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Reviews 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Excels Even in Entry-Level Form

00:18  18 october  2019
00:18  18 october  2019 Source:   caranddriver.com

One of Six: Rare 1959 Porsche 718 RSK Center-Seat Race Car Heads to Auction

One of Six: Rare 1959 Porsche 718 RSK Center-Seat Race Car Heads to Auction Porsche makes a new 718 sports car, this is absolutely not that car.

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera and Cabriolet. VEHICLE TYPE rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2+2-passenger, 2-door coupe or convertible. BASE PRICE Carrera , ,750; Cabriolet, 1,550. ENGINE TYPE twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve flat-6, aluminum block and heads

The 911 Carrera cabriolet isn't bothered much by it. There's no cowl shake to speak of, and its ride is remarkably compliant, even in its Sport Plus drive mode. Even without a roof, the 992's chassis is stiff enough to allow you to open and close the doors normally when the car is straddling the steep incline

With the first American deliveries of the new 992 generation of 2020 911 Carreras only a few weeks away, Porsche has finally allowed us behind the wheel of the entry-level model, after letting us drive the Carrera S and 4S a few months ago. That is if you can consider a car that starts at $98,750 for the coupe and $111,550 for the convertible as entry level.

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For those tidy sums, you get a thoroughly revamped 911, starting with updated sheetmetal. Unlike previous generations, all of these 992s now get the wider bodywork previously reserved for the all-wheel-drive and GTS models. This not only means a wider rear track and more voluptuous hips, but also a wider front track, with the wheels spaced about two inches farther apart than before, covered by appropriately flared fenders.

a car parked on the side of a road: Hardly a base model, the starter 992-generation car is a performance powerhouse with Porsche's future in mind. © Porsche Hardly a base model, the starter 992-generation car is a performance powerhouse with Porsche's future in mind.

There are other styling changes as well, ranging from the squared-off frunk lid to the slightly flattened headlight bubbles, both of which hint of the hallowed 993-gen car (the last air-cooled 911). In the back, the light assemblies are connected with a thin, full-width reflector bar, giving them a bit of a slit-eyed appearance; the center rear taillight bulges from the engine intake grille in a somewhat artless manner; and the rear spoiler now extends into the fenders and looks more integrated when deployed.

a car parked on the side of a road: 2020 Porsche 911 Excels Even in Base Form © Porsche 2020 Porsche 911 Excels Even in Base Form

A Revised Athlete

The increased front track is more than cosmetic and produces the biggest dynamic change in the car: tauter steering with sharper turn-in feel. The 992 isn't quite as responsive as is a 991.2 model with its optional rear-wheel steering, but it's made a noticeable move in that direction and remains the standard for electric power-steering feel. Combined with the other major chassis change—the switch to larger-diameter rear tires with the attendant larger contact patch—the 992 is both responsive and planted. On the back roads around Stuttgart, Germany, which have narrow lanes and few shoulders but are paved with buttery smooth asphalt, we proceeded at massive speed over the twisting and undulating roads with precision and confidence. The 992 makes you feel like the king of the road.

Power to burn is part of this equation, even though the new model doesn't feel quicker than its predecessor. Thanks to the more efficient intercooler configuration allowed by the revised bodywork and a fractionally higher compression ratio, the 992's base twin-turbo 3.0-liter flat-six develops 379 horsepower, down from the S model's 443. That's 14 horses more than the previous 911 Carrera, once you downrate that car's 370 ponies in keeping with the more accurate European-to-American power conversion that Porsche is now using.

a car parked on the side of a road: 2020 Porsche 911 Excels Even in Base Form © Porsche 2020 Porsche 911 Excels Even in Base Form

Offsetting the stronger engine is a weight increase of around 100 pounds to about 3400, which actually gives the new model a fractionally worse power-to-weight ratio. But that could well be countered by the new model's eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission—accounting for about 66 pounds of the 992's weight increase—which has shorter gearing in its first seven gears and a taller top gear than the previous seven-speed unit. The new gearbox works beautifully, shifting smoothly at low rpm and squeezing energy from every drop of fuel in its Normal mode. It keeps the revs higher and shifts harder in Sport mode and goes into full attack in Sport Plus. Though the PDK is now standard on the 992, Porsche promises that a seven-speed manual transmission version will be coming soon.

Porsche claims that the new model is a couple tenths quicker to both 60 mph and through the quarter-mile than the old one. Only an instrumented test can confirm that, but the last 991.2 Carrera PDK we tested hit 60 mph in 3.4 seconds and covered the quarter in 11.9—both figures substantially quicker than Porsche's claims for the 992. Judging by the ease with which we rocketed around slower vehicles on the back roads, we expect strong test results.

a car parked on the side of a road: 2020 Porsche 911 Excels Even in Base Form © Porsche 2020 Porsche 911 Excels Even in Base Form

The Faithful and Their Quibbles

Both cars we drove were equipped with Porsche's sport exhaust system, which delivers a fuller engine note, as well as various guttural rasps when you open the throttle, even at moderate engine speeds. One peculiarity of this, and all 992 exhaust systems, is that the visible exhaust tips are no longer physically connected to the exhaust pipes. Porsche says that this design reduces repair costs in rear-end impacts, but there's a certain artificiality with these virtual tips that feels wrong to us.

Another oddity is the stubby PDK shifter, about which much has been written and which works fine. With the excellently positioned paddle shifters on the steering wheel, you hardly ever use it. But somehow a 911 deserves a beefier shift lever, if only for the sake of appearance and tradition.

a car parked on the side of a vehicle: 2020 Porsche 911 Excels Even in Base Form © Porsche 2020 Porsche 911 Excels Even in Base Form

Porsche did honor tradition with the design of the 992's digital instrument cluster. The five-gauge layout retains the central analog tachometer, but there's room for improvement. For example, the entire right half of the cluster turns into a map display during critical turns, which sounds nice, but the steering wheel rim neatly bisects this display, often blocking the directions that you'd like to see. Another miss is that the display to the left of the tachometer is assigned to safety and driver assist systems. We'd be happier if we also could use it for other options, such as simultaneously showing tire pressure on that display and the engine's readouts on the right multifunction display.

A Driver's Gem, Updated

Otherwise, the 992's ergonomics and interior comfort are superb. The new 911 remains in the small subset of cars that allow the driver to lower the steering column sufficiently. Interior space in front is outstanding. Although we don't love the black plastic used to trim the top of the console, the new dash with its horizontal ledge treatment is growing on us, especially with the optional carbon-fiber trim. And the larger central touchscreen is appreciated.

a close up of a car: 2020 Porsche 911 Excels Even in Base Form © Porsche 2020 Porsche 911 Excels Even in Base Form

As is usual with 911s, you need to curb your enthusiasm when ordering your car. The coupe we drove carried nearly $54K in options, bringing its bottom line to $152,710. The cabriolet was a bit more parsimonious at a mere $148,800. But the inherent performance and goodness of the car are accessible without such extras. And in the new 992, those basic qualities are immensely satisfying.

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self-made sports car with a combi rear - Porsche Boxster Shootingbrake .
With the Panamera Sport Turismo, Porsche has laid the cornerstone for shooting brakes from Zuffenhausen. Does this also work with the 718 series? © Porsche / ams That would be something: A compact sports car with a little more cargo space. Such a Boxster as a shooting brake. Will there be one? We do not know. And because body builder Van Thull from the Netherlands doesn't know that either, they just build one themselves.

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