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First drive: Porsche 911 Carrera (992). Image by Porsche UK.

First drive: Porsche 911 Carrera (992)
The 992 goes from strength to strength early doors, as the 385hp Carrera makes a strong case for being ‘all the 911 you could ever need’.

 



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Porsche 911 Carrera (992)

5 5 5 5 5

Strip the 992 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S of 65 horsepower, 80 Newton metres of torque, a couple of driveshafts and about £26,000 of expense, and what do you get? Our favourite new 911, that's what. Here's the belting 911 Carrera Coupe.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe PDK (992)
Pricing: 911 range from £82,793, Carrera Coupe as tested £90,891
Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged flat-six petrol
Transmission: rear-wheel drive, eight-speed PDK double-clutch automatic
Body style: two-door coupe
CO2 emissions: 205g/km (VED Band 191-225: £1,280 first 12 months, then £465 per annum years two-six of ownership, then £145 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 28.5mpg
Top speed: 182mph
0-62mph: 4.2 seconds
Power: 385hp at 6,500rpm
Torque: 450Nm at 1,950-5,000rpm
Boot space: 132 litres

What's this?

It's the vehicle which should remain as the entry point to brand-new 992-generation Porsche 911 ownership, although it's likely that a Carrera T could be spun off this particular model. Yes, it's the 911 Carrera, the plain old bog-basic Carrera, the 'Popular Plus' of 911s. Shorn of the 'S' moniker found on the backs of the two- and four-wheel-drive 450hp/530Nm variants of Porsche's evergreen sports car, which we've already driven in eight-gen 992 form as the Coupe and the Cabriolet, what you have here is the same '9A2 Evo' flat-six, twin-turbocharged engine, mounted at the back of the car and delivering slightly lesser outputs of 385hp and 450Nm. You can channel the engine's grunt to the rear wheels alone or to all corners, meaning you have Carrera and Carrera 4 variants, while buyers may also choose whether they want a tin-top Coupe or the wind-in-their-hair Cabriolet - that means there are four different 911s in the 992 Carrera canon, with the change from a Carrera to an equivalent Carrera 4 costing £5,308 and the upgrade from Coupe to Cabriolet a further £9,645. Base prices therefore start at £82,793 for a Carrera Coupe, rising to £97,746 for a C4 Cab.

What we've got here, then, is the 911 'baby': a 911 Carrera Coupe, 2WD edition. And yet, to look at 'A 911' (what a private plate, by the way), you wouldn't think this was junior in any way, shape or form. Admittedly, it has been helped by Porsche's UK PR team specifying it in the stunning combination of Aventurine Green metallic paint (£876) over a Black/Island Green two-tone leather interior (£422), then chucking on some choice items like 20-inch front, 21-inch rear Carrera S alloys (£1,145) with their wheel centres adorned with a full-colour Porsche crest (£114) and some privacy glass (£387) at the back. The overall effect is sensational, the subtle shade making the most of the 992's unique design details and also that oh-so-familiar 911 shape, while the cabin is a sumptuous delight; the bicolour finish really emphasises the sculptural, two-tier arrangement of the 992's cabin, while light leather always makes a premium car feel just that touch more premium still.

Further options on this particular test Carrera included a mix of the functional (Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus (PDLS Plus) added to the LED headlights for £699, a reversing camera enhancing the standard-fit front and rear ParkAssist for £464, auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors with an integrated rain sensor for £387, and 14-way-adjustable, fully electric Sports seats for £1,599), the fripperies (Porsche crests embossed on the headrests for £161) and the fantastic (the Sports exhaust system for £1,844), bringing the total cost to a not-inconsiderable £90,891. But two things to note here: the first is that Porsche's standard spec on the Carrera is actually pretty generous, as many of the cost options listed here enhance items that are already included (such as the camera for the ParkAssist, the PDLS Plus, and the extra electrical adjustment plus memory function of the Sports seats that you'll get as standard, which come with partial-electric adjustment anyway) and there are some useful regular toys fitted throughout the 911, too (like Porsche Communication Management on a beautiful 10.9-inch touchscreen, heated seats, cruise control, dual-zone climate, the twin seven-inch TFT screens in the instrument cluster, keyless-go and the Porsche Wet Mode, among more); and the second is that, even with all these extras added, this sublime 911 Carrera came in at a mere £2,790 more than a factory-basic Carrera 4 would cost and a whole £25,756 less than the optioned-up Carrera 4S Coupe which represented the last 992 we drove on UK soil.

So if the 911 Carrera can drive as well as its 450hp all-paws sibling, Very Good Things could be about to happen indeed. The early signs are promising: not only does it look sensational from the outside, but you sit so wonderfully sited in the cabin, low to the floor but not so slumped that you can't see out of the 992's big glasshouse, your view out of the windscreen framed by the characteristic front wings of a 911 towering to the sides of the bonnet, the absolutely magnificent steering wheel feeling perfect in your hands and the little stubby razor-like gearlever at easy reach to click the PDK transmission into D and set off. Can the Carrera deliver on its substantial pre-drive promise?

How does it drive?

The only area you are going to notice the difference between a Carrera and its equivalent Carrera S (be it a '2', 4, Coupe or Cab, or any combination thereof) is when you're making the twin-turbo engine reach from 5,000-7,000rpm on full throttle. Now, whether you're in the 385hp German or the 450hp derivative, invariably you're going to be breaking the speed limit by some terrific margin if you do such a thing in any gear beyond second. Thus, while we absolutely adored the C4S when we had that for a week in 2019, there's no doubt about it: we'd now be recommending the Carrera first and foremost.

You simply cannot ignore that you get 99.9 per cent of the driving and performance experience from this 911 that you do from the C4S, only you'll have enough spare cash in your sky-rocket to go out and buy a fully specced-up Ford Fiesta ST-3. Seriously, on part-throttle openings and in everyday driving situations, the Carrera feels every bit as fast and as special as the S. It makes the same tremendous noises, the 9A2 Evo gargling at low revs, then transforming into a cleaner, meaner aria as its rev counter swings past 4,000rpm and begins homing in on the redline. It revs just as eagerly as the brawnier version, too, and despite the lack of AWD traction, the Carrera '2' continues to fire out of corners and away from roundabouts with an alacrity that'll make other road-users wonder if they're standing still.

This is a fast car. Even without Sport Chrono, it'll do 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds and 182mph flat out, where appropriate, but if you want more startling stats to demonstrate its pace, then look at the 0-100mph time (it's a 'sub-ten', by some clear margin, at 9.3 seconds - nine-point-three for a basic Carrera!) or the in-gear 50-75mph time, which is a mere 2.6 seconds. What with the sensational PDK aiding and abetting it with its whipcrack shifts and complete lack of hesitance to sudden throttle inputs, we cannot for a minute imagine Carrera buyers would ever be lamenting their decision not to splurge more for the 450hp S.

Rear-drive also does wonders for the 992's always-excellent steering, as it feels that little bit purer and more involving when there's no torque going to the leading axle. This lack of leading driveshafts means that the Carrera Coupe rocks in at a mere 1,580kg in this trim, which allows it to rapidly change direction with a composure that's almost eerie, considering where most of the mass of the car lies. Indeed, the Carrera is every inch the 911 in dynamic terms, as it's agile, rewarding, supremely balanced and yet just a little bit playful too, letting you know that the engine is beyond the rear axle. There's even that trademark bobbing sensation to the nose of the car, when you fling the Carrera into a corner with the rear tyres loaded up to the max; it's something which made people fall in love with the earlier 911s, so it will please them that the 992 does much the same thing.

So it looks great, it sounds great, it goes great and it handles great. And then the Carrera lands its final knockout blow on its own stablemate, because it's going to be a lot easier on the wallet when it comes to running costs. Porsche claims broadly similar eco-stats (economy and CO2 emissions) for all of the Carreras, be that the 385- or 450hp models, and irrespective of their driven wheels and/or their body style. And yet, driven in almost the same sort of manner as the Carrera, the C4S we tested in 2019 gave back a best of 29.3mpg on the motorway and 21.2mpg overall. This Aventurine Carrera? It managed 35.5mpg and an overall 27.4mpg; crikey, it's like the 911 Diesel or something! Throw in the usual epic ride comfort (because the highly desirable Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) with adjustable damping is standard on even the Carrera) and refinement, which was only slightly marred by increased tyre roar from the optional rear 21s, and the Carrera is easily going to prove itself to be the most practical, GT-like 911 of the lot. Honestly, this Porsche put in such a complete performance across the course of a week, it made us wonder why any other variant of 911 is even necessary, it really did.

Verdict

Assuming that the track-day diehards who proudly proclaim themselves to be in the 'Porsche 911 Aficionado' category are waiting for the 992 version of the scintillating GT3, and its demented RS offspring, to arrive to satisfy their needs for a car which can lap the Nordschleife in seven minutes, and that the poseurs will automatically gravitate to the 650hp Turbo S, we feel the Carrera Coupe represents the greatest all-round 911 of the lot. Its kinematic majesty cannot be ignored, nor can the fact it's the only new 911 you can actually still buy for a five-figure sum. Sorry, C4S, we love you to bits, but we loved 'A 911' that little bit more. Utterly phenomenal stuff from Suttgart, this... as it ever is.

5 5 5 5 5 Exterior Design

5 5 5 5 5 Interior Ambience

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Passenger Space

3 3 3 3 3 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Comfort

5 5 5 5 5 Driving Dynamics

5 5 5 5 5 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 11 Mar 2020









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2020 Porsche 911 Carrera UK test. Image by Porsche UK.2020 Porsche 911 Carrera UK test. Image by Porsche UK.2020 Porsche 911 Carrera UK test. Image by Porsche UK.2020 Porsche 911 Carrera UK test. Image by Porsche UK.2020 Porsche 911 Carrera UK test. Image by Porsche UK.

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera UK test. Image by Porsche UK.2020 Porsche 911 Carrera UK test. Image by Porsche UK.2020 Porsche 911 Carrera UK test. Image by Porsche UK.2020 Porsche 911 Carrera UK test. Image by Porsche UK.2020 Porsche 911 Carrera UK test. Image by Porsche UK.








 

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