Just how did Porsche create a classic product that’s sold continuously well for more than half a century? Because it’s always stuck true to the original, while at the same time reinventing it time and again. With the eighth-generation Porsche 911, the designers, engineers, developers, and strategists in Stuttgart have, once again, carefully evolved their most popular sports car and moved it another step forward into the future. Of course, with another new 911 comes more debate about whether it will live up to the model’s outstanding heritage.
It’s interesting that the new Porsche 911 incorporates not only technology from the future but also intelligent design cues from the past. It’s a smart and proven strategy, as we’ve seen elsewhere in the automotive world in 2018. Enough philosophy: these are the 992’s hard facts.
Firstly, the 911 has become even bigger. The rear hips around the 21-inch wheels have grown by 45mm in width and are now shaped equally on all models. The track has also increased at the front, emphasising the car’s waist – think of the classic Coke bottle – and bringing extra stability. A compact and purist sports car the 911 is certainly no longer. From the front, the new LED headlights and subtle bonnet strips lend a modern look, while the rear of the car is characterised by a wider, extendable spoiler and the continuous light strip that recently became a part of Porsche’s design language.
More has changed in the interior, which has been dominated by clean lines in the style of cockpits from the 1970s. In addition to a central tachometer, the driver looks at two frameless displays, while beneath the large central screen are five buttons for quick access to the most important functions. What you don’t see in the photos is the significantly advanced connectivity of the new infotainment system – navigation, for example, will be based on ‘swarm data’ in the future, in what is another step towards autonomous driving.
The digital offering also includes a travel planner for road trips, a personal lifestyle assistant, and an emissions calculator, which you can use to compensate for your carbon footprint and wash your conscience when you stepped on the throttle a little too hard. The new 911 has also gained in safety and assistance systems: there’s a new ‘wet mode’ for extra stability on wet roads, a camera-based warning and braking assistant, a heat-based night vision device, and an autonomous emergency function. The wisdom used by the likes of Vic Elford to gently seduce the 911 and its notorious handling is certainly no longer required.
Despite all this technology on board, the new 911 is, of course, a performer. Thanks to improved injection and newly arranged turbochargers, the six-cylinder flat-six in the Carrera S now kicks out 450HP – that’s 30HP more than its predecessor – and helps the car to accelerate from 0–62mph in 3.7sec. The Carrera 4S can dispatch the sprint in just 3.6sec, and the optional Sport-Chrono package will knock a further 0.2sec off that again. Alas, there’s not a five-speed manual (the seven-speed is still standard), but rather a new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. In any case, we can’t wait to get behind the wheel.