When Porsche launches a new car, especially one considered the lynchpin to the brand, they push the marketing team to overdrive. Fresh from the Los Angeles show, we intercept the first batch of 992 Porsches at the Hockenheim ring for the technical workshop while the first drive is scheduled for mid Jan. While you can join one of the many who have ordered a 992-spec 911, you’ll need to wait until June to take delivery in South Africa.
Here are TopGearSA’s 9 pub ammo facts for the 992.
1 The all-new Porsche looks all new
Despite the 911’s inherently restrictive shape which dictates the engineering layout, you don’t need to be a 911 disciple to spot the new 992 from the 991.2. First the rear lightbar it inherits from models like Cayenne and Macan emphasises the car’s flared rear haunches – no narrow body versions in the new 993 range with a one-size-fits all bodyshell, whether rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The door handles sit flush and there is a subtle increase to the front width with staggered 20-inch wheels and 21-inchers for the rear. New paints and wheel designs will keep the configurator buzzing.
2 It has the numbers to back up the looks
Unreal to think these humble 992 Carrera S models pack 996 Turbo besting performance in every way. The 3.0-litre turbo is a revision of the 991.2’s twin-turbo setup but with higher output while stuffed and chortled by fun-throttling WLTP standards. These are the quick raw stats, once again reaffirming the 911s exceptional conversion of value for going quickly.
- Power is up by 22kW to 331kW
- Torque is up by 30Nm to 530Nm
- The 0-100km/h time comes down by 0.4 seconds to 3.5 seconds
- The Nurburgring time is 7m30s, 5 seconds faster versus the 991.
Stopping it are bigger rear discs as well as using the adaptive aero to increase the drag. From 100kph to zero there’s a 1 metre saving. From 300 to zero, that difference is multiplied by 12.
3 Drift for longer
‘It’s not the fastest way…but it is fun’ admits Porsche. The 992 doesn’t have the drift arsenal of a Ferrari Slide Slip control but it has the right balance right out the box. And thanks to new cooling front and rear with better lubrication, you can drift the 992 for longer. We grabbed a passenger ride around the Hockenheim ring and did most of it sideways. No worries from us.
4 A manual will be available
And it’s going to be Porsche’s first seven-speed stick. No other news than that for now because Porsche is focusing where most of its customers are – the PDK crowd.
The 8-spd PDK is redeveloped with improved shift times, new ratios for faster acceleration (the top speed is still 305km/h) and Porsche has reduced the gearbox’s hard stab in the back when in Sport model. But PDK has a brain too, one that taps into the navigation’s data as well as innumerable sensors to pre-select the right gear. Long straight ahead and the car predicts you’ll only be shifting up. Sharp corner and the car anticipates the braking point and by how many gears you might need to rifle down, as well as the point where you might be back on the power. If the data says you’re driving through a heavily-built up urban area, the gearbox’s aggressiveness is dampened further.
5 The 992 debuts a new platform called MMB
MMB tells us one important thing about the upcoming 992 Turbo – it could be hybrid in some way or another. MMB doesn’t only allow greater flexibility, its main advantage is the acceptation of hybrid power. It also helps 992 have a body that’s stiffer but 5% lighter than the 991.2
6 The car is 55kg heavier once complete
The engineer seemed almost suicidal when I asked him for the overall weight. I doubt any other carmaker would take every gramme so personally but at Porsche the quest for weight saving and ideal balance is what motivates them to obsession. How much so? They’ve built a brake pedal which, through the use of carbon fibre, saves 300 grammes. That’s 918 technology transfer right there.
7 It knows when it’s raining
You probably should too, considering this is a driver’s car and the presence of droplets on a windscreen or puddles up ahead has not changed in meaning. Sensors in the wheelarch detect moisture, then a light pings on the dashboard asking you to switch the car to Wet Mode. Doing so triggers a number of anti-aquaplaning things. This includes raising the aero to increase downforce, shuffling extra power to the front axle, remapping throttle response. We tried it at Hockenheim ring and the results seemed to win over those critics who were at the reveal.
8 The tech leverages the family’s know-how
This is where brands like McLaren and Ferrari are in real trouble. The 991’s cabin is as swish as a top-spec VW Touareg but shoehorned, then modified to suit Porsche’s driver-focused design. The 911 has always held a slight phobia to tech but for 992 generation the game has moved on. Dials are digital and customisable, the 10.9 inch screen is larger and clearer, and the functionality is high-grade stuff with lots of features controlled by voice. For those who prefer a tactile approach there is a row of 5 hard buttons – some of them configurable. Pity the OS still favours Apple CarPlay.
It’ll cope with the vagaries of autonomous driving in the way of lane keep assist and active cruise control with a new stop/go function for heavy traffic as well as offer night vision and pedestrian warning with collision prevention. All those cameras then merge to offer a 360-deg parking view – a first for 911 and standard fitment. What if you don’t all the driver aids? You can switch them all off, mercifully.
9 We have pricing
At R1 708 000 for the Carrera S and 1 797 000 for the AWD Carrera 4S, the new 911 is around R300 000 less than the Mercedes-AMG GTS and the same amount cheaper than any Jaguar F-Type worth considering. Neither of them match the 911s tech, handling or brand equity.