27 Feb Porsche 991.2 Carrera S
Is the new turbocharged Porsche Carrera still as emotional?
One of my worst nightmares has become reality. The Porsche 911 Carrera has gotten the forced induction treatment. The question is, is it still as emotional and is it still a real Carrera.
First of all, the 911 Carrera has been one of my favorite cars for quite a long time, because it is so simple and raw, especially with its naturally aspirated engine.
For me, the 991.1 Carrera really was the perfect Carrera, because of its fantastic sound. Yes, it is not air-cooled nor has it the Mezger engine, but it could really, for the first time, compete in the sound department in my opinion. The previous Carreras sounded good and unique, but just not aggressive enough, which is what they changed with all the crackles and pops in the 991 generation Carrera. I know, there is plenty of old-school Porsche fanatics reading this now, who are about to close this page now, because they couldn’t disagree more, but please remember, it’s just an opinion.
So when I first read about the 991.2 generation Carrera, and read that it would be turbo charged, I was very upset. First the M5, then the M3/4, the AMG’s, and now the mighty Carrera. The only thing in that article that gave me some comfort was that the GT3 would remain naturally aspirated – for now.
During the summer of 2015, I got to test the 991.1 Carrera and the 991 GT3, which were both phenomenal cars. Even I had both cars in front of my door, I often would take the Carrera, because it is such a great car to cruise in and just enjoy the sound, no matter where you are in the rev band. And you would really need to rev it out in order to get the performance out of it, which is very similar to race cars. I even recorded my last drive in the Carrera, because I was aware, that this would be the last time I would get to drive a 3.8 liter naturally aspirated Carrera – at least for a while.
Watch my 991.1 Carrera S vs 991 GT3 video here:
When Porsche invited me to drive the new 991.2 Carrera in Tenerife off the coast of Africa, I was very keen to find out, if the twin-turbo 3.0 liter engine hurt the 911 Carrera, or if I was upset for no reason when I read about it about one and a half years earlier.
When I first got into the car, it felt extremely familiar, since the interior changes are minimal. The only differences you notice quite easily, are the new steering wheel out of the 918 Spyder, the new PSM Infotainment Screen and the new “Manetino” like switch on the steering wheel, where you can change the drive mode between Comfort, Sport, Sport+, or Individual. So, it definitely felt like a refreshed, overall better 911 cockpit. I am also more than happy that Porsche modified the position of the “+” and “-“ on the PDK shift lever to the way it is in the GT3 and all race cars for that matter.
Knowing me, you know I always have something to complain about, no matter on what level. For example the new steering wheel. In my opinion it looks absolutely fantastic, but the shift paddles are too small. You can’t even read the “+” or “-“ anymore. I would prefer them to go back to their previous size. Also, I don’t think Porsche 918 owners will appreciate that the steering wheel of their $800,000+ car has made its way into a $90,000 Carrera, but that’s just the way it goes. Besides, I am sure the Carrera owners won’t mind. I also don’t think that the little “Manetino” switch was really necessary. I am sorry I keep calling it “Manetino switch”, but that’s basically what it is. But I always like the Sport and Sport Plus buttons on the center console. It was very easy to see what exactly is active or inactive. However, from what I heard, most people seem to like the new switch.
Back to the actual feel of driving the car. When I first started the engine, it sounded good, but after the first meters, I could clearly hear the noise of the turbos, and less of the engine noise than in the 991.1. I know, what a surprise. At least you still get the exhaust crackles, with both, the sports and the standard exhaust.
However, after driving it a little bit more and also push it a bit harder, I was surprised by the power delivery of the new 3.0 liter engine. I know many are afraid that it drives like a de-tuned Turbo, but it is completely different. It does have minimal turbo-lag thanks to the small size of the turbo chargers and variable turbine geometry, but the power band is very linear, very atmospheric engine like, which is a big plus in my book, and completely different from the Porsche Turbo models. It is basically a 991.1 on steroids. It has more performance in every situation, revs very nicely to the 7,500 rpm redline, and all that at just one cost – sound.
Now the sound is not terrible, but I in my mind I keep comparing it to the previous atmospheric 3.8 liter engine, which just had such a satisfying, emotional soundtrack, that a turbo car just doesn’t seem to be able to produce. I mean I can tell that Porsche tried everything possible to make this car sound good, and for a turbo car, it absolutely does sound good. You still clearly hear it is a Porsche boxer engine, and it still does sound nice, but to me, clearly not as nice as the 991.1 did, but that’s not Porsche’s fault. I even tried both, a coupe and a convertible with sports exhaust, because as we all know, hope dies last.
Handling wise, the car is phenomenal. Especially if you option for the new rear-wheel-steering system that is now available in the Carrera.
It just makes the car so much more stable at high speed turns and a lot more agile at low speeds. I was able to ride up a former official Rallye stage with one of Porsche’s pro-drivers in a 991.2 Carrera S with rear-wheel steering and WOW, I couldn’t believe that a Carrera S could destroy that stage the way it did. I would really like to compare times between the new Carrera and the 997 GT3. I am pretty sure that the new Carrera with the rear-wheel-steering option, is quicker, or at least very close, to the performance of the older GT3.
You can watch the ride up the Hill in the 911.2 Carrera S here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFVIrtw3-wo
The new programmed electric steering system has also a lot nicer feel to it that in the previous model. I think the steering was the 991.1’s biggest problem, because it was just too light, too artificial and had too little feedback. It’s all different in the updated model. It’s probably as close to a hydraulic steering system as I can remember driving.
So is the new Porsche 991.2 Carrera as emotional of a car as the atmospheric 991.1 was? Well, I think that’s a very subjective question, and kind of depends on what is emotional to you. But since this is my website, and you are here to read about my opinion, I’ll give you my honest opinion. I think the answer is no. Many of you know what kind of sound fetish I have, and that a raw sound is very important to me, and the new Carrera just got a lot quieter unfortunately. I would not enjoy cruising around in this car as much as I did in the previous generation, that’s just my honest opinion.
However, that shouldn’t take away any of the incredible improvements of the new 991.2 911 Carrera. The car really has become very quick, and very capable. No matter where you are in the rev band, you get instant, strong acceleration, which is what a lot of Porsche customers were missing before. The new PCM infotainment system is fantastic and the new rear end design looks great as well. Most importantly, the car still feels like a Porsche, and that is something I respect Porsche for a lot. No matter what changes they make to their cars, at the end of the day you sit in one of their cars, drive it, and it still feels like a Porsche. I just hope that somehow they will figure out how to make these things louder again and give us back those 10 db.
Article by Kai Groschupf