The launch of the latest variant of the 911, Porsche’s flagship vehicle which, since 1963, has enjoyed sales of more than one million vehicles, was never going to be a small affair.
With several hundred journalists flown in from around the world looking on, on the eve of the Los Angeles motor show former F1 and current Porsche sportscar driver Mark Webber introduced the new model (known internally as the 992 variant) in front of a host of senior Porsche executives and a scattering of Hollywood and sports celebrities.
After 55 years of continuous evolution no-one was expecting any radical departures from the classic 911 silhouette and though the latest 911 is marginally longer and wider than the outgoing 997 variant, Head of Porsche style Michael Mauer (see interview, Page 10) says his team took inspiration from the first Turbo G series 930 models to give the new car more bulbous arches as a means to make the cabin appear more compact.
Design changes are perhaps most clearly discernible at the rear, where a full width horizontal rear light bar clearly identifies the car as a 992 variant.
The interior features an analogue tachometer placed centrally between twin screens in a classic ‘five tube’ cluster which will be immediately recognisable by 911 aficionados.
Power comes initially from the existing three litre twin-turbocharged flat six engine, but revised injection and turbocharging mean it puts out 443 horsepower at 6,500rpm and 530Nm torque, at 2,600 rpm, laid down to all four wheels via an eight speed PDK gearbox. Purists will be pleased to learn that a manual seven speed box is said to be coming soon.
At launch, the Carrera, Carrera S and 4S were all on display and of course there’s a cabrio waiting in the wings for future release.
Despite the new car’s 55kg weight gain, the increased power output means the 4S variant will reach 100kph from standstill in 3.6 seconds, or 3.4 if you specify the Sport Chrono package.
Suspension is MacPherson strut at the front, multi-link at the rear, with Carrera models on 19in / 20in wheels and amongst the many safety features, the new 911 enjoys night vision cameras which track and identify potential hazards, and microphones in the wheel arches which detect the sound of wheels on wet tarmac and then advise the driver to select “Wet Mode”. This softens the car’s suspension settings, increases downforce on the rear tyres though application of the rear spoiler and dampens the throttle inputs. Many would argue that such nannying detracts from the driving experience but at least there’s a choice of whether or not to make the selection.
So it’s a fraction wider, a little longer, a tiny bit more powerful and features a few subtle changes. 911 owners wouldn’t want it any other way...