It’s finally happened. The Porsche 911 range has followed the downsized-turbo trend. And we’re not sure how we feel about it.
One thing is for sure, however: these new Porsche 911s will be incredible feats of engineering.
While there has been a 911 Turbo variant since the mid-1970s (with a few exceptions), the 2015 991 update sees the ‘entry’-level 911s carrying forced induction for the first time.
The new, smaller flat-six 911 range is twin-turbocharged and produces up to 15kW more power than its predecessors despite a drop to 3.0 litres engine capacity.
In the 911 Carrera the turbo motor generates 272kW and 450Nm of torque; the latter figure is some 60Nm greater than the aspirated unit it replaces.
Meanwhile the 911 Carrera S houses 309kW and 500Nm, using modified compressors, a specific exhaust and uprated engine management. Those numbers best the previous by 15kW and 60Nm, respectively. Torque peaks are delivered flat from 1700-5000rpm in both cases, with maximum engine speeds pegged at 7500rpm; a high figure for a large capacity turbo.
Porsche says these engines develop a ‘typical sonorous Porsche engine sound’.
But of course, the real reasoning behind the shift is to meet ever more stringent emissions regulations. Porsche indicates the new engine generation is around 12 per cent more fuel efficient. To illustrate, the 911 Carrera PDK now consumes 7.4L/100km (a reduction of 0.8L/100km) while the Carrera S PDK now sits at 7.7L/100km, down from 8.7L/100km.
A Sport Chrono, PDK-equipped 911 Carrera will now hit 100km/h in 4.2sec, 0.2sec up on before. Plump for the Carrera S PDK with Sport Chrono, and the benchmark is seen in only 3.9sec.
Sport Chrono remains a viable option, as it brings a driving mode switch to the 911 Carrera’s steering wheel for the first time. The rotary dial allows four modes to be selected, from Normal, through Sport, Sport Plus and Individual. The latter will allow personalised settings for (now-standard, for the first time on 911 Carrera) PASM suspension, active engine mounts, PDK shifting and sports exhaust. The system also offers a special mode for PDK cars (are you getting the hint that the manual is next on the chopping block?), which pre-conditions the drivetrain for a 20sec burst of maximum acceleration.
PASM offers a 10mm ride height reduction over the previous 911 Carrera, and this latest generation damper control is said to offer the largest spread between daily liveability and race track performance, depending on whether Normal or Sport chassis mode is selected. Also available is the hydraulic lift front axle, which increases front height by 40mm to enhance around-town usability.
This adaptive suspension system works in conjunction with a newly-developed wheel and tyre package. Rear-rim width has expanded from 11.0 to 11.5in, while the 911 Carrera S now gains 305-section rear tyres. All rubber offers reduced rolling resistance.
Also available for the first time on Carrera S is the active rear-axle steering system as seen on the existing 911 turbo and GT3 hero variants. This aids stability at speed while reducing the turning circle by half a metre.
Inside, the 918 Spyder-inspired steering wheel measures 375mm diameter, though an option GT sports wheel reduces that further to 360mm. Standard Porsche Communication Management includes a multi-function 7.0-inch touchscreen and voice control.
The latest turbo 911s are identified by a refined exterior. New headlights offer four-point DRLs and the door handles no longer have recessed covers. Vertical rear louvres and redesigned tail lights complete the look.
Options include automatic speed control, adaptive cruise control with coasting function (PDK only) and lane change assist. Carrera gains standard digital radio and front park assist, which were options previously. post-collision brake is also standard.
Launching to the Australian market in mid-March, 2016, pricing is expected as follows (excluding on-road costs):
911 Carrera Coupe $217,800
911 Carrera S Coupe $252,800
911 Carrera Cabriolet $239,300
911 Carrera S Cabriolet $274,300