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992 Carrera S

Porsches Stand Proud Among A Fleet of Distinguished Sports Cars

You have to hand it to CAR magazine. Few gather such motley groups such as these and find a common thread through them all. Not many put a Lamborghini Huracan on the same stage as a Renault Megane. Because the cars featured here are both the spiffiest versions of the mentioned models, they find similarities which help them stand out as formidable members of their annual Sports Car Giant Test.

When you stage a Lamborghini Huracan Evo, a Toyota Supra GR, a Renault Megane R.S. Trophy-R, and a McLaren 600LT Spyder against one another, any remaining entrant must be well-bred. Interestingly, CAR decided to take two different Porsches along for their annual trip to Northern Wales for this heralded trip. Many eagerly await this yearly comparison of focused machines from different backgrounds, so seeing as Porsche is the only marque to have two models fielded here, you might suspect they and their readers have some preference for Stuttgart products.

Proving Power Unimportant

With its dimensions, its rev-happy motor, and its chassis refinement, the GT4 is unrivaled on confidence-testing backroads.

While the supercars provide the most power, they’re not necessarily the most focused of the bunch. It’s the hot hatch from Renault and the mid-engined masterpiece from Porsche which are arguably the best barroom brawlers. Their agility, purity, lightweight composition, and stellar weight distribution make these two the cars which put the driver at the forefront of the driving experience. Additionally, the Cayman GT4 sports a 4.0-liter with 414 horsepower, which means it’s far from a momentum machine. It still retains the disappointing ratios, but the added displacement makes it usable and involving at any speed.

With tactile surfaces and detailed messages through its inputs, the Cayman GT4 punches above the position its power would suggest it occupies. We know how these cars are confidence-inspiring, and how their short wheelbase and compact size helps you wring its neck along an uneven backroad. With all these assets, this welterweight brawler proves that outright power doesn’t determine the ideal driving experience.

A Sophisticated Cruiser

The focus and involving nature of the Cayman GT4 isn’t for everyone. Those who don’t lust for a wild weekend cruising canyons and drinking strong coffee might opt for a slighter softer option from the Porsche lineup. The 992 Carrera S is heavier, plusher, and much more practical. Because this is the softest machine in this company, this doesn’t make ears bleed, joints creak, and sphincters tighten. It provides a reassuring, smooth, and sophisticated ride which still staggers the initiate and stuns the experienced driver.

It’s by no means a lightweight car, but it still defies its 3,400 pounds thanks to incredible traction and a benign balance. It changes direction as you’d like, but the slightly vague steering is an unfortunate byproduct of its compromised nature. If you can get used to the chilled and mildly restrained feel—which is overcome by the 443 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque across the near-entirety of the rev range—there’s plenty to enjoy. While the 992 Carrera S might not get up on its toes quite like its svelter little brother, it does a stellar job of excelling on both the sedate drive to the supermarket and the scenic route blitz on the way home.

How do these two fare against the McLaren, Lamborghini, Renault, and Toyota? Watch and find out. You might be surprised.

Arguably the better option when the ability to grab groceries is a requirement.

 
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The 2020 Porsche 992 Carrera S Is Quick But Isn’t Much Of A Track Star

Give a car to Steve Sutcliffe and he’s bound to flog it within an inch of its life. He extracts every iota of performance from the car, and in addition to giving a good thrashing, gives it a fair judgement. For that reason, he’s one of the best. How many journalists can run times similar to an F1 test driver in that test driver’s regular F1 car?

Of course, he prefaces his critique of the 992 Carrera S with the acknowledgement that it’s first and foremost a road car, and not a racing car. That said, it does wear an S on its rear hatch, which holds it to certain expectations.

The front end is reminiscent of the 959’s, isn’t it?

It has to be said that, as a car optimized for road usage, it’s a success. More power, 391 lb/ft of torque from 1,900 revs, and an exquisite exterior make it a hit. However, its added heft make it a less involving car. Add a small amount of girth, and it’s immediately noticeable on road or track; the car is just not as placeable.

Still, it managed a 1:16.00 around Anglesey, which is nothing to sniff at. Considerably quicker than the 991 Carrera S, and even faster than a Nissan GT-R, there’s no denying its pace. Only being 0.8 of a second off a 991.1 Turbo, especially at a circuit that rewards the punchier motors, speaks to the power this mid-tier 911 offers. It’s a staggering amount of performance for a car that isn’t truly made with the track in mind, and as civil as any two-door Porsche on the market.

Still, Sutcliffe is underwhelmed. Noticeable heft, a less incisive front, and a less characterful motor make it « quick with a lower-case q. » While his standards for track performance probably exceed most owners’, it’s still refreshing to hear a blunt, reasoned, and fair take on a car that will undoubtedly stretch a smile across the face of 95% of its users.

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What Is The New 992 Like To Drive? Ask Chris Harris

There are very few people who have driven the newest version of Porsche’s iconic 911. One of those lucky few is Top Gear host Chris Harris. He’s been an incredible car reviewer for as long as I can remember, and his is an opinion worth trusting. When you give him the keys to a new 911, he’s going to hang the rear end out a bit and tell you the hard facts of how it compares to the competition.

While a track test isn’t going to do much for on road feeling, as roads tend to be considerably bumpier and unforgiving than race tracks, it’s encouraging that Harris is still impressed with the new 911’s handling and dynamics. It’s bigger, heavier, more powerful, and allegedly better on fuel, but is it better? Well, it’s nicer. The interior seems to be an improvement still over the 991 while providing a throwback to prior generations of 911.

The car is really fast, but it doesn’t bristle quite the way an older 911 did. It’s still a sports car, says Harris, but it’s too comfortable and competent to really inspire. It’s not a revolution, but a sensible and clever evolution. All of that might seem like a big negative, but in Harris’ eyes it’s a nice piece of kit. I think it looks properly good in Speed Yellow, too.

Complaints? The cupholder is ugly and hardly useful. The door handles are fiddly little pop-out deals. The engine is, as before, hidden under a couple of fans and a plastic cover. And, despite being a brand new 8-speed PDK, the gearbox is « a little lackluster » compared to the unit in a last-gen GT3. If you can live with that, the new 911 might be a really good choice.

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