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Driven: Porsche 911 Carrera 4S (992). Image by Porsche UK.

Driven: Porsche 911 Carrera 4S (992)
There will be faster, pricier and more desirable 992s than this one. Hard to know if any will be more brilliantly complete, though.

 



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Porsche 911 Carrera 4S (992)

5 5 5 5 5

Good points: pretty much everything

Not so good: umm... not much; it's a bit pricey, perhaps?

Key Facts

Model tested: Porsche 911 Carrera 4S
Price: 911 range from 82,793; Carrera 4S from 98,418, car as tested 116,647
Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged horizontally opposed six-cylinder petrol
Transmission: eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic, PTM all-wheel drive
Body style: two-door rear-engined sports coupe
CO2 emissions: 206g/km (VED Band 191-225: 1,280 in year one, then 465 per annum years two-six of ownership, then 145 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 26.1mpg
Top speed: 190mph
0-62mph: 3.4 seconds
Power: 450hp at 6,500rpm
Torque: 530Nm at 2,300-5,000rpm
Boot space: 132 litres

Our view:

There are a lot more 992 Porsche 911s to come, given we're only in the very early stages of the eighth-generation sports car's reign. And almost all of them have got to be faster, more desirable and (somehow) more involving than this Carrera 4S. But, honestly, having spent a week with what should turn out to be the second-lowest rung on the 992 ladder, it's really, really hard to know why you could ever possibly want or need more than this. It is a truly sensational car.

What the C4S, to give it its favoured shorthand, manages to do so well is turn every journey into an event, without being anything so wearing as highly strung or demanding. So you feel special tootling around at 30mph in it, just as much as you do clicking that rotary dial around to the right until Sport Plus shows up in the glorious digital instrument cluster display, and then unleashing the Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel-drive system and the full 450hp, revelling in a thoroughly communicative and rewarding chassis as you go.

That the 911 C4S has monster speed should be obvious, just looking at its stats. The 0-62mph time is fully half-a-second quicker than the 997 Turbo; such is the pace of change in the motor industry, even at Porsche, where they have been knocking out astonishingly fast 911s for decades. The current car will do 0-100mph in 8.3 seconds, and 50-75mph in-gear in just 2.3 seconds - it is brain-scramblingly quick, make no mistake. There's no lag from the engine at all, no hesitation from that wonderful PDK transmission, no lack of traction from the PTM (even in wet conditions, which we had a lot of during our test week - which meant we used the Wet mode far more than was strictly necessary); rather, there's just a ridiculous amount of speed available from anywhere on the dial. Better still, the C4S sounds good. There's the usual gruff six-pot notes at lower rpm, which is where it is oh-so-obviously a 911, but the turbos don't completely mute the high-revs roar that the 3.0-litre can emit. Although a 1,844 Sports Exhaust system probably helped matters a lot in this regard.

Of course, with 10mm-lower Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM, a 665 option), massive six-piston front and four-piston rear brake callipers, 20-inch front wheels on 245/35ZR20 tyres and 21-inch rears with 305/30ZR21 rubber, and all of Porsche's excellent chassis electronics and know-how, the C4S is an unmitigated delight to steer. You can still feel that traditional rear-engined manner of the car, with the way the light nose sometimes feels like it is bobbing into corners, but the phenomenal grip and traction levels, plus exquisite damping and body control, means that the Porsche goes exactly where you want it to, in an instant. When we talk about cars that shrink around you, it's because they have this sort of gratifying immediacy, which instils an enormous amount of confidence in the driver. There are few better exponents of such behaviour than the 911.

Yet it's a properly comfortable 2+2 GT when you want it to be. We did more than 250 miles in it during the week, with its best economy of 29.3mpg being extremely commendable, given it was achieved on stop-and-go rural A-roads and not a motorway. The ride comfort is as good as any sports car of any size or price you will encounter, while noise suppression is remarkable; with such fat tyres on the rear axle, you'd expect there to be a lot of chatter in the back of the 992's cabin but such a thing never materialises. Visibility is spot-on in all directions and the calibration of the Porsche's major controls is beautifully executed in all driving modes, so there are discernible variances to each but not a single one where you encounter fuzzy throttle response or horridly gloopy steering, for example.

Crowning all of the 911's magnificent refinement off is what clearly must be the finest interior ever to grace Stuttgart's legendary sports car. While you're looking at a lovely Racing Yellow example in the images, our actual tester was a Dolomite Silver metallic (876) C4S with a Truffle Brown club leather interior with contrast Crayon stitching (1,010). And while press car specs are purely subjective things, this interior was exquisite. It was also enhanced with Adaptive Sports Seats Plus (2,315) with 18-way adjustability and memory function, a 3,258 Burmester surround sound system, the GT Sport steering wheel in matching brown leather (194), the Sport Chrono Package with Mode switch (1,646), Truffle Brown seatbelts (312), the Porsche crest embossed on the head restraints (161) and a brushed aluminium interior package at 758; this little lot accounting for much of the 992's list price swelling from five figures to 116,647. Nevertheless, with the 10.9-inch Porsche Communication Management (PCM) infotainment and a general air of unrelenting quality to all the fixtures and fittings, the 911 C4S has a cabin that is beyond reproach. Especially as the driving position it offers is absolute perfection.

Do we have any criticisms of the 992 C4S? Well, er... it's expensive. Our test car was well into six figures with options, which rather makes a mockery of the older consideration that the 911 was a kind of semi-affordable sports car; its pricing puts it firmly in supercar territory now, although we'd argue that all of its performance, handling and desirability are well beyond the levels of most supercars. Meanwhile, there's a belief that the looks of the 992 aren't quite right, although we'd disagree: that full-width light bar on the sloping rump gives it a distinct identity within the 911 canon, while you can't argue with the form-follows-function purity of one of the industry's most familiar vehicular shapes.

There's perhaps some disappointment when you 'pop the hood'. Opening the 992's 'engine bay', you're greeted with nothing more than the sight of two small fans to help ram cooling air into the beating flat-six heart, a Mobil 1 sticker and the simple legend '3.0 S'. So if you were expecting to see lots of manifolds and pipes and exciting things associated with this brilliant turbocharged boxer motor, think again. It's the car-powerplant equivalent of that entrance corridor in the Men In Black headquarters - all you can see is boring ventilation and featureless expanses, which are hiding a fabulous world of treasures behind. Shame.

But, as you can see, we're really splitting hairs to come up with this list of 'foibles'. We don't even mind that the 'frunk' (front trunk, although - as we're not American - we'd be more inclined to call the 911's cubic nasal storage area the 'froot') is only 132 litres, because the rear seats of the 911 are your natural boot space, accepting that no one particularly tall is going to want to sit in them for a lengthy period of time.

Anyway, please don't misconstrue us: we, like so many others, simply can't wait to see the 992 versions of things like the Carrera T, the GTS, the mighty Turbo and its bonkers Turbo S derivative, the hardcore GT3 and GT3 RS twins, maybe even a new Targa, and the collectors' specials such as the 911 R and Speedster... oh, and don't forget another GT2 RS. But it is hard to see how any of them could be as wonderfully complete, cohesive and downright majestic as this Carrera 4S. Yeah, there's that old chestnut about lower-spec models being 'all the [insert car here] you could ever need', but - in the case of the glittering 992 C4S - it feels like that particular maxim is truer than ever.

Alternatives:

Aston Martin Vantage: a very special car created here by Aston, one which used the old 911 GTS as its benchmark. Vantage is better than that and a superb sports machine, but it costs from 121,000.

Lexus LC 500: has a thunderous and charismatic engine, plus styling to die for. Much more relaxed and GT-ish than the 911, the LC 500 is an oddball but most agreeable alternative choice to the 911.

Mercedes-AMG GT: you need the mad Merc in its lower GT or GT S versions, as - once you get to the GT C - things get serious. Even with its 4.0-litre V8, though, the AMG isn't as polished as the Porsche.


Matt Robinson - 18 Jun 2019









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2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S UK test. Image by Porsche UK.2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S UK test. Image by Porsche UK.2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S UK test. Image by Porsche UK.2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S UK test. Image by Porsche UK.2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S UK test. Image by Porsche UK.

2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S UK test. Image by Porsche UK.2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S UK test. Image by Porsche UK.2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S UK test. Image by Porsche UK.2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S UK test. Image by Porsche UK.2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S UK test. Image by Porsche UK.








 

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