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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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New Porsche 992 Cabriolet revealed

Less than six weeks after the launch of the 992 generation 911, Porsche has unveiled the open-topped version of its eighth generation sports car icon. As with its Coupe brothers, the Cabriolet has been released in Carrera S and Carrera 4S guise with PDK-only for now, the Carrera and Carrera 4 version with manual gearbox arriving later this year.

The Porsche 992 Cabriolet uses a similar kinetic system to the 991 before it, again operable at speeds of up to 30mph, though opening and closing time of the roof is now slightly quicker at 12 seconds. The roof system, which successfully maintains the form of the Coupe variant when covering the interior, again features an integrated (and heated) glass rear screen, now relying on lightweight yet sturdy magnesium bows to stop the roof from ballooning at high speeds.

This is necessary because the Porsche 992 Cabriolet has a top speed of 190mph in Carrera S form (188mph for the 4S), making it a very, very fast open-topped Porsche. It is the all-wheel-drive 992 which has the upper hand in the sprint stakes though, managing a 0-62mph time of just 3.6-seconds with optional Sport Chrono Package (the 2S’s time is 3.7-seconds).

The 2019 992 Cabriolet’s engine is exactly the same as that found in the 992 Coupes, its 3.0-litre ‘9A2 evo’ flat six producing 450hp and 530Nm torque. Both Cabriolets also withhold the widebody treatment rolled out for every 992-generation 911, its full-width light bar and staggered 20-inch front and 21-inch rear wheels also finding their way onto the Cabriolet which, for the first time, features an optional Sports PASM chassis, lowering the car by 10mm.

Prices for the rear-driven Carrera S Cabriolet start from £102,000 in the UK, its all-wheel-drive Carrera 4S stablemate available from £108,000. We prefer Coupe 911s here at Total 911, though with seamless lines, stunning performance and breathtaking aesthetical appeal, the 992 Cabriolet looks set to be the most convincing of its kind to date.

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New 2019 Porsche 911 revealed

We’re in San Francisco, California, in an underground parking garage of a hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s busy outside, the countless tourists distracted by the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and all the other amusements the City By The Bay offers. In the garage is a fleet of Porsche’s new 992, along with the odd Cayman and Boxster; Porsche’s engineers are in town, but they’re seeking a different kind of amusement. I’ll be with them for a day of testing, joining a convoy of four Carrera Ss undergoing some final checks prior to the board coming out for a final sign-off drive.

Porsche will launch the new 992 with the Carrera S and 4S Coupe in PDK form, with the Carrera and Carrera 4 following in 2019, its introduction also adding manual transmission to the entire line-up. The Cabriolet will join in 2019, while Porsche is also apace with its development of the GT and Turbo models. They’re not discussing those today, the team doing its best to distract attention from the prototype Turbo that’s lurking elsewhere here underground. As-yet-unconfirmed rumours suggest the Turbo S will deliver in excess of 650hp. The world’s gone mad.

Back to reality, though, the 992 Carrera S I’ll be jumping in the passenger seat of will be heading out of the city to the mountain roads around San Francisco. This part of the US is used due to the sizeable elevation changes it offers, the predictable climate and, in Alex Ernst’s words: “The aggressive local driving.” That relates specifically to the abrupt stop-start traffic, the on-off-on the throttle nature of freeway driving and the terrible, combed concrete surfaces on those freeways. That Porsche sells a considerable number of its annual production in California is no bad thing, either.

Ernst is very familiar with all of it; being the team leader of testing he’s been involved in every 911 since the 996. Joining his usual team of engineers today will be Matthias Hofstetter, director, powertrain product lines 911/718; Andreas Pröbstle, project manager, complete vehicle model lines 718/911, and ‘Mr 911’ himself, August Achleitner, vice president, product lines 911/718. And Total 911, of course.

It’s no surprise that the 992 is instantly familiar, the disguise fooling nobody. Porsche isn’t about to mess with the winning formula. The detailing is different, the camouflage doing little to mask the cool recessed structure of the rear lights, a red strip spanning the entire rear of the Carrera. That’ll be a feature on all, and it’ll be the same width, Achleitner saying that all Carreras will feature a wide body. Dimensionally the new Carrera and Carrera S will
be the same width as the outgoing 991 GTS. They’ll be some 5mm higher, and 20mm longer at the front – the latter for styling purposes. The rear track will match the GTS, though Porsche has upped the front track by 40mm.

That change, says Achleitner, “allows us to transmit more loading forces without a stiffer stabiliser. It enables us to lower the stiffness of the roll bar on the rear axle to transmit higher forces for accelerating out of a curve.” Filling the rear wheel arches in the Carrera S will be a 21-inch wheel with 305/30/ZR21 tyres, the front axle getting 20-inch alloys wearing 245/30 section rubber, the 992 being the first series Carrera to wear staggered wheel sizes. The body is lighter, too, Porsche using aluminium for the panel that begins at the A-pillar and runs over to the rear, it previously being steel, the doors and front wing being made of aluminium, too.

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Video: Porsche 918 Spyder flat out in the outback

When we think of a derestricted section of public road on which to perform a high-speed run, we immediately think of Germany’s remaining segments of unlimited autobahn. I’m sure you do too.

So infamous are these no-holds-barred routes that one even made it into our selection of Great Roads. You’re unlikely to find many other motorways join it in our list of driving nirvana.

However, Porsche has found another, more beautiful location at which its 918 Spyder can max out at 350kph (217mph): the Australian outback. Around Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, Weissach’s hybrid hypercar tops out while the dingoes watch on. Enjoy it all in this awesome video.

For more of the latest and greatest Porsche films, check out our dedicated video section now.

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 14.55.14

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Ruf CTR: 1987’s fastest car in the world

The story goes that Alois Ruf cut his teeth working on Porsche 356s in his father’s garage. When he inherited his father’s eponymous business in 1974, the sensational 2.7 RS was already rapidly establishing itself in competition.

Alois Ruf saw the possibilities of modifying Porsches for owners so that they could go even faster. Connoisseur of Porsche’s flat-four and six engines, he knew achieving more power without compromising driveability was not simply a matter of polishing ports and bolting on bigger carburettors.

From the outset, the Ruf approach would be characterised by bespoke engineering of such integrity that within a decade it would lead to granting of manufacturer status.

Ruf CTR engine

The appeal of turbocharging was irresistible and Ruf’s first effort was a Porsche 930 bored out to 3.3 litres, which appeared in 1977, some months before Zuffenhausen’s own 3.3.

With his next car, Ruf beat Porsche to it again in 1978 with a 3.2-litre, 217-horsepower edition of the 180-horsepower 3.0-litre SC. This caused a stir among 911 fans dismayed that the Zuffenhausen flat-six had lost 30 horses since the 2.7 only three years earlier and Ruf sold several hundred of his 3.2.

This model also proved he was just as adept at improving the naturally aspirated engine. However, turbocharging had greater appeal in terms of outright performance, which could really differentiate a Ruf from a factory Porsche and also lift Ruf above the status of mere tuner.

Ruf CTR track driving

1981 saw the introduction of the Ruf Turbo with a five-speed gearbox – when the 930 still had four– and within two years Ruf presented his BTR (Gruppe B Turbo Ruf), a 930 bored out to 3.4 litres with a claimed 374 horsepower.

Road & Track’s, Paul Frère drove the BTR to 306 kilometres (190 miles) per hour at VW’s test track in Ehra Liessen, the fastest Frère said he had ever driven. This turned out to be a warm up for the main event.

To read more of our incredible Ruf CTR test drive, pick up issue 125 in store now. Alternatively, you can order online for home delivery, or download it straight to your digital device.

Ruf CTR drifting

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