2019 Porsche 911 Review (992 generation)
Toby Hagon’s 2019 Porsche 911 Review (992 generation) With Price, Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Ownership, Safety, Verdict And Score.
In a nutshell: An all-new generation of one of the world’s most famous sports cars, the Porsche 911. Codenamed 992, the latest version of the two-door is faster, slicker and more competent, cementing its places among the world’s best sports cars.
2019 Porsche 911 992 Specifications
Price $265,000+ORC (Carrera S), $281,100+ORC (Carrera 4S) Warranty 3 years, unlimited km Service Intervals 12 months, 15,000km Safety NA Engine 3.0-litre twin-turbo horizontally opposed six-cylinder Power 331kW at 6500rpm Torque 530Nm at 2300-5000rpm Transmission 8-speed auto Drive Rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive Dimensions 4519mm (L), 1852mm (W), 1300mm (H), 2450mm (WB) Kerb Weight 1515kg (Carrera S), 1565kg (Carrera 4S) GVM 1985kg (Carrera 4), 2010kg (Carrera 4S) Boot Space 132L Spare Repair kit Fuel Tank 64L (Carrera S), 67L (Carrera 4S) Thirst 8.9L/100km (Carrera S), 9.0L/100km (Carrera 4S)
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It’s one of the world’s longest running and most successful sports cars and now an all-new Porsche 911 is gearing up for arrival in Australia in April, 2019.
Codenamed 992, the new model replaces the 991 that has been around since 2012. It is only the eighth generation 911 since the original in 1963.
While the overall shape is very much in keeping with a long running theme, every panel on the 992 is new and some of the design cues have been inspired by earlier iterations of the 911 (the recessed centre section of the bonnet and retro 911 lettering on the rump are prime examples).
Inside, too, Porsche has looked to its past in redesigning the interior, injecting plenty of tech along the way.
There’s more aluminium used to reduce weight, but the larger body and new eight-speed automatic mean weight overall has increased. Fortunately, Porsche has countered that with more powerful versions of the 3.0-litre twin-turbo horizontally-opposed (or boxer) six-cylinder engine.
Of course, being a 911 there is a unique rear-engine layout that places the engine behind the back axle. That helps create that classic shape (look at a profile pic of a 911 and you’ll notice the extended rump) and also means the luggage area is under the bonnet rather than the boot.
What’s in the range and how much does it cost?
The 911 range is a vast and varied thing, starting with the regular Carrera, evolving through S and GTS models (sometimes with the choice of coupe, convertible or targa body styled) and winding up at the GT3 and Turbo.
But getting to a range that broad takes years, with Porsche typically kicking off towards the bottom of the lineup. That’s exactly what’s happened this time around with the release of this all-new 992-generation 911. The first ones on sale (due in April) are the Carrera S and Carrera 4S (the 4 denoting four-wheel drive). There will still be other variants available in a Porsche showroom, but they’re the previous 991 generation cars.
Life in the new 992 Carrera S starts at $265,000 and for that you get a Bose sound system with digital radio, Apple CarPlay, smart key entry and start, dual-zone ventilation, tyre pressure sensors and heated leather front seats. It rides on 20-inch wheels up front and wider, larger diameter 21s at the rear.
For now there’s only an eight-speed automatic available, but by the end of 2019 Porsche will be offering a seven-speed manual, which will be slightly more affordable. There’s still a long list of options, covering everything from colour and trip variations to sports suspension, a sports exhaust system, the familiar Sport Chrono pack (which brings launch control) and different wheels and tyres.
While a forward-facing camera with basic auto braking functionality is standard, if you want adaptive cruise control with more advanced auto emergency braking that’ll also cost extra.
The 4S adds $15,100 ($281,100) and keeps the same basic specification, although trainspotters will notice silver touches on the rear grille of the 4S.
What’s the interior and practicality like?
Like the exterior, the interior has some retro design inspiration, albeit with a thoroughly modern flavour.
That’s most obvious with the basic layout of the dash, which has a broad horizontal stretch across the dash, rather than an upright centre console intersecting it. Along with the instrument cluster that presents five circular dials to the driver it’s reminiscent of 911s from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.
As with all 911 generations the Carrera S and 4S have four seats, although the two in the rear are best left to small kids – and even then they’re best as occasional seats, such are the compromises required to the seating position of those up front.
Limit it to two people, though, and the 911 is surprisingly practical, with more head and legroom than other cars of this pace and price. It’s an easy car to live with day to day. There’s also a deep 132-litre luggage space under the bonnet.
What are the controls and infotainment like?
While tradition reigns throughout Porsche has managed to inject plenty of modern thinking into the 911. There is a broad 10.9-inch touchscreen with gesture control that brings up sub menus when your hand approaches the screen. It takes some familiarisation to work your way around the various menus are, but on the whole is easy to navigate. There’s Apple CarPlay connectivity, but no Android Auto, Porsche arguing that 85 percent of its owners use an iPhone.
Porsche has cleaned up its centre console around the gear selector with the aim of packing more into the touchscreen. While it mostly works, there are some functions – such as the adjustable exhaust flaps – which would work better on permanent display rather than hidden away in menus.
While the standard audio system is decent, audiophiles can also choose between a punchy Bose system or the flagship 13-speaker Burmester setup.
Beneath the touchscreen is a styling strip (naturally you can choose various materials) that works well for resting your palm against when making selections.
From the driver’s seat everything is focused on the driving experience, with an analogue tacho taking pride of place in the centre. Elsewhere, though, the instrument cluster is digital, with twin 7.0-inch screens on either side of the tacho. Those screens can be customised to include the sat-nav display and other information, although in their standard format they present the driver with five circular gauges.
It’s all about reviving the theme carried through in all 911s (it was changed in the mid-1990s). Like those early cars, the outer gauges are partially covered by the rim of the steering wheel. Not particularly useful, although those gauges display less critical information, such as the fuel gauge, temperature and time – all of which you can easily see with a quick shift of your head.
What’s the performance like?
The Carrera S is among the more sedate of the 911s, but that’s a relative term. This is (very) high performance motoring, anchored by a 3.0-litre twin-turbo six-cylinder that has been heavily revised for the 992 generation.
There’s new positions for the intercoolers and larger turbos, designed to improve air flow and boost outputs. New piezo fuel injectors (which are more accurate and faster in metering fuel) better flow petrol into the combustion chamber for a cleaner bang. The result is 331kW of power and 530Nm of torque. That’s plenty in a car weighing less than 1.6 tonnes.
Using the launch control system, the Carrera 4 will fire to 100km/h in 3.5 seconds, while the Carrera 4S does it in 3.4 seconds, its four-wheel drive systems better transferring grunt to the road. In either car it’s a brisk blast-off, the engine maintaining its enthusiasm as revs rise and quickly firing towards licence-losing territory. There’s loads of thrust and the engine pulls strongly all the way beyond 7000rpm.
Our brief blast around a race track showed the 911 is barely slowing once pushing beyond 200km/h. It’s the sort of car that really needs a race track if you truly want to enjoy what is has to offer.
Being a boxer (horizontally opposed) six-cylinder, the Porsche 911 sounds like no other, its distinctive bark and clatter in keeping with the model. The sound may be too muted for some given the performance on offer, a result of turbochargers muffling the exhaust slightly. But there are some whooshes and whistles as part of the operations of the turbos, adding a different dimension to a 911.
For now there’s only an eight-speed automatic available, but by late in 2019 a manual will also be offered; as with more supercars, the manual will be slower to accelerate because humans simply cannot shift gears as fast as a computer.
What’s it like on the road?
Anyone who has driven a new-ish 911 would know they are exceptional sports cars that do a great job of everyday driving as much as exploding onto a race track. Somehow Porsche has managed to improve the formula.
The 992 uses the same basic suspension architecture as the 991 it replaces, but there’s an added maturity to it that ups comfort levels. We tested the optional Sport suspension, which is firmer for sportier driving. Yet it still has plenty of compliance for what is an extreme sports car. Adjustable dampers stiffen things in their firmest setting, but not uncomfortably. And in their regular mode they cope with large and small bumps equally.
The nose of the car is quite low, so it pays to tackle driveways on an angle and be gentle over speed humps. Elsewhere, there is loads of driver feedback and a sense of closely interacting with the car. The steering has meaningful weight and more driver involvement than before, making twisting roads a delight.
There is loads of cornering grip from the tyres (ours was running on Pirelli P Zero rubber), particularly at the rear, where most of the weight is sitting courtesy of that rear-engine layout. But the 911 requires a particular driving style to account for that rear-engine weight balance. Accelerate too hard in a corner, for example, and the nose gets lighter and the front tyres scrub wide (or understeer). But get it right and few cars have the poise and pace of a 911. It’s a seriously fast car through bends.
The 992 911 is also surprisingly forgiving, its stability control system chiming in if you’re too enthusiastic. It’s the sort of car that inspires confidence – but in a good way.
There’s even a Wet Mode, which has microphones in the front wheel arches to listen for when the car is driving on a wet surface. It then prompts the driver to select Wet Mode, which adjusts a bunch of parameters, including the ABS brake operation, stability control, throttle sensitivity and the four-wheel drive system (on 4S models).
We tested it on a short race track, something that showed it is super smooth in the way it pulls power and controls a slide. It effectively kicks in so early the only perception to the driver is the car feels underpowered if you press the accelerator mid-way through a slippery corner. Yet at the same time Wet Mode makes fantastic use of whatever grip is available, ensuring effortless, smooth progress.
While Porsche has worked on calming the cabin, tyre noise is still an issue on certain bitumen surfaces, something more pronounced above about 80km/h.
Does it have a spare?
As with many sports cars at this end of the market the 911 doesn’t have a spare tyre, instead relying on a temporary repair kit.
That’s partly because the car is relatively compact and the wheels comparatively large, so physically fitting one in would be a challenge. But it’s also because the tyres are very different sizes front and rear, so it would be a compromise either way.
Can you tow with it?
The 911 is best left to two people and is definitely not designed to tow.
What about ownership?
The factory warranty applies for three years with no limit on kilometres travelled. That’s less than most mainstream brands but is in line with other luxury and sports car brands. Porsche has an extended warranty program for cars that have covered less than 200,000km; it costs about $2000 extra per year of coverage.
Servicing costs haven’t yet been determined (expect them closer to the April, 2019 on-sale date) but the 992 will have the same service requirements as recent 911s; check-ups are due every 12 months or 15,000km.
Any 911 produced over the last 20 years has the same service pricing, so there’s a fair bet the 992 will follow the trend. In the first year it’s mainly an oil change and basic check, typically priced around $700 (prices vary from dealer to dealer). Every second year a more detailed inspection is performed, which costs about $1000.
There are also various other components that need replacing at varying intervals (brake and transmission fluid, spark plugs and timing belt, for example), so expect to pay another few hundred dollars each year.
What safety features does it have?
The 911 hasn’t been independently crash tested and it’s unlikely to be given its price and relatively low sales volumes.
It still gets the requisite airbag coverage all around. It also steps the game up on active safety features, with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) on all models. However, there are two levels of AEB depending on which you choose.
All cars get a forward-facing camera which is designed to spot other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists and apply the brakes to avoid a crash or reduce its severity. Because the camera typically looks about 100m down the road it operates best up to 80km/h.
A more advanced AEB system comes if you choose the adaptive cruise control function, which uses a forward-facing radar (it’s the shiny black circle in the centre of the grille). Because the radar can see through fog and up to 250m down the road it is more accurate in spotting obstacles and can potentially react sooner, especially at higher speeds.