30 hp increase in power and does 0-100 kmph in less than four seconds

The sporty interiors

Setting the track on fire The new 911 gets a 30 hp increase in power and does 0-100 kmph in less than four seconds

The LED strip connecting the two tail-lamps

Eighth generation 911 remains unchanged in that it is predictably better in design and performance than the predecessor

There are very, very, very few cars like the Porsche 911. Its buyers are fixated about their choice and are often ready to put down more cash just to get an extra edge in what is already arguably one of the most versatile and reliable sports cars in the world. The 911 has seen eight generations of improvement and refinement, yet to the average person, this model that has defined brand Porsche for 56 years, will probably seem like it has hardly changed. That is a tribute to the original’s timeless design.

The 911’s design is an icon that has been preserved and yet each new generation seems to get better in all the key performance parameters. In fact, if you can identify changes in the current generation compared to the original, chances are that these were dictated by pressure from the engineers at the aerodynamics department or the ones at the powertrain performance department who want each new generation of the 911 to better the previous. Every small gain that can be had is explored; an example of that are the new electrical pop-out door handles that ensure a smooth side contour in the eighth-generation 911.

Genetic advantage

Porsche is probably also the only sports car-maker that can manage to pull out a feature like air-conditioning and charge its customers extra if they want it in their car. In the quest for better performance, taking light-weighting to the extreme is the norm with this brand and the new 911 is no exception. Most of its outer shell is made with aluminium. And tiny increments in weight-savings are celebrated, like the three kilos that engineers have managed to shave off the seats in the new model! Despite this, the new seats are more supportive at the limits and more comfortable to sit in during long journeys.

Porsche’s fans are so picky and focussed like the car itself, that every change in the 911 is scrutinised for its benefits and trade-offs. So, while there has been a collective cry of disbelief that a manual transmission is not being offered, the eight-gen model’s increase in dimensions have also been looked at with mild scepticism, especially the increase in width, which many believe could make it less maneuverable in crowded cities and parking lots. After all, it is so over-engineered that it can do hundreds of burnouts and launches on the track and this legendary reliability makes the 911 so easy to use even on the daily commute.

But, in many ways, the new 911 captures the essence of Porsche DNA, making it more focussed on performance and yet more driveable everyday than ever before. So, where can be a better place to experience a car of this caliber than the race track. So, a couple of weeks ago, I found myself in the new 911 barreling down the back straight of the Buddh International F1 Circuit and negotiating the cone-lined chicanes that the friendly folks from Porsche Germany had set up for us journalists.

Wider and faster

The new 911 (internal code 992) is bigger than even the wider of the two versions that the predecessor (code 991) was offered in. The tradition of offering the car in two width versions is gone with this new one. Though the wheelbase remains the same, and the new generation model’s length is only 21 mm more, it is 44 mm wider than the previous gen and it shows up when viewed from the rear. Also the wider rear tyres (than the front tyres) make it look like the new model is meant to hug tarmac like never before. Behind the wheel and while taking some of BIC’s sharp corners 4 and 5, the new 911 really surprised me with the nonchalance with which it can apex the turns at even higher speeds.

The exterior design of the new 911 looks like a smoothed-out version of its predecessor. The roofline is actually 7 mm taller, though with the new wider haunches and wheel arches, it looks more squat and seems lower. What we were driving on the track were the new Carrera S coupe and cabriolets brought in from Stuttgart for the Porsche World Road Show and that is why the background is the BIC in these pictures, while the cars in the foreground bear German number plates. At the rear, the new 911 gets a few tweaks too, starting with the new intake vents that, clearly not coincidentally, feature nine slats on the left and right of what looks like a twin-slatted stoplight that looks very much like a ‘11’. To distinguish the Carrera S from the 4S, look for chrome garnishes over these vent slats. The other new addition is the LED light strip that now connects the two tail-lamps. The new rear spoiler has been another feature that has been discussed amongst fans — it now looks like a part of the rear panel ripping off and rising up while you are doing three-digit speeds.

More horses

The new 911 gets a boost in performance with a 30 hp increase in power delivered by the turbocharged flat-six petrol engine of the Carrera S coupe and cabriolet. With 450 horses powering the rear wheels, eliciting the kind of acceleration that gets one white-knuckled and buried into the seat backrest is just a throttle tap away. Both the coupe and cabriolet manage the 0-100 kmph run in less than four seconds. It is 3.7 seconds for the 911 Carrera S coupe. On the track, there is so much power still left unutilised that the cars hardly get strained during multiple laps.

Incidentally, did you know that Porsche takes the average of the 0-100 kmph runs with and without launch control on? Power is transmitted to the wheels by a newly developed version of Porsche’s eight-speed dual-clutch transmission (PDK); shifts are quicker and response times feel tighter. Top speed is now 308 kmph for the 911 Carrera S and 306 kmph for the cabriolet.

The new model’s cabin also gets an upgrade with new switchgear and a new layout for the centre stack with easy access to all the essential drive-related controls. But the new selector stick, which looks like a car key that has been stuck into the centre console could be a ‘love it or hate it’ feature. It looks futuristic, but doesn’t fall into my hands like a chunky gear selector knob would.

The displays are all digital now, with two frameless digital screens offering all the critical data to the driver, in addition to the central rev counter. The centre screen featuring Porsche Communication Management is now a 10.9-inch touchscreen.

 

Yes please!

Despite its haloed position, the 911 is a very approachable car. It is one of those rare cars that you can drive to the track, experience it at the very edge of its prowess at the track and drive it back home, if you still have some tread left on the tyres. With a more refined chassis, a new version of the Porsche Active Suspension Management and even better braking performance, the dynamics of the new 911 Carrera S models have improved significantly. This is yet another generation of the 911 on which Porsche has managed the unthinkable — making it even better than the predecessor. The Porsche 911 Carrera S is now available for bookings for an ex-showroom price of ₹1.82 crore and the Carrera S Convertible is priced at ₹1.99 crore.

Published on April 25, 2019
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