The 992 Generation of the 911 Carrera shows why it is still THE daily-drivable premium sports coupe.
Now more portly and with less flexibility (yours truly, not the Porsche), a trying-on-for-size during the official launch of Porsche NOW pop-up at Guoco Tower was necessary before accepting a daytime review drive of this 992-generation base-spec 911 Carrera.
Though ingress and egress wasn’t exactly a cinch, I’m happy to report that it is rather easily doable without having to worry about throwing one’s back out, which is more than can be said about some other low-slung sporty/sports sedans and coupes.
At over half a million dollars before COE, the 911 Carrera finds itself going up against the likes of the BMW M3 and M4, an historic rivalry that still continues to this day. From a practicality standpoint, the Bimmers naturally have the upper hand, but they’re both sedan-based and taller, whereas the Porsche is ground-up a lower-slung sports coupe.
Not much has changed with the 911 Carrera’s overall look since its inception. The formula is simple, and has been evolved upon rather than revolutionised with newer generations. Sure, it’s gotten bigger over time and gone from air-cooled to water-cooled and from naturally aspirated to turbocharged engines, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, although purists would likely beg to differ.
Sitting here in Option Code P3 Racing Yellow, this 911 Carrera is eye-catching but not outlandishly so, and still keeps with the traditional Teutonic ethos of restrained sportiness. There’s a usable frunk/froot as usual, and the engine’s slung well behind the rear axle.
While 19- and 20-inch rims and tyres are standard-fitment, the press car’s Code 46I optional staggered set of 245/35ZR20 and girthy 305/30ZR21 NA0-marked Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 (F1A3) tyres serve to further underpin the 911 Carrera’s musculature, especially from the rear. Fun fact - the letter ‘N’ in ‘NA0’ stands for ‘Nürburgring.’
The 911 Carrera comes standard-fitted with 14-way electrical sports seats with memory package. However, the seats of this review 911 Carrera feature elevated side bolsters and a more pronounced curvature around the shoulders for more support in the twisties, electrical adjustments for the seatbacks for tilt and squabs for height, but manual fore and aft adjustment. In other words, Code Q4Q Sports Seats Plus, which can be spec’d as a no-cost option. This is actually quite endearing and in keeping with the “base-spec” ethos.
There are rear seats, if one can call them that, but I wouldn’t ask anyone to sit there. Think of that area as a nice cubby for helmets while driving up to Sepang for an enjoyable track day, or for other items like briefcases or backpacks during weekdays. Sure, a baby seat can be squeezed back there, but would you want to contort yourself that much to get your beloved offspring settled in?
Otherwise, the interior is simple, straightforward, clearly laid out and ergonomic as one would expect of a 911. The infotainment features wireless connectivity for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a banging Bose sound system that can play loud and clear. Even the Chicken McNugget-esque gear selector is easy to get used to.
That’s all well and good, but what matters most is how the 911 Carrera drives.
One word - sublime. Given that this review car was only available during business hours for one day, it was primarily “daily-driven” to find out what the 911 Carrera would be like to live with day in and out.
Reversing into and out of parking lots is easy, aided by the reverse camera. On the move, be it in city-street traffic, traffic jams or at highway speeds, the 8-speed automated dual-clutch PDK does a great job of keeping things civil and smooth. About the only driving-aid option I’d specify is Code 8T3 Adaptive Cruise Control. Let’s face it, there will be those days where one just wants to get home and be done with the commute, be it due to fatigue or something else, and adaptive cruise would come in very handy and make the 911 Carrera that much more flexible to live with.
Of course, just pootling around in a 911 Carrera would be to miss its raison d'être and so, the loud pedal was mashed to the floorboard once while in Comfort mode. Ohhhh BOY...
The 911 Carrera took off aggressively and shot down the road in time to catch the tail-end of a green light to hang a right at the junction ahead. If Comfort mode was already this aggressive, what would Sport Plus be like?
As the three-litre twin-turbo boxer-six howled and wailed the Teutonic clarion call of its people and brrrrap’d its way through gear changes while hurtling the sports coupe toward the horizon, my now-almost-wet seat-of-pants ‘dyno’ suggested 420-450hp rather than the 380hp on-paper spec. Again, none of these brief squirts were done with launch control; the accelerator was simply floored from a standstill.
Back into Sport mode and with the dampers in their Comfort setting, the 911 Carrera was treated to a narrow winding-road experience. Those Eagle F1A3s remained glued to the tarmac with nary a squeal of protest as the 911 Carrera cleanly carved those curves, with the rear-end rotating beautifully on-throttle to point the nose in the intended direction of travel.
At the end of the test-drive, the 911 Carrera even managed surprisingly decent fuel economy, clocking in an overall calculated average of 11.4km/litre or 8.78-litres/100km across 161.8km and bested Porsche’s on-paper claim of 9.2km/litre or 10.9-litres/100km. As usual, your mileage may vary.
clockwise from top left: pure street, mostly highway, winding road & return to showroom
While purists may bemoan the loss of a naturally aspirated engine, and I do get the appeal of said powerplant, the addition of two turbochargers to the now-downsized boxer-six has made the 911 Carrera that much more flexible as a daily driver, with torquey in-gear acceleration that makes point-and-squirt overtaking manoeuvres easy rather than calculated.
One needn’t worry about "leaving some sports-car experience on the table” while owning this “base-spec” 911 Carrera either, for it has more than ample juice and grip to offer obligatory thrills and highs, and wholly fulfils the project-brief of “my first premium sports coupe.”
And… no one can accuse the 911 Carrera of feeling cold, clinical and sterile either, because unlike some other German sports cars, this one’s got soul. Lots of it. It is playful, engaging and puts a wide smile on one’s face.
Base is not JUST base.
Have a play with the online configurator. This is my ideal 911 Carrera options list:
P3 - Racing Yellow
46I - 20-/21-inch Carrera S wheels
Q4Q - Sports seats Plus, electrical 4-ways
8M1 - Rear wiper
8T3 - Adaptive cruise control
4D3 - Seat ventilation (front) (which requires…)
4A3 - Seat heating (front)
Total cost with options - S$589,628 without COE (accurate at the time of this article)
Photography credit: Sean Loo (@auto.driven)
Porsche 911 Carrera
Engine: 2,981cc flat 6, twin-turbocharged
Power: 385hp @ 6,500rpm
Torque: 450Nm @ 1,950-5,000rpm
Gearbox: 8-speed twin-clutch automated
Top Speed: 293km/h (claimed)
0-100km/h: 4.2 seconds (claimed)
Price: from S$559,888 without COE (accurate at the time of this article)
Contact: Porsche Singapore