Porsche 911 Carrera S - The Everyday Supercar!
It took me many months after driving a Porsche 911 at the Buddh International Circuit earlier this year to gather my emotions and write down how really truly I love the Porsche 911. It is a car that you either absolutely hate or love it like your newborn baby, every single day! And for the truly inflicted, it is usually a decade or two till the time you own one.
My story with the Porsche 911 started when I was a 12-year-old boy, exactly 15 years from today when having a Porsche in one's garage was supposed to be a THING! There used to be a beautiful Agate Grey 996.2 Carrera S with a big wing at the back that my School's chairman would drive-in. It was parked right beside the School's gate and whenever I used to see it in the morning I would spend many minutes just glancing it, better off when I had a class facing that parking spot. Briefing the entire romantic story into a 10-second read, I LOVE THE PORSCHE 911. It has been my poster car ever since I started understanding cars more maturely.
15 years later, I got a chance to truly appreciate the glory of the best car that comes out of Stuttgart. We were to drive the latest generation of the 911, codename: 992, which on paper is a proper take-off from the previous generation 991.2 while keeping the traditional 911 silhouette.
On the outside, the 992 generation of the Carrera looks much similar to the outgoing model keeping the tradition, but if you look closely, Porsche has picked up some rather magical little tricks in the body. The door handle, for example, is flush and come out when you unlock the car from the key fob. The outside rearview mirrors are no more oval in shape, they are more squirical which sort of look cohesive with the big gaping air intake grilles in the bumper. It is now longer and wider than the outgoing generation of the 911 and a little taller as well believe it or not. I like the fact that both the Carrera 2S and the 4S now come in the wide-body format as the former would gain more rear track grip, but it also means the 4 wheel drive models would be hard to distinguish from the rear-wheel drive ones. It breaks the heart of the college kid that plays guess the 911 game, really!
The rear three quarters look generic 911, not much has changed, other than the massive wing that comes out, and that long singular stop lamp. Porsche would not, in my opinion, would ever play around too much with the design elements of a true 911. I really appreciate the raw character of the 991.2 generation Carrera S, it looked more purposeful and raw than this new generation of the 911 which is quite inclined toward the elements of being a Panamera.
Open up the doors, and you'll see elements from the Porsche 964 in heaps and bounds. The dashboard top is raked towards the driver and the passenger, there is a big screen in the middle and the little Air Conditioning vents below the Multimedia screen screams of the 964 pedigree. I like how the Tachometer is retained as an analogue unit in between the digital instrument cluster. The 10.9inch display is a straight fit from the current generation Cayenne and Panamera, and it essentially takes away a lot of button controls from the central console onto the screen.
The purists, on the other hand, are hating this 992 for removing the tall and usable gear shifter. Porsche has put a tiny shaver like a lever for selecting gears. It is genuinely annoying to see a sportscar going in the direction of the digital era. The quality of the materials used, however, is massively impressive. The fit and finish of the plastics, leather and Alcantara is impeccable. The shut lines are millimetre perfect and feeling inside the cabin is more like a luxury car than a Sportscar.
Talking of Luxury, the 992's rear seat situation is improved vastly. Because the car has grown longer, wider and taller than the previous 991 generations, Porsche is able to supply more space for the rear passengers. Although this seat is strictly for kids or adults on shorter journeys, the seatback now has a better recline and more knee room than the 991. Which means I can carry my drunk friends in the back seat without them crooning too much.
These seats are foldable and create substantial space for luggage. We tried fitting 2 of our large check-in suitcases in the rear and we still had space for a golf kit and a few balloons. The trunk in the front, however, has shrunk in size. Porsche has increased the storage capacity of fluids in the front boot or the frunk as they call it.
Let me talk numbers before I get into the poetic mode. 450 horsepower and 530 Nm of torque pulling this everyday supercar from 0 to 100 kmph in 3.5 seconds, I tested it at 3.7 seconds with Indian conditions. 308 kmph of top speed is on paper and one can attempt to touch it if brave enough it also is the least on carbon emissions of any supercar in the world at 190 grams/kilometer. Impressive!
I drove the Carrera S 991.2 before I got into the 992.1 to understand deeply about the changes in the driving dynamics of the car. The 991.2 has been my favourite since the 997.1 from when I started loving the Porsche 911 models. This attraction in my experience with the 991.2 is because of the sheet mechanical feel and feedback from everything I held while I drove or shoved the car around the road and track respectively. The previous generation Carrera was the epitome of simplicity and a car that you can genuinely live with every day without compromising on the absolute pornography for car enthusiasts, the 991.2 was a complete event. I had a chance to briefly drive the GT3 with a 6 Speed Manual Gearbox as well at the Buddh International Circuit and it was a car that can increase my sperm count in seconds. It is the most amazing car I have ever driven. Period.
Now how is the new 992 to drive like. First of all, the interiors request you to savour it like a luxury supercar than a SUPERCAR supercar. The array of touch panels and larger than midget's head touch-screens do not help in the sportiness of the Porsche 911, it feels clinical and full of Artificial Intelligence where it is not needed. The Porsche 911 has always been a car that the human decides to drive and it has had its controls positioned for the same purpose. It has all changed now, the gear lever is a tiny Gillette shaver rather than a full lever that made you feel like Ken Block at every corner and signal.
There are a line of screens behind the steering wheel to show the essential instruments with a little tachometer dial in between to balance the future and past design elements of the Porsche cars. The door handles are electronically retracting inside and out. And it has touchpads to change the settings of your suspension and air-conditioning like the Panamera and Cayenne. We don't need that in a sports car PORSCHE! Alas. It is difficult to adjust things doing 200 kmph plus speeds as it takes your attention away from the road.
The technology is killing the supercars these days. These cars are supposed to be savoured like Cinnabon on cold winter mornings, they are items to give comfort to the soul and all they are becoming are robots that control our emotions and actions. We are spending more time glancing the screens and animations than enjoying the vistas that we drive through with these mechanical divas. The sonourous extravaganza is reduced to be played through the optional and ludicrously expensive surround sound speakers than waking the whole neighbourhood up the moment you crank the motor.
Here's the last hurrah to my favourite supercar of them all. The 991.2 has got all respects from the bottom of my heart. As a tool to make you feel like a LeMans driver in fancy shorts from Marks and Spencer's, this is and shall always be the best generation of the Porsche 911. The 992 promises a lot, delivers all of those promises and there is where the problem starts. You are less involved in the ownership and pains of owning a 911 and instead just take it out for drives to buy expensive Gucci bags from the nearby luxury mall instead. All you have to do is press the voice command button, tell it where to go and leave. It'll navigate you there, unlike yesteryears when finding a store felt like finding the thief in the Scotland yard game.
The 911, however, is still the best daily supercar in the world!