Is the 2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S manmade evolution? Let’s go back a few million years. When the Chicxulub Meteor impacted earth 66 million years ago it caused a mass extinction event that brought to an end the reign of the dinosaurs. One extinction event led to another phase of mass species evolution. And 66 million years later, here you an I are. Think about it, that’s over 66 million years of species evolution. When the dinosaurs roamed the earth our early ancestors were rats foraging on the forest floor. From primates to genus homo, from living in trees and caves to living in skyscrapers.
So, in theory, the 8th generation Porsche 911 has taken 66 million years to reach this point in time. That’s 65 million years for the Porsche 911 and the Daily Car Blog to cross paths at the same juncture. This truly is a historic moment.
The Porsche 911 is one such example of evolution occurring before our very eyes. The 992 represents 55 years of incremental development. It is history before your very eyes and history in the making. Its story has been covered many times before. Revisiting that story can never do the 911 justice, but know this it is not just another sports car, it is rock and roll with a Ph.D. in excellence and the master of exhilaration. And that’s the review over with. Not quite.
From the outside at least the all-new generation 2019 Porsche 911 is following a pure Porsche philosophy, to that end, it is automotive and design evolution. The 8th generation has been refined in every area and it is designed with minimalist detail, thought, and visual flair. It looks stunning, the best interpretation of genus-911 yet. It’s available in rear-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive, as a coupe or cabriolet and is offered in two power derivatives. Models designated with the S prefix are currently the fastest version you can get right now. Prices start at £82k for the entry-level 911 Carrera and go up to £108k for the Carrera 4S Cabriolet.
The 2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S on test starts at £98,418, optional extras raise the asking price to £126,100. So for example, the adaptive Sports seats Plus with 18 way electric adjustment and memory function cost £2,315. The optional sports exhaust cost £1,844, front lift system raises the cars over speed bumps… £1709 and the optional list for this car goes on.
However, the pictures cannot convey what the eyes see. The new 911 sits lower and looks more compact and thrilling when viewed without the interference of a camera lens. It doesn’t look as big as the pictures convey. But 8the gen 2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S is now longer and wider, the rear wheel arches are 1.8-inches wider than before which perfectly suits the more aggressive stance. All-in-all the new 911, it’s never looked better.
On entering the interior you are met leather and plush fitted carpets. It has that sports car vibe about it, it’s spacious but at the same time wraps around you, driver-focused. Interior build quality/fit and finish is formidable as are the choices of materials. Everything feels premium to the touch. Except for the plastic side covers below the gloss black deck of the gearbox.
The driver’s position is near on perfect, the pedals are the correct size and evenly spaced. The Steering wheel sits just right, is the perfect size and thickness and has multiple adjustments. The seats could be slightly wider on the upper back but the side bolsters hug you tight, but not too tight.
The instrument binnacle is fully digital, the exception being the central dial which is pure analog. Scrolling through menus is easy to use via the steering wheel functions, crisp graphics display brightly and allows for multiple display options as well as the usual metrics and performance data. Although the outer dials on the left and right are obscured from view by the steering wheel rim. So you have to move and bow to the left and right to see either dial. And I don’t mind at all, it’s a first-world problem. I can live with it.
And of course, the 10.1-inch infotainment system is full of features from accessing the heating controls to deploying various features. You will also find quick access physical buttons for the heating controls and infotainment system. The infotainment display is top-notch quality, bright, magazine quality graphic design, super sharp graphics, and with fast processor menus and navigation are intuitively easy to operate. Of course, there is going to minor usability issues maybe a few buttons are a little on the small side, but totally no problem. You get used to the minor fickle.
At first glance, the gear lever seems ridiculously small, but it soon makes sense because it allows for easy access to the physical heater buttons located directly behind it. In the age of digital technology, a gear lever really isn’t necessary. But overall the interior is minimalist but packed with all the latest in-car technology you could ever want and more if your cheque book has no limits. It’s an elegant, driver-focused environment and for sure luxurious.
Do you know what else this 2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S has got? That supercar “event moment” when you fire up the engine. As you sit in the car with the seats seemingly wrapped around you, press the starter button the engine growls into life. The sound and vibrations momentarily go through you and you know at that moment, this is it, this is what it is all about. If you so desire you can make the exhaust sound louder, the touchscreen has an “exhaust” button, press it and the noise levels go up a notch. Although it must be said that Porsche pipe some of that loudness through the Bose sound system. But honestly, I never noticed.
Behind you sits what are child seats, leather trimmed but realistically more useful for additional storage. The backrest can fold forward allowing for extra storage. And you have more storage at the front. Behind the rear seats and hidden away is the beating heart of the Porsche 911. The 3.0-litre, six-cylinder boxer engine is now twin-turbocharged. The performance bible reads 450bhp (331kW) and 530 Nm of torque. Top speed, 190mph and the 0-62mph time takes 3.0 seconds. To be honest, 450bhp is not that powerful these days because the average supercar is over well 500bhp.
So, in theory, the 911 Carrera S4 sits in between sportscar and supercar territory. But in reality, the 911 is a supercar pretending to be a sportscar. The engine has the capacity to unleash explosive amounts of power on demand. It will never yield, the harder you drive the more it gives. While performance is delivered with seamless and smooth rage it arrives at the top end of the torque spectrum. And all of that engine performance is delivered with surgical precision. And yes the characteristic naturally aspirated V6 thunder is gone, albeit replaced by a harmonious emboldened roar.
Let’s back up a bit. When I first got behind the wheel and drove away in the 992 aka 2019 911 I thought, what’s the fuss about? it’s fairly easy to drive. I pressed the throttle a little bit more… it’s not that fast, I dare say it’s rather too civilized. I soon discovered I wasn’t fully pressing the gas pedal to its fullest extent. And when I did the turbos lit up instantly and the 911’s true character came to light. And it was both terrifying and exhilarating at the same moment. Probably 90 percent more exhilarating than terrifying.
The 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox snaps decisively through each gear. Much better than any human can achieve with a manual transmission, and its faster too. Indeed the 992 will be offered with a manual version at a later date. But why? For me the manual transmission era is over I much prefer the 8-speed dual-clutch because it allows for superior day-to-day usability. Which is what you want in a supercar that pretends to be a sportscar.
But the 911 is all about the driving right? The advanced infotainment system… tick. The luxury interior… tick. The build quality…tick. Optional extras.. tick. And the 911 Carrera S4 has got it all in terms of superior perceived quality. It’s worth every dollar and pound sterling you pay. But what is it like to drive? Is the 911 overrated? Motoring journalists always over-deliver in reviews when the reality of real ownership is far different.
But the real truth is that the 911 delivers in every aspect of its ride, handling and performance. Underneath that body is a sophisticated chassis full of technological wizardry. The McPherson-strut strut suspension with anti-roll bar at the front and rear multi-link/anti-roll bar is a hint of what lies beneath. It even has a system Porsche calls “wet mode” this mode is comprised of sensors under the wheel arches that can detect wet weather and instruct the computers to tell the 911 to take it a bit easy.
The 911 Carrera 4s also has an electronic differential lock and fully variable torque distribution, which allows for “superior” turn-in capabilities. And it also has active suspension, in this instance a £665 option. Active suspension is an advanced system designed to eliminate body roll and pitch variation in many driving situations including cornering, accelerating, and braking.
The ride quality for normal everyday A-B driving is fairly good for a car that is stiffly sprung and riding on low profile 21-inch rims at the rear and 20-inch at the front. All but the toughest of potholes and miserly surfaced roads will do little to unsettle ride comfort. And you have a function to vary the stiffness of the suspension, comfort when you need, thrilling when its required. But it’s the handling where the 2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S really excels. First of all the steering. It’s perfect, perfectly weighted in low and high-speed situations, and yes it is an electric steering. Finally, this is the best electric steering I have experienced, it feels natural and communicates what the front and rear wheels are doing.
I use a particular route, it’s a 7 mile stretch of narrow, twisty country road with uphill and downhill inclines. I have driven some fast cars through this route, always with hesitation and caution. The 911 4S tackled this route in its stride, I was allowed to position and place the car exactly where I wanted. And over the slow to fast bumps the 911 chassis was exemplary in its composure, it never felt unsettled and the steering told me exactly what was going on, every bump, turning input. Where I wanted it to go the Porsche 911 responded. It is the master and commander of precision steering, ride, and handling.
And thanks in part to the 4-wheel drive setup you can take what appears to be a ballistic amount of cornering speed from the point of turn-in, mid-corner and exit speeds. The traction and grip is boundless. On turn-in to a mid-speed corner, you can feel the rear axle rotate laterally, as all 4 tyres grip, sending you into what feels like a controlled descent. That feeling you get is down to th rear-axle steering, a £1,592 option.
What the latter does enhance cornering speed stability and the resultant grip levels relay a precise map of where you are in that moment of time and space. On that basis alone this 911 4S beats more expensive track-focused cars such as McLaren 570S. And on top of that, it is tremendously more civilized once the “all action hero mode” is over and you just want to flip the 911 into cruise.
And speaking of modes the 911 4S gets them Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual. Think of these driving modes as a kind-of engine management control. Normal mode is good for a motorway cruise, Sport Plus is like a qualifying mode, the engine revs increase and the gear changes upshift and downshift aggressively quickly and as a matter of courtesy the exhaust thunders and blips. I didn’t use individual mode, I switched between Normal mode for cruising and Sport Plus, I didn’t use Sport mode much at all. And the Carbon Ceramic brakes usually don’t work well for the road but they do in the 911, the stopping power is immensely impressive but the ease of use and feel is by far the best I have used. The brakes feel natural and progressive.
And what about the fuel consumption? when fuel was running short I drove to a nearby petrol station and filled it up again. That’s all you need to know.
My initial presumption was the 911 was going to be very much a glorified saloon/coupe, like a BMW 8 Series coupe, a fancy Dan not much here to see experience. And that 55 years of sportscar evolution was nothing more than flagship marketing for an over the hill overrated sports car.
But now I have experienced the myth of the 911. There is no myth, only the 911, I now understand what the fuss is about. And for once the marketing is actually underselling the 911 experience. It is both civilized and raw and crushingly mercurial, it is a pure supercar. You can pay more to get faster vehicles but you can never recreate what the 911 offers, for it is a total performance-orientated package. If I can sum up the 2019 Porsche 911 4S it would simply be. Design… perfect. Performance…perfect. Handling… perfect. Brakes… perfect… everything perfect. And this is just a taste of things to come.