DRIVEN: Porsche 911 Carrera S Review
Following a track test of the Porsche 911 Carrera S, here is my first drive review of this benchmark sports car.
What’s the Porsche 911 Carrera S all about?
The Porsche 911 Carrera is one of the most popular Porsche models ever sold and is probably the first car that comes to mind when you mention the Porsche brand. The 911 has been going for over 50 years now, which makes it one of the longest running models of any manufacturer. This 911 Carrera S is powered by a 3.4-litre rear mounted engine that creates 400bhp and 440Nm of torque. This power goes through a Porsche 7-speed manual gearbox, then through to the rear wheels. This will get the Porsche from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and will keep going all the way up to 188mph.
One of the best features about the 911 is its iconic look. Although it has developed over the years it still resembles how it looked back in the 60s. The 911 range is undoubtedly one of the best looking collection of cars ever made.
How does it drive?
The 911 Carrera S is a rear mounted engine, rear wheel drive sports car, so it inherently has a very unique driving experience. The 911 is configured so you sit right in the centre of the front and rear wheels, and fairly low to the ground. This gives you a classic sports car feel without even moving an inch.
Moving off in the car you can tell that you’re in a high performance car just from the way it feels on the road, even at slow speeds. I took the car out onto the handling circuit at the Porsche Experience Centre to get a feel for what the 911 drives like. For me, the single most interesting thing about driving a 911 is the handling capability; you have a very clear awareness of what’s going on underneath you at all times and you feel encouraged to throw it into every corner harder than the last.
On paper, the Porsche 911’s 400bhp is a good number, but the way the 911 deploys that power is even more impressive than you would expect. The power feels instantly available, and with the engine hanging over those rear wheels the car seems to grip perfectly every time you give the car full throttle.
I also had the opportunity to drive the Porsche 911 up the ice hill section of the test facility, which is a plastic resin sloped surface with water sprinklers constantly keeping the surface wet. This was a prime opportunity to test the Porsche Traction Management system. I started at a standstill on the slope and drove the car from the bottom of the hill up to the top whilst weaving in and out of water fountains. I was able to have a few goes, so I could try it with PTM turned on and off to understand and experience the benefits and capabilities of it. With PTM enabled I could drive up the slippery surface very easily and in full control. With it disabled, in most cases, it resulted in me drifting the car sideways most of the way up, which was loads of fun, but wouldn’t be very safe or practical on the road.
What’s it like inside?
The Porsche 911 interior is a great interior by default, and does have a wide array of options which allows you customise it how you want. The model on test wasn’t really to my taste; most of the interior around the cabin was covered in wood trim. But it did at least give me a better idea of the parts that are customisable.
The driving experience of the Porsche 911 Carrera S is undoubtedly one which everyone needs to experience to properly understand. Porsche have absolutely captured how a sports car should feel. It’s energising to drive, even at slow speeds, but once you start using the power, the delivery is instant, and the most outstanding element of the car is its handling capabilities. It is perfectly balanced and this is further enhanced by the braking capabilities which give the Porsche 911 a strong ability to change direction in a very short amount of time if required. Overall it just feels like a great driver focused car.
The Porsche 911 Carrera S has been developed through 50 years of feedback, and it’s not like it was a bad car to start with. Simply put, I don’t really see how the car could be improved any further.
I think there are two types of car enthusiast when it comes to the 911; the ones that have owned one and the ones that aspire to own one in the future. It is a benchmark car that people want to own at some point in their life.
Porsche 911 Carrera S
- Price: £83,545
- Engine: 3.4-Litre
- Power: 400bhp
- Torque: 440Nm
- Transmission: 7-Speed Manual
- 0-62mph: 4.5 Seconds
- Top speed: 188mph
- Weight: 1,490kg
- Economy combined: 29mpg
- CO2: 223g/km
Author: Paul Hadley