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2019 Porsche 992 Carrera S vs 4S first drive review

We’ve been here before, right? A new 911, which among our fraternity will forever be known as the 992. In Porsche’s model line there’s nothing more significant, even if today 911 sales are a mere support act to the SUV bottom line. Simply put, the 911 remains the company’s icon, the car that defines the firm. The 911 represents success on road and track, a million-selling sports car that’s instantly recognisable; unique in the automotive world.

Which is why replacing it is about as difficult a task as Porsche has. Time doesn’t stand still though, and the 911 has to evolve to work in the world it finds itself in. That evolution has unquestionably allowed it to endure and succeed, but the transitional points in its lifecycle will always be significant and debated ad-infinitum among drivers and the likes of me in titles like this.

The 911 matters to people then, more so than any other car. It doesn’t actually seem like that long ago I was reviewing the then new 991, or indeed 991.2; in the time since they’ve gone on to become the 911, after the usual difficult transition period where everyone is looking dewy-eyed about the outgoing model. I’ll do that now, the Carrera T manual that I’d borrowed off the UK press fleet in anticipation of driving the new 992 feeling pretty much perfect to me. That 991 should be good though, it being at the end of its development cycle.

Everything learned from that and more has been adopted here with the 992. There are two of them here today, a Carrera S and Carrera 4S. They are, as all will be until the standard Carrera arrives later this year, PDK, and pulling the right paddle shifter here can now be done eight times. “They’re the same,” is the reply when I request that both cars feature in the same shot.

Visually, that’s true; the Carrera S and Carrera 4S are identical, even more so when they’re painted the same Racing yellow. The only clue to the 4S’s additional drive is the badge on its backside. Choose the model delete option, or better still the simple 911 numbering, and you’d not know it’s a four, Porsche’s decision to make all Carreras widebody removing that go-to identifier of drive. It’s big, this new 911, as wide as the outgoing GTS and GT3, a bit longer and taller, as well as heavier. We’ll get to that later.

The dynamics engineers certainly weren’t complaining when the decision to go widebody was made. You might think that it was the chassis engineers that dictated it, but the 992’s a widebody for different reasons, key among them being the cooling. The 992’s 3.0-litre twin turbo flat-six has to pass ever-tighter laws for economy and emissions, and an efficient turbo engine is a cool one. That defines not just the physicality of the 911’s shape, but the large cooling intakes fed by active vanes at the 992’s nose. Here, now, in natural light and in the pitlane of the Hockenheimring, I have to say it looks good. It’s unmistakably 911, as it should be, design boss Mauer’s team having dipped into the 911’s past to bring it forward. From the cut-out recess on the bonnet to the SC-aping font for the rear 911 badging, via the large headlights sitting upright (cut exclusively out of the wings rather than puncturing the bumper), there’s no mistaking its lineage.

That expansive rear is spanned by an LED strip light across its entire width, the slightly recessed lighting and three-dimensional Porsche badge across the back leaving you in no doubt that you’re following a 911. The pop-up rear wing that aids stability now also acts as an airbrake when stopping from speed. It’s better integrated than that on the 991, but is still arguably an inelegant if undeniably effective solution to the 911’s aerodynamic Achilles heel. It’s the other pop-out element to the new 911 that’s causing the most debate here today; the door handles. They look neat, but their operation isn’t perfect, feeling insubstantial and not always popping out to greet you. That you have to lift and pull rather than simply grab counts against them too. A small thing, perhaps, but they feel like the answer to a question nobody asked, particularly in comparison to those on a 991.

Once inside, this is clearly a 911 for a new era. The quality takes a leap, the build feeling substantial, the materials, too. It’s an attractive cabin, the centre dash coming with a near 11-inch screen containing all the info and entertainment functions. It’s a touchscreen, adding connectivity and configurability to your nav and entertainment that you probably never knew you wanted or, arguably, needed. Choose the Sport Chrono and you’ll be able to select the driving modes…

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991.2 GT3 v 991.1 GT3 RS: which is better for £150k?

The ever-changing nature of the Porsche marketplace often throws up some interesting conundrums for the 911 buyer. As values of separate models fluctuate, they often combine to bring about new scenarios for those in the market to consider: ‘What’s around for my £100,000?’ for example. Right now there are many different choices of 911s available at many different price points. As a case in point, for £40,000 you could choose anything
from a G-series classic, to a 996 Turbo, to a 997.2 Carrera S right now. The market’s constant evolution means different cars move in and out of the equation, whatever your budget. It’s what keeps things interesting, in many ways.

As another case in point, only five years ago we ran a head-to-head road test in this very magazine asking which was the better Turbo for your £60,000: 993 or 997.1? Today the 993 is worth at least double that, while a 997.1 can be had for £50,000.

Market circumstance has dictated the 991.2 GT3 and 991.1 GT3 RS have been trading hands for roughly the same money for a while now, so the question we’ve routinely found levied in our direction in the past year is thus: ‘Which is the better buy for my £150,000; a Gen2 991 GT3 or Gen1 991 GT3 RS?’

Really, there are multiple answers to the question, and it all comes down to what you’ll do with the car. We’ve therefore assessed both the 991.2 GT3 and 991.1 GT3 RS over three practical categories, investment potential, track day use, and on the road, which covers all possible ownership intentions.

For the full article on the 991.1 GT3 RS v 991.2 GT3, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 174 in shops now, or get the issue delivered direct to your door via here. You can also download our hi-res digital edition, featuring bonus galleries, to any Apple or Android device. 

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Porsche 718 Cayman T et 718 Boxster T : sensations garanties

C’est un peu un double cadeau de Noël que Porsche vient de dévoiler aves les Porsche 718 Cayman T et Porsche 718 Boxster T. La révélation des ces deux modèles au « T » est également un retour au sources pour le constructeur allemand car l’appellation « Touring » est apparue il y a tout juste 50 ans. Elle est […]

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Doug DeMuro Lends His Two Cents on a Garishly Green GT2 RS

Never short on enthusiasm, Doug DeMuro dives in headfirst with a list of salivating stats on Porsche’s fastest force-fed track toy, as well as a bold byline: « This thing is faster and more powerful than the road version of a Le Mans race car from twenty years ago! »

That divisive wing, the fender louvers, and even a water-spraying system for the intercoolers (which DeMuro confuses as the coolant reservoir) convince the most skeptical observer that this is a bonafide track toy, and not something merely masquerading as one. It’s also quite proud of its status as Porsche’s current flagship, and takes every opportunity to relay its name.

As a svelte track scalpel, it’s been lightened. Weight saving measures include decals in lieu of heavier badges, the rear and rear-side windows in lightweight glass, fabric cloth loops in place of conventional handles, as well as a locking buckle in place of the typical hydraulic struts supporting the engine cover. However, these measures are just as much for a sense of occasion and bragging rights as they are for trimming heft; some features aren’t as light as they might seem to be.


Some might not be fond of the garish exterior, but nobody can deny its theater and presence.

As a tech-heavy machine, there are endless facets for the detail-oriented driver to fuss over when not scaring themselves with the outrageous thrust. A G-force meter, as well as horsepower and torque graphs are available to the driver in real time via the dash screen, so all the well-heeled geeks can obsess over minutiae while hustling down a straightaway or burbling down the boulevard. It seems like the perfect car for DeMuro, though he might opt for a subtler shade of green.

« That feels like the 918, » a bewildered DeMuro utters. His face says it all.

There are cars more comfortable, but as far as hardcore track weapons go, the GT2 RS is one of the more livable. Cup holders, a smooth-shifting PDK, a relatively quiet exhaust note make it usable around town. When coupled with hypercar acceleration, informative steering, as well as a controllable chassis, there’s a lot to like. It’d be a stretch calling it a plush pussycat, but the relative civility of the car make it a unique machine.

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Watch This Well-Driven GT3 RS Pursue a GT2 RS at Zandvoort

Amid the rolling Dutch dunes, the circuit of Zandvoort provides plenty of high-speed corners to test the hot-blooded sports cars of the 911 range. With technical sections, lots of camber, and heavy braking zones, it’s a varied and challenging course that once hosted Formula 1 in the seventies and eighties. Fortunately, we’re able to see how the latest Porsche RS models—both well driven; one turbocharged and one atmospheric—differ in a number of challenging situations.

The GT2’s Strengths and Setbacks

Predictably, the GT2 RS car enjoys much more speed and just as much stability in the faster sections, of which there are plenty at Zandvoort. Additionally, that torque is a major advantage when navigating slower traffic—a GT3 in this case, which seems to be going pitifully slow compared to its leaner, meaner, brawnier brothers.

On a more subjective note, perhaps the lumpier power delivery and the hushed tones of the GT2 RS keep the driver from engaging as intimately with it. Even when the power isn’t being deployed, knowing exactly where the revs are is a comfort, albeit a subtle one. That visceral difference may be a contributor to the way the GT2 RS’ driver brakes earlier and is slightly tentative during the corner entry phase, though that’s understandable considering the greater approach speed.

The downsides of the GT2 RS’ extra power are few: it forces its driver to take a slightly different line, and it is more of a consideration in slower bends where the rears are torque-limited. In the footage directly above, the GT2 RS’ faster approach encourages the driver to brake in the middle of the road at 1:21, whereas the driver in the camera car has time to bring the car over to the left and gets to use the full width of the road to corner.

In low-speed and medium-speed sectors, the GT2 RS can’t quite exploit the torque advantage, and seems to require a later apex and a straighter line at the exit, which mean a slightly longer corner. With 553 lb-ft of torque at 2,500 rpm, that is understandable—though both cars have to be commended for their stellar traction and lack of hysterics.

The technical sections seem to favor the lighter, better balanced GT3 RS.

The Agile Atmospheric

The lighter, better balanced GT3 RS tips its nose into slower corners just a smidge better than the GT2 RS. While the GT3 RS’ weight is part of why it can close the gap at corner entry repeatedly, the driver in the atmospheric car is simply better at braking and rolling speed into the corner. However, once the course stretches out—and not just in the straights—the GT2 RS has an edge. Great stability, when coupled with relentless thrust, gives the turbocharged car the potential to streak away.

Had these drivers had the exact same level of talent, the GT2 RS might’ve edged away, but their skills were both commendable enough to show exactly how these cars differ. More than just power and straightline speed, the force-fed version requires the driver to calibrate themselves for greater speeds, adjust their lines accordingly, and do everything in their power to harness the asphalt-churning horsepower.

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