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First drive: Porsche 911 Carrera 4S. Image by Porsche.

First drive: Porsche 911 Carrera 4S
The Carrera 4S adopts the same 3.0-litre turbo engine of its 911 Carrera relations, to good effect.


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Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Wider, sharper-looking and now quicker than its rear-wheel drive Carrera relations, the new Gen II Carrera 4S is a hugely appealing addition to the Porsche 911 line-up. That it marries old Turbo pace with real driver engagement only makes it a more enticing prospect.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Coupé
Price: £90,843
Engine: 3.0-litre flat-six twin-turbo petrol
Transmission: four-wheel drive, seven-speed manual
Body style: two-door, 2+2 coupé
CO2 emissions: 204g/km (Band K, £290 per year)
Combined economy: 31.7mpg
Top speed: 189mph
0-62mph: 4.2 seconds
Power: 420hp at 6,500rpm
Torque 500Nm at 1,700- to 5,000rpm

What's this?

Another new 911 derivative; the 911 Carrera 4 and 4S models (and the Targa and Cabriolet spin-offs) all now get the same 3.0-litre twin-turbo engine that features in the rear-wheel drive Carrera. Not to be mistaken with the 911 Turbo proper, which remains at the top of the 911 pile with its cruise-missile pace, the adoption of turbocharging across the entire line-up allows Porsche to match customers' expectations for performance, while meeting current and future legislation.

That engine has been as divisive as any seismic change in the 911's technical specification, many bemoaning the turbo's lack of character and high-rev urgency, but with an optional sports exhaust fitted we've not found it lacking in either, and the added low-rev flexibility makes the 911 a faster car more of the time. Here it's mated to a 911 Turbo-derived Porsche Traction Management (PTM) four-wheel drive system. The traction advantage the Carrera 4 has means this is a faster accelerating 911 than its rear-drive relation, by 0.1 seconds across the entire spectrum of choice - be it manual, PDK or PDK with Sport Chrono Plus. Choose the latter and the 3.8-second 0-62mph time is 0.1 seconds quicker than the 'old' 997 Gen I Turbo, underlining the greater pace the new 3.0-litre twin-turbo unit brings to the Carrera line-up. As with the rear-wheel drive version the Carrera 4 gains new head- and tail lights, slightly revised air intakes up front and on top of the engine plus a smarter interior with touchscreen interactivity and easier smartphone connectivity. There's the usual four-wheel drive Carrera visual identifiers, too, such as wider rear haunches and a light bar linking the rear lights - just in case you missed the '4' among the numbers and letters on the engine cover - which is entirely possible given the speed it's likely to be travelling at.

How does it drive?

Such is the pace of Porsche's model onslaught that the Carrera 4S is introduced to us alongside the flagship 911 Turbo proper, that range-topping machine bringing monster performance to the 911's always impressive usability. Perhaps not the time and place to experience the Carrera 4S then? Far from it; where you're left wondering where the feel and engagement is in the 911 Turbo, the Carrera 4S involves and entertains, even if its performance is not quite in the otherworldly sphere of its bombastic relation. It doesn't fall as far short as you'd imagine. On both road and track the C4S impresses enormously, feeling largely rear-driven with all the playfulness that entails, yet providing the reassurance that, should it be needed, the PTM four-wheel drive and torque vectoring can push drive to the front wheels to make best use of the available grip on offer.

The front wheels might take some of the drive from the flexible 3.0-litre flat-six turbo unit, but it doesn't corrupt the steering - the Carrera 4S's wheel delivers not just the accuracy and precision of its rear-drive alternative, but the greater feel that arrived with the Gen II revisions. The turn-in is improved with the option of rear-wheel steer, shortening the wheelbase virtually for greater agility and stability. Add the (also optional) PDCC 20mm lower Sports Chassis with its active anti-roll bars and there's roll-free cornering mixed with ride comfort that's remarkably composed despite the sizeable contact patch and tiny sidewall of the tyres.

The addition of PDK might bring with it the promise of previous-generation 911 Turbo performance, but as with all Gen II Carreras (and Gen I models post-911 GTS introduction), the seven-speed manual has an improved shift quality. It's good enough now to not necessitate the PDK as a default option. Porsche has been unable to resist the temptation to meddle with it, adding rev-matching throttle blips on downshifting when in Sport and Sport+ modes. The only way to switch it off is to drive it in the Normal setting, or remove the electronic safety nets by switching off PSM in Sport or Sport+. We're not quite sure about the logic behind that; surely those traditional enough to opt for three pedals do so because they want to use them properly themselves? There needs to be a more readily available 'off' choice, perhaps within the Individual mode.

The various drive modes are selected via a Mode Switch on the steering wheel when Sport Chrono is fitted. It's Porsche's 'Manettino', without quite as evocative a name, and like all the rest of the interior revisions it's to the benefit of ease of use.

That's true of the overall driving experience; the Carrera 4S is such a composed, fine handling and engaging car, not to mention sensationally quick that it's difficult to imagine a situation where you could reasonable expect to need any more performance on the road. It's a ridiculously capable car, which, feels like a Turbo junior, only with greater feel and precision.


One in three Porsche 911 buyers choose the traction advantage that four-wheel drive adds to the Carrera. Previously we'd have championed the standard rear-wheel drive Carrera instead, but the Carrera 4's is now at the point where it's at least the 2's equal, and by the numbers a better car. Certainly it's the first Carrera 4 we'd buy, as the advantages it brings no longer come with any real compromises.

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Exterior Design

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Comfort

4 4 4 4 4 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain

Kyle Fortune - 27 Jan 2016    - Porsche road tests
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2016 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S. Image by Porsche.2016 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S. Image by Porsche.2016 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S. Image by Porsche.2016 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S. Image by Porsche.2016 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S. Image by Porsche.

2016 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S. Image by Porsche.2016 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S. Image by Porsche.2016 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S. Image by Porsche.2016 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S. Image by Porsche.2016 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S. Image by Porsche.

2016 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S. Image by Porsche.

2016 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S. Image by Porsche.

2016 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S. Image by Porsche.

2016 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S. Image by Porsche.


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