Porsche 911 Carrera 2018 Review
With the keys to the latest version of a legendary name – the Porsche 911 Carrera 2018, we anxiously hop onboard for a drive.
What’s the Porsche 911 Carrera all about?
If someone were to mention ‘the quintessential sports car’, a commotion would no doubt break out with advocates from multiple sides. However, if being the longest running sports car equates to being the basis to gauge a vehicle’s sporting credentials, then the Porsche 911 is undoubtedly the undisputed champion.
With nearly 60 years of history, the 911 is an enduring nameplate, and it can be argued that its roots run deeper as the 911 was conceptualised from the Porsche 356. Being such a lasting model though makes it tricky for Porsche to introduce modern changes, it’s always going to upset the purists who love the unadulterated thrill of an air-cooled 911.
Porsche’s latest iteration of the 911, the 991.2 ushers in what’s perhaps indicative of the 911’s future direction, and arguably its one of the biggest changes Porsche has committed to in the 911 after the switch to water-cooled engines. Now, the twin-turbos setup has trickled down from the range-toppers to throughout the entire range of the eclectic 911 spectrum.
And today we have the most ‘vanilla’ 991 of them all, the Porsche 911 Carrera 2018. Is this just an option for those financially bound? Or perhaps it’s more than that?
Some people say that the 911 designers are amongst the least inspired, and while that statement is palpable to a certain extent, I believe that the 911 shape doesn’t require monumental revisions. Porsche has done just that by adorning the 2018 911 with time appropriate touches to keep it modern. Most importantly, this ethos preserves the classic 911 shape that’s so distinctive and recognisable even miles away.
Obviously, some things have changed from the 991.1. The further streamlined slim taillights, relocation to centre exhausts, new front bumper skirts and rear vents and new vertical louvres, the latter of which is a peculiarly endearing touch. Overall, if you are a fan of the 911 design, the new 911 Carrera is attractive in its own unique way.
Our test Porsche 911 Carrera 2018 is painted in ‘Rhodium Silver Metallic’, a £834 silver-grey hue that’s inoffensive and should prove to be timeless. Sitting on 20″ £1,010 ‘Carrera S’ wheels, I reckon this combination of aesthetics options will be alluring to most.
The major disparity in the 991.2 generation is located underneath the boot. In lieu of a large 3.4-litre naturally-aspirated flat-6, you’ll find a downsized 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged flat-6 engine instead. Power output actually surpasses the naturally-aspirated engine, at 370 horsepower and 450 Nm. The torque figure is especially noteworthy as it prevails over the 991.1 Carrera S.
With the aforementioned powerplant mounted at the rear, a 911 trademark, it’s then married to a proper 7-speed twin-clutch manual transmission that’s also standard. Power is sent to the rear wheels, propelling the Porsche 911 Carrera 2018 from 0-62 mph in just 4.6 seconds, onto a top speed of 183 mph.
For this level of performance, the 7-speed manual 911 Carrera can be expected to return 34.0 mpg, while putting out 190 g/km of CO2. If efficiency is of particular concern to you, opt for the 7-speed PDK instead which touts 38.2 mpg and 162 g/km of CO2.
Intriguingly, if you want the Porsche 911 emblems on the exterior painted like ours, it’s a £279 option. That said, it does subtly complement the silver shade of our 911 Carrera. If you want a track-focused 911 Carrera, the PDK transmission at £2,483 and the carbon ceramic brakes at £6,018 are worth a thought.
How does it drive?
The migration to forced induction is no doubt a move that we’re numb to even years ago as emissions laws become increasingly stringent. Thankfully, turbochargers are super efficient with downsized engines and add a lot more torque and extra horsepower.
Such is the case with the Porsche 911 Carrera 2018. The appeal of the defunct naturally-aspirated 911s are of course the quality of power delivery, and turbochargers do pose as a potential upset to that trait. However, I’m pleased to say the new flat-6 has immaculate power delivery, the turbochargers are prompt and linear, and you almost always have plenty of power to swiftly gain pace.
Of course, for the price, it’s not exactly a trailblazer at least on paper. However, there is just something rather gratifying about the flat-6 that makes it rewarding to push hard. It has little turbo lag, when the turbos fully prime the 911 Carrera hastens gracefully, and it’s all very manageable. The turbo spool sound is very encouraging to the driver and you may often find your self-playing it like an instrument.
Turbochargers can drastically modify the exhaust tone, which is a major perk of the naturally-aspirated flat-6. It’s worth noting that we have the £1,844 sports exhaust painted in black, and in my opinion, it sounds spectacular. The turbo whistle is definitely more pronounced on the outside than it is on the inside, which Porsche has decided to feed intake noise selectively into. It’s definitely a bassier, hoarser pitch that agreeably escalates to an agreeable, characteristic crescendo that isn’t found anywhere else.
The 7-speed twin-clutch manual is just delightful to work with. The throw is appropriately short, with an engaging action that appeases the driver to row through the gears, I think I will go as far as saying it is one of the best gearbox sensations available at the moment. I have no doubt that the PDK is far superior regarding performance, but in a proper sports car for the weekends you’ll love the manual. The transmission has longer gearing to leverage the extra torque and that torque is massively noteable.
Undoubtedly, adopting forced induction will compromise any supposedly lightweight chassis, and the new 991.2 Carrera is heavier by about 50 kg compared to the 991.1 Carrera. Our test 911 Carrera is one of the most genuine 911s you can opt for, without the £1,530 active rear steering and no active sway bars.
While Porsche’s endeavour to embrace electromechanical steering was initially criticised by many, especially by the purists, their continuous perseverance to stick with it and continuously develop that has yielded results. It is certainly one of the best in the business, being consistent, weighty and surprisingly communicative. These praises apply to the clutch too, which is lightweight and reliable.
When you really thrash the 911 Carrera around a B-road though, it’s startling. The Porsche 911 Carrera 2018 has a stellar demeanour, diving into corners and assertively shifting itself through, while you can feel the heavier rear rotate itself with great poise.
Even though there is minimal body roll to be found even during especially hard cornering, the 911 Carrera demonstrates commendable road manner. It copes with bumps and crevasses very well, considering that it sports a rather short wheelbase. On the motorway, bar a rather muffled tyre roar, its cruising quality is impeccable.
What is it like inside?
The big draw of a Porsche 911 is, of course, its applicability and practicality as a daily driver. Our 911 Carrera is upholstered with Graphite Blue / Crayon two-tone leather, and it’s beautiful. The perforated sports seats in our 911 Carrera are actually a £1,599 option because they’re fully electric and 14-way powered with position memory. It’s easy to get in and out of, and provides ample support for spirited drives.
While not much has changed in the 991.2 compared to the 991.1 Carrera interior, Porsche has incorporated welcome updates like a smaller diameter steering wheel and a newer, rehashed infotainment system. The steering wheel now looks more akin to the unit found in the Porsche 918 Spyder, and it does improve the overall driving experience.
More notably, the 7.0″ Porsche Communication Management (PCM) infotainment system enjoys a suitably modern revision. It now touts a responsive satnav with support for Google Earth, Street View and real-time traffic information. There is also a pleasing integration of control redundancy, allowing you to either use the touchscreen or operate the system via the array of buttons in the centre console.
Overall, the material choices and build quality are admirable. While the cabin may look cluttered with buttons, they’re thoughtfully located and intuitive to work with. The centre console is tall and expansive, segregating the two passenger seats into individual cockpits.
Front passenger room is generally excellent, offering a proper, sporty driving position with impressive visibility throughout. While the 911 is denoted as a 2+2 sports car which may evoke thoughts of incredibly cramped rear seats we’re used to, the rear seats within the 911 Carrera is genuinely usable. The legroom and headroom back there isn’t anything exceptional, but kids will fit fine back there.
You can always fold the rear seats down to trade for more luggage space though, which will then provide 260-litres of cargo storage to supplement the relatively modest 145-litre front bonnet storage.
While the official figures may have you believe that the Porsche 911 Carrera 2018 is not a particularly sprightly sports car, it certainly felt properly rapid behind the steering wheel of one. Its sense of urgency is plenty tangible, and you’ll be breaking any speed limit within seconds. The chassis never feels overwhelmed by the extra power, and its cornering aptitude remains a benchmark for sports cars.
Verdict – a £90,151 Porsche 911 Carrera
So, should you opt for the ‘basic’ Porsche 911 Carrera? It’s worth noting that while it starts at £77,891 when you begin to tick some boxes it’ll quickly top £100,000 before you even realise what’s going on. Ours, for example, will be running you £90,151, and you can easily spend more than this for just the 911 Carrera.
That said, it provides ample power whenever you request it, and I reckon it’ll provide at least 90% of the driving experience that the more powerful S models deliver, and should prove to be more true than the 4WD Carrera 4 model. It’ll also leave a lot more cash in your wallet for customisation purposes.
Anything Porsche alters is bound to upset some portion of the purists. But make no mistake, the new engine now offers intoxicating peak power that rewards you as you push it. It’s an astonishing engine in its own respect. To begin with, it’s a lot more flexible and better optimised for daily use. And even with more weight, the 911 Carrera’s chassis is truly something to behold personally.
While this segment is saturated with some of the most astounding cars on sale right now such as the Lotus Evora 400, Jaguar F-Type and Mercedes-AMG GT, the Porsche 991.2 is still doubtlessly a viable option. These competitors are close, but for me, the Porsche 911 Carrera 2018 remains the archetypal sports car to have.
2018 Porsche 911 Carrera Specs
- Price: £90,151
- Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged flat-6
- Power: 370 hp
- Torque: 450 Nm
- Transmission: 7-speed Manual
- 0-62mph: 4.6 Seconds
- Top speed: 183 mph
- Weight: 1,645 kg
- Economy combined: 32.5 mpg
- CO2: 190 g/km
Author: Paul Hadley
The History of the Porsche 911
The world famous 911 is known by both car enthusiast and disinterested Honda Jazz drivers alike, yet this now iconic model began its journey in 1963 under a different moniker – the Porsche 901.
It’s hard to imagine the 911 with any other title yet this handsome 60s coupe was originally to be sold as the 901. However, due to Peugeot having the rights to three-digit car names with a zero in the middle the name ‘911’ was born.
The idea for Porsche to build a sportscar came from ‘Butzi’ Porsche, the grandson of the creator of the Beetle, Ferdinand Porsche. This first Porsche was powered by a 2.0-litre air-cooled flat six which sat in the rear of the car. This rear engine placement hasn’t changed yet and is firmly established as the quintessential 911 layout.
In 1998 the last air-cooled Porsche 911, the 993, rolled off the production line and ever since the engines have been water-cooled. Furthermore, the capacity has fluctuated since the first 911 was produced to the roughly 3.5-litre mark it hovers around currently, varying from model to model. The largest engine in a 911 is the 4.0-litre powertrain for the current GT3 RS which produces a staggering 500hp and 460Nm of torque.
The styling of the 911 has subtly changed throughout its lifetime which has generated some criticism from the public, however, Porsche says this is the evolution of the 911 rather than rebuilding the entire platform from the ground up with each new model.
The most controversial styling tweak came with the 996 era of 911 which had enthusiasts divided. The headlight design changed from a circular shape to that of a teardrop which many likened to that of a fried egg – hardly flattering praise to the best designers Stuttgart has to offer.
The classic circular headlight design returned with the next generation, the 997, alongside an entirely new mechanical platform, which is only the third time this has happened in the 911s incredibly long lifetime.
With a different variation of the 911 model available to suit any buyer, from the baseline Carrera to the hardcore twin-turbo GT2 RS, it comes as no surprise that the 911 has won over the hearts of so many car enthusiasts.
Like any modern German car manufacturer, a new buyer will have a comprehensive options list to consider from deciding if you want a manual or auto gearbox, to the more minuscule details.
The standard colours are black, white, and the quintessentially Porsche ‘Guards Red’ and ‘Racing Yellow’. Rhodium Silver metallic is the option chosen for this test model which costs extra at £834. The metallic flake looks fantastic up-close but die-hard Porsche purists will surely be selecting the red or yellow.
The leather interior comes in a selection of colours – black, agate grey, and saddle brown. The premium option of Graphite Blue & Crayon two-tone was chosen for this particular car and is a £422 extra.
One of the options I would recommend are the ‘Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus’, a £1,835 option which significantly improves visibility when driving at night. PDLS Plus adds high beam assist; a camera detects oncoming traffic and vehicles you’re approaching and automatically selects high or low beam at speeds above 37mph. This means when travelling at night you can focus on driving rather than fiddling with the light settings at high speeds.
Park assist with front and rear cameras adds £1,128 to the price but is invaluable if you’ll be parking in tight car park spots regularly.
The 20 inch Carrera S wheels are purely a matter of personal preference. The S alloys certainly look brutish with more spokes, angular points, and greater fluctuation in depth. The standard 19-inch alloys look almost cheap in comparison but provide better ride quality due to the larger tyre wall. If you have £1,010 to spare it’s a difficult decision to make.
Options I personally wouldn’t choose are mainly minor cosmetic changes which carry hefty price tags. To have the Porsche and 911 logos painted will set you back £279, to have the headlight cleaning covers painted is a further £143, and the sports exhaust in black instead of chrome is an astronomical £1,844 (This is expensive, but it sounds so good).
A speed limit display is a £294 option but a watchful eye will save you forking out cash, this is assuming you don’t empty your savings straight after with a few speeding tickets.
Porsche also offers numerous options to make the 911 more suitable for everyday driving. It’s clear that the new 911 isn’t being aimed purely at driving enthusiasts. A BOSE surround system costs £1,002 which I personally don’t see the need for with that throaty flat 6 roaring behind the cabin.
The choice of a manual or Porsche’s PDK paddle semi-auto box is a controversial one. Porsche have previously considered phasing out the traditional manual gearbox with such a large percentage of their new 911s being sold with the PDK.
Porsche 911 Styling
This new 911 surely has all the makings of one of Porsches’ all-time greats, as this generation marks numerous ‘firsts’ for the 911 name. Turbocharging is now integrated into all Carrera models, alongside electric power steering. Better performance and lower running costs are two immediate benefits from these revisions.
The styling unapologetically showcases Porsches ‘evolution’ design philosophy for the 911, with seemingly no major redesigns, appearing completely indistinguishable from the last model. Tweaks to the aerodynamics amongst other small styling changes can be noticed throughout upon closer examination.
The slats on the engine cover are now vertical instead of horizontal like on previous models. And the new rear lights are 911 to the core yet integrate modern touches such as LEDs. The thin, clinical lines are akin to that of a wise master’s squinting eyes – a metaphor which fits the 911 perfectly.
The wheel arches are wider than previous models and make the car squat and aggressive like a wild cat ready to pounce. Despite being the ‘base’ 911, the Carrera still looks like it could destroy all competitors at the track.
Porsche’s top tier build quality continues into the interior with a minimalistic dashboard, and leather upholstery. This new 911 has a 100mm longer wheelbase and so legroom is improved for both the driver and passengers. All the switchgear is clean, surgical, and feels as if it will last for decades.
Breakdown and Analyse by: Cameron Hill