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New 2019 Porsche 992 revealed: all you need to know

We’ve ridden shotgun in the prototypes, but Total 911 is attending the unveil of the new Porsche 992 series 911 in LA, prior to it reaching showrooms early next year. That it’s visually similar to the 991 before it is no surprise, Porsche’s evolutionary approach to its styling no more obvious than with the 911, but this eighth-generation model brings the company’s iconic sports car up to date, adding connectivity, driver assistance and improved environmental performance all while retaining its driver focus.

ENGINE & PERFORMANCE STATS

Retaining the 3.0-litre turbocharged flat-six of the 991.2, the 992 is launched in Carrera S guise, it developing 450hp, which represents an increase of 30hp over the outgoing Carrera S. In rear-wheel drive PDK form that allows a 0-62mph time of 3.7 seconds, or 3.5 seconds if the optional Sport Chrono pack is fitted. The Carrera 4S reduces that by 0.1 seconds thanks to its traction advantage, the top speed for the Carrera S being 191mph and the 4S 190mph. That’s 0.4 seconds faster than the equivalent outgoing 991.2 model, the 992 boasting performance in the realms of the 997 Turbo.

The consumption and emissions figures quoted for the 992 look less impressive, with Porsche quoting 31.7/31.4mpg and 205g/km/209g/km for the Carrera S/4S respectively. These figures are based on the new, stricter, WLTP testing procedure which give a a greater real-world result, so customers should expect consumption equivalent to the outgoing models, even if the numbers don’t suggest it.

AESTHETICS

Externally the 992’s most obvious visual cue is the new rear light bar, this LED strip spanning the entire width of the rear. All Carreras, from the launch S models, to the standard Carreras that will follow next year will be wide-bodied, with all being as wide as the current GTS/GT3 models. The width at the front axle grows by 45mm, too, the steered wheels being fitted with 20-inch alloys, the rear being staggered with a 21-inch rim.

That widebody is almost entirely constructed from aluminium in a bid to save weight, the 992 set to weigh much the same as the car it replaces. That’s despite the addition of some additional new tech, the 911 embracing driver assistance with the addition of lane keeping assist and lane departure warning equipment, brake assist with emergency braking as well as the availability of Night Vision Assist with a thermal camera. Should you option that, the images will be displayed on one of the screens situated either side of the large analogue rev-counter that sits prominently in front of the driver in the instruments. Convenience in traffic will be added with the option of an adaptive cruise control system with automatic distance control and stop-and-go function.

INTERIOR

The interior is a marked step from the 991, the centre dash dominated by a 10.9 inch touchscreen, it giving access to familiar entertainment and navigation functions as well as displaying the driving modes. To the usual Normal, Sport, Sport+ and Individual Modes Porsche has added Wet Mode, this selectable mode automatically prepping the PDK shift strategy, traction and stability systems and throttle map when wheel housing sensors detect wet tarmac.

The connectivity of the interior systems is improved, with swarm online data assisting with navigation, and apps including Porsche Road Trip for route planning and Porsche Impact being an emissions estimator that allows you to estimate financial contributions to offset your emissions with your favoured internationally certified climate project.

Engine revisions to help reduce that impact include revised turbochargers and new intercooling with shorter, more efficient paths, as well as an improved direct injection process. The addition of an eight-speed automatic transmission (a seven-speed manual will follow) derived from the Panamera also underlines Porsche’s future climate credentials as it allows the company to add a hybrid electric motor into the transmission at a later, as yet to be confirmed, date.

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In Defense Of The Manual Transmission

« You can’t really have a favorite shift with a paddle shift, can you? », says Catchpole in this recent Carfection video exploring the loveliness of a proper manual gearbox. A nicely tuned dual-clutch flappy-paddle gearbox is a glorious thing on a race track, they’re perfect, but maybe a little too perfect. There is something to be said for enjoying flawed things. An automatic movement watch, for example, will lose track of time if you don’t keep it properly wound, but isn’t it a much more interesting thing than a quartz movement? As Catchpole’s analogue, I’ll take a freshly ground cup of pour-over to a jar of Sanka any day of the week.

If you love driving, if you enjoy getting into that rhythm with your car, if you revel in the idea of finding the perfect back road, chances are you’re a manual lover. There’s a greater level of connection between you and your car when you are forced to ‘row your own’. It’s a next level experience to slot the lever into gear at exactly the right moment. And a perfectly timed heel-toe downshift is transcendent. In certain circumstances, the manual transmission even allows an extra level of car control. You can use a shift or a clutch-in moment to initiate weight transfer or instigate a drift. It’s one extra level of analog control for the driver in a world of computer controlled digital interfaces.

Call me a Luddite if you like, but I prefer clicky buttons to touch screens, I like a from-scratch meal better than a mass production one, and I like my cars to do what I say rather than what their computer thinks is best. Therein lies the beauty of a proper manual sports car like Porsche’s new GT3. It’s ostensibly worse than its PDK sibling, but that is exactly what makes it better.

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Porsche 997 v 991 GT2 RS tested on track

When we think about ‘Porsche’ and ‘Rennsport’, which connotations spring to mind? For me it’s the many ingredients which make the visceral experience of a raw 911: ostentatious aero; a stripped interior; loud, mechanical noises from inside the car; razor sharp throttle response and direct, unfiltered steering. The concept of a turbocharger wouldn’t be high on the list of too many enthusiasts.

Perhaps it should though, for Porsche’s history with turbocharging is as rich as its narrative with racing, the company’s endeavours on the track spawning the concept of its Rennsport cars for the road in the first place. Even before the company had unveiled its 911 Turbo to the world in 1975 it had already set about trying to race it. Built by Norbert Singer, the 2.1 Turbo RSR was constructed according to FIA Group 5 rules and pitted alongside sports ‘silhouette’ cars from rivals including Ferrari and Matra. It raced at Le Mans in 1974 – with every top-level Le Mans Porsche since using forced induction.

It finished 2nd overall to a Matra driven by a certain Gérard Larrousse, keeping a host of open-cockpit prototypes honest. It was no fluke: the RSR Turbo went on to record another 2nd place in the Watkins Glen 6 Hours, 7th at the 1,000km at Paul Ricard and 5th at the Brands Hatch 1,000km on the way to helping Porsche finish third in the World Sports Car Championship that year.

Alas, it was to be the only turbocharged 911 to officially adopt the Rennsport name. New rules from the FIA stipulated a change, Porsche going on to spawn the 911 Turbo-based 934, 935 and 936 thereafter. That is, until 2010. Following three generations of GT2 in the 993, 996 and 997, Porsche unveiled the 997 GT2 RS. Ostensibly a Frankenstein of the 997.2 Turbo S and 997 GT3 RS 4.0, it was a carbon-clad, lightweight monster with rose-jointed rear suspension, its tuned, twin-turbo motor making it the most potent road 911 of all time with a mighty 620hp at its disposal.

Although it never really featured in top-level works or customer racing (save for Jeff Zwart’s record-breaking Pikes Peak run in 2011), the 997 GT2 RS looked to be sharing the 2.1 Turbo RSR’s destiny of being an exotic anomaly interwoven in the Porsche Rennsport tapestry. There was no indicator of a successor in the pipeline, the 991 generation skipping the GT2 moniker entirely. Then, in autumn 2017 at, of all places, the launch of a new Xbox racing sim, Porsche announced the arrival of its 991 GT2 RS.

With only 500 997 GT2 RS’s and an estimated 2,000 991 GT2 RS’s worldwide, it’s not often you’ll see one of each generation side by side. However, that’s exactly the sight we’re treated to on arrival at Silverstone’s Porsche Experience Centre ahead of our twin test of both these performance goliaths. Representing GT2 RS genesis, the established 997 is the platinum smash hit, its 991-shaped replacement posing as the awkward second album. Can it really take Porsche’s blown Rennsport to a new level?

We’re yet to turn a wheel in either, but the 991 is already asserting itself, towering above the 997. The 991 simply looks like a Cup car, albeit with licence plates, its rear wing dwarfing the 997’s comparatively modest proportions. We’ll save the comparisons for later, though. After a quick cuppa and sign-on, it’s time to get reacquainted with the 997.

For the full feature on our 997 v 991 GT2 RS track test, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 171 in shops now. You can also order your copy here for delivery to your door anywhere in the world, or download to an Apple or Android device of your choice. 

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Why Porsche Doesn’t Owe Enthusiasts Anything, Really

Porsche has been building cars longer than most people reading this have been alive. For seven decades they’ve been tearing up their own script and occasionally re-writing it wholesale. People complained when 356 production ended in favor of the heavier and more expensive 911. People complained when the 964 debuted because it had coil springs of all things. Similar levels of upset were thrown around when the 996 debuted with water cooling. Enter the 991.2, the current 911 on showroom floors today, coming to the market with turbocharged engines in every trim. There are always « purists » resistant to change and unable to accept that the way they like their Porsches isn’t the way Porsche will build them forever. Here’s Alex Goy of Carfection saying the thing that nobody really wants to say, Porsche doesn’t owe you anything.

Enthusiasts are great for a brand, just look at this site as an example, and Porsche has really built their past on sports car fans, motorsport fans, and serial 911 buyers. There are many people who have bought 911s for decades, and will likely continue to do so. The 911 has become larger, more comfortable and significantly faster as it’s aged, and they like it that way. For every hundred of those kinds of folks, there is one that says they’ll never buy another 911 because it’s water-cooled or because it’s turbocharged. Porsche isn’t building 991s for that buyer. They’ve been continually making the 911 (and the rest of their lineup) more conducive to every day driving, more appealing to the average luxury car buyer.

Porsche is up front about the fact that they don’t owe you anything. They’ve stuck to their guns and continue to build some of the best sports cars in the game. They’ll defend PDK to the death, even though enthusiasts shout and wail about it. They’ll happily make hundreds of thousands of Macan compact SUVs to the ire of people who remember when Porsche only built 911s and 912s. I personally hate the nomenclature they’re using to bill luxury cars as inspired by hardcore models from the 1960s. The fact is, they’re growing larger than they’ve ever been, and selling more cars to more new customers than ever before in company history. They have nothing to apologize for. It’s that simple.

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Seeking The Greatest Road In The World In A Porsche 718 Cayman GTS

The section of C-28 highway, known as ‘Puerto De La Bonaigua’ is a sinewy ribbon of road on the Spanish side of the border between France and Spain. Having lived in Spain myself for a while, I have been on some pretty amazing mountain roads, and find it not difficult to believe that this one might be an incredible route. Greatest in the world is extremely high praise for an as yet largely unknown highway in the Pyrenees, but based on Henry Catchpole’s assessment in this latest video from Carfection, it doesn’t seem all that far fetched. Of course, any upper-tier road will feel far better than the sum of its parts when driven in something as magical as Porsche’s 718 Cayman GTS.

The road itself is a twisting switchback of a thing, running up to a gorgeous skiing mountain. If you’re not going skiing, you can easily zoom up to the top and run down the other side for a different kind of exercise. If you’re looking for a road to aspire to drive, ship your car to Spain immediately, because this looks like some of the best driving in the world. Catchpole has been driving professionally for quite a few years, so if he says it’s a great road, it must be absolutely stellar.

As great as the 718 Cayman GTS might be, Catchpole (like myself), just can’t get over the turbocharged flat-four’s exhaust soundtrack. To his ears, it’s harsh, gruff, gravelly, and not very inspiring, which is a stark difference from the delightful flat-six the car used to be powered by. Regardless of the audio profile, the 718 continues to impress with perhaps the best driving dynamics Porsche has ever sold to the public. This is an incredibly capable Porsche in its own right, and is perhaps one of the best brand new rides with which to tackle the alleged ‘greatest road’.

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