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A Surplus of Tech and Performance: Has Porsche Gone Too Far?

Clarksonian excess is positively joyous on paper, and the items that grab review headlines trend towards both the extreme and the concrete. Everyone with a bit of petrol in their veins knows that 700 horsepower is a lot, and 200 is simply not very many. At the same time, not everyone agrees on what makes a car fun. What works in a headline to bring people in, and what constitutes thoughtful criticism that keeps people reading are not necessarily the same. For that reason the subject of excess in modern Porsches requires further examination. While the sales figures indicate that Porsche has their customer base pretty well nailed, does it necessarily follow that the brand has stayed reasonable and accessible?

Too Fast?

Mr. JWW contends that maybe, for road drivers, Porsche has gone too far. The GT2 RS is designed to work on track, that is part of its very nature. At the same time, the compromises required to make it the fastest production car around the ‘Ring make it almost entirely inaccessible on the street. At its intended purpose the GT2 RS is virtually unrivaled, but on road the edges of the car’s performance envelope become infuriatingly distant.

This isn’t a problem that is unique to the GT2 RS, the GT2 RS is simply emblematic of it. In terms of straight-line speed any 911 will get deep in to triple digits before it feels like it is breathing hard. Despite being significantly more road and comfort oriented than the GT2, both the Turbo and Turbo S still offer more performance in every metric than can be routinely enjoyed out in the world of traffic and rogue deer.

The merits of « slow car fast » are often parroted, but if the majority of your enjoyment comes off-track that does hold a fair amount of water. At road speeds is a GT2 RS more enjoyable than a Carrera Club Sport or a 993 Carrera RS despite how much more performance it offers? Does this prodigious performance mean modern Porsches offer « too much » performance, or is it indicative of users simply refocusing what sort of enjoyment they seek from their cars?

Too Much Tech?

While I am certain that the paragraphs above are going to be somewhat contentious, I don’t think this will: New cars have a lot of tech in them. New Porsches have an extraordinary, and occasionally overwhelming, amount of tech in them. While Porsche clung to their analog roots for an extremely long time, hop in a 996 Carrera and compare the number of toys on offer to a current car, the 992 is a technological marvel of adaptive suspension, rear wheel steering, and programmable drive modes.

While all of these ingredients make the car faster, do they make for a better sports car? Had Porsche not stayed current the brand’s popular sports cars could have become niche curiosities like the eternally-lovable range of Morgans. While many enthusiasts claim to prefer simplicity, the broader market does not follow. The current 911 tries to be all things to all people, and the host contends that in comfort mode the car is decidedly more GT car than outright sports car.

The interior is more complex as well, with an analog rev counter flanked by configurable digital displays at both sides, and a dash-mounted infotainment display of a size that would make an iPad blush. Perhaps all this makes the new 911 more versatile, but does it make for a better sports car? Is it a step too far?

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Comparing the 992 Carrera S Against a Rawer Rival

While its undoubtedly true the latest iterations of the Carrera have softened their image, expanded their midsection, and grown more commercially appealing, they still retain a level of performance that wows the enthusiast. Especially when considering the gains brought by modern turbocharging and PDK gearboxes, there’s not much the typical user is left wanting for—at least in terms of straightline speed.

However, at what price do the electric steering, heavier transmissions, forced induction come? To get a better sense of the tactile, visceral losses caused by modern technology, Henry Catchpole staged the 992 Carrera S against another European 2+2 with comparable power, price, and weight.

Its rawer rival is the Lotus Evora GT410 Sport, and simply by posing the two cars beside one another, we see how their designs speak volumes. In comparison, the Evora looks like a child’s plaything, whereas the Carrera S is a subdued, sophisticated sports cruiser. Perhaps it’s just the shade of Smurf blue adorning the Lotus’ hide which causes that perception, but the dated interior doesn’t help that view much.

Looks aside, what we’re truly concerned with is that elusive trait of connection. With that occasionally irritating but always informative feedback through the wheel, the Evora’s steering feel bests the subdued and smoothened electric steering in the 992. There’s simply more information coming from the front axle.

Additionally, the V6’s bark barges into the Evora’s cabin in a way that the Porsche’s softer note sneaks into its cabin. Though musical, the Porsche’s muffled exhaust note fails to give it the same sense of occasion.

The 450-pound difference between the two makes the Lotus a much more wieldy car on narrow country roads; there’s no escaping weight. It’s clear that liveliness seems to come with some setbacks, especially in this price range. That’s quite interesting considering both cars, at 73″, are equally wide—and that the Evora has a longer wheelbase. There really is no escaping heft.

Though as quick, it lacks the some level of involvement that makes its blue rival so appealing.

While the plush Porsche is a better car for most, and is by no means a Panamera in athletic garb, it has undoubtedly lost something. The pared-down, straightforward, honest car that made its predecessors such involving cars is still very much alive in the Evora. The tinny, shed-built brawlers like the Lotus are such stimulating driver’s cars largely because their focus is on connection, and not mass consumer appeal. While the Porsche might be as fast if not faster over a stretch of country road, the Evora is the one that will leave its user buzzing.

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991 v 992: the ultimate battle

It’s fair to say Porsche’s executives can be mighty pleased with the way the company’s eighth generation of 911 has been received so far. The Neunelfer is, after all, the bedrock of Zuffenhausen: an entire automotive operation is administered with this iconic car at its centre.

Of course it’s crucial that any new 911 must succeed in obtaining the approval of a global fanbase so impassioned by it. In the case of the 992, succeeded it has… and then some.

Not since the arrival of the 997.1 has a new generation of 911 been met with such resounding acclaim by all corners of the motoring spectrum. The 992 has built nicely on the foundations of the 991 before it, an era which didn’t exactly enjoy the same instant endearment.

Its bloated size over the outgoing 997 was lamented, as was the uptake of electrically assisted steering, both of which were seen as surefire signs of a general creep away from the 911’s all-out sports car demeanor in favour of a more comfortable grand tourer.

Despite what might best be described as a takeoff with turbulence, the 991 has gone on to become one of the most popular 911 generations of all time, right where it matters – in the showroom. Even after that mid-life introduction of turbocharging for the entire Carrera range, customers continued to back the car handsomely with their wallets. As a result, the 991 is a best-seller.

The 992 is still wet behind the ears in terms of its production cycle. There are only four models to choose from, Carrera S or 4S in Coupe or Cabriolet, but, with sales managers in an effervescent glow from early reviews, it’s about time the new arrival was put directly against its predecessor.

The 992 Carrera 4S Coupe’s RRP in the UK might be £98,418, but once you’ve added some sensible options you won’t see much change from £115,000 – our Dolomite silver press car here comes in at £116,467.

That’s the same figure you can expect to pay for a 991.2 GTS right now, either straight from the production line, as some late examples are still being built alongside the 992, or from a host of used examples currently available with around 1,000 miles on the clock. The stage is therefore set: what’s better, a new 992 C4S or a well-specced 991.2 C4 GTS?

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Essai video Porsche 992 : une huitième génération de 911 en question

La Corse est probablement la plus belle île sur Terre. Ne serait-ce que pour ses routes, divines. On ne pouvait donc pas faire autrement que d’y venir essayer la meilleure sportive du monde. Enfin si tant est que la nouvelle Porsche 911 est encore une sportive…

Voilà, le débat est lancé. Une énième fois, parce que nous nous doutons bien que ce n’est pas forcément le premier essai de la 992 sur lequel vous tombez chers lecteurs.

Et les reportages de nos confrères ont peut-être déjà répondu à la plupart de vos interrogations à propos de cette huitième génération de 911. Mais il reste une question, pour nous essentielle, qui n’a pas encore trouvé de réponse. Et il aurait été dommage de ne pas se la poser, ici, sur l’île de beauté.

A bord de la nouvelle 911, peut-on…?

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Essai Porsche 911 (992) cabriolet : un air de perfection

Déjà huit générations pour la reine 911. Mais seulement sept au crédit du cabriolet, incarné, pour la première fois, par la “série G”, en 1982. Un modèle bien frêle, aux côtés de son nouvel héritier (type 992), le plus musclé de la lignée, avec ses hanches “XL” (+ 45 mm par rapport au précédent modèle), ses jantes de 20 et 21 pouces, son pare-brise très incliné et sa capote surbaissée. Sous certains angles, transparaît presque l’allure ramassée des mythiques versions Speedster : un couvre-chef, proche du toit rigide rétractable de par sa conception (quatre éléments individuels) et l’agrément procuré, 100 % électrique, manœuvrable en roulant (jusqu’à 50 km/h), et surtout, peu chronophage, douze secondes suffisant à le faire disparaître entre les étroites places arrière et le traditionnel flat-six en porte-à-faux. Le conducteur profite alors d’une visibilité accrue, la rétrovision, voiture fermée, laissant franchement à désirer… Un second bouton permet de déployer le très efficace saute-vent (même à plus de 130 km/h…), si bien intégré que personne ne soupçonne sa présence en position “repos“.

Pour le reste, on retrouve, sans surprise, le très agréable poste de conduite du coupé, léché dans le moindre détail, numérique à souhait (écran principal tactile), mais aussi fidèle aux coutumes en vigueur à Zuffenhausen, à l’image de l’instrumentation à cinq cadrans et du compte-tours analogique en ligne de mire. Seule verrue, finalement, dans cet univers raffiné et ergonomiquement proche du sans-faute, la commande de boîte aux allures de rasoir électrique…

=> L’essai de la Porsche 911 992 coupé

La transmission PDK à huit rapports, identique à celle du coupé, est aussi…See more pictures on Auto moto : magazine auto et moto

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