In Depth

Porsche 911 2019: entry-level Carrera finally joins the range

New model completes the standard 911 range, but there’s still more to come from the German carmaker

Porsche has finally added an entry-level Carrera to its 911 line-up, completing the range of base models for the new 992-generation sports car.

The Carrera joins the Carrera S and Carrera 4S models, both of which were revealed at the LA Auto Show last November before hitting the showrooms earlier this year. 

Offered in both coupe and cabriolet form, the new Carrera is almost identical to the S and 4S models that came before it. For instance, it comes with “Wet Mode” as standard, which improves traction in damp conditions, while other aspects of the chassis remain largely unchanged, says Autocar.

At 380bhp, the standard Carrera’s power output is 64bhp down on the Carrera S and it comes with slightly smaller brakes as standard, the magazine notes. That being said, the entry-level car is still around 15bhp more powerful than the old 991-generation Carrera.  

While the new entry-level car completes the base Carrera range, Porsche is still expected to release a host new models that are based on the new 992-generation 911. 

Arguably the most exciting model is the next 911 GT3, a track-focused version that is considered by Porsche fans as the world’s greatest driver’s car. It could make its public debut as early as this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, which runs from 12 to 22 September, says US news site Carscoops.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new 911 - and what the critics had to say when they took to the track in the new car: 

Price and release

Prices start at £82,800 for the new entry-level Carrera in coupe form, which rises to £92,400 for drop-top cabriolet models. Above that sits the Carrera S, costing £93,100 and £102,800 in coupe and cabriolet form respectively.

The current range-topping model is the four-wheel drive Carrera 4S. Prices start at £98,400 for the hard top and £108,000 for the drop-top model. 

Porsche opened order books for the Carrera S and 4S models earlier this year. Meanwhile, the new entry-level Carrera will go on sale later this year, says Evo.

Reviews 

Ahead of its release earlier this year, critics got behind the wheel of the new 911 at the Hockenheim grand prix circuit in Germany. 

With their foot flat to the floor, Pistonheads’ reviewer calls the new 992-generation 911 “very, very good on circuit. For a plain old Carrera it’s borderline brilliant.” 

The motoring blog adds: “Precise, accurate, fast, engaging, sufficiently tactile and tremendously capable, it surpassed even the loftiest expectations for it as a circuit car.”

Despite being the first 911 to sport a gasoline particulate filter, which reduces emissions but can also absorb “some of the engine tones”, drivers will still find the motor has “a decent flat-six character and richness” when the optional sports exhaust is fitted, says Auto Express.

The car’s electronically-assisted steering is also “superb”, the magazine says. It feels “progressive until you make a fast input, at which point the car snaps to attention”. 

Top Gear’s Chris Harris agrees, hailing the steering as a major improvement on the previous version’s “simply awful electric power steering”. 

The new model also gets the 911 GT3’s rear-wheel steering system, which helps the car change direction “so cleanly” and has the “added benefit of a tiny turning circle”, he adds.

While the new 911 isn’t as exciting as its key rivals, the Mercedes-AMG GT and Aston Martin Vantage, the Porsche will outsell “anything else remotely like it” because of “how easily it fits into your life”, Autocar states.

“It’s an outstanding all-round sports car” that provides owners with an “engaging, entertaining” driving experience, the magazine concludes.

Design

The front end of the new model appears to have a slightly more aggressive look than the previous-generation 991. Among the styling tweaks, the brake cooling ducts ahead of the front wheels swoop backwards on the latest car, adding a sporty edge. 

All three Carrera models are almost indistinguishable from each other. The wheel options, for instance, are exactly the same across the range, as are the exterior paint options and interior colours. 

Carrera models come with a dual exit exhaust as standard, while Carrera S and 4S cars are equipped with quad-exit systems. However, quad tailpipe systems are swapped out for dual oval outlets when the optional sports exhaust is added to the car’s spec list.

Interior and tech

Porsche calls the 992-generation its “digital” sports car, and you can see why as soon as you step inside. 

Although several carmakers have moved over to completely digital dashboards, Porsche has opted for an analogue rev counter flanked by two digital displays inside the new 911, says Auto Express

These displays, located behind the steering wheel, mirror the traditional “five-dial arrangement” found in previous 911s, but the layout can now be customised by the driver. For example, one of the screens could be used to display the satnav.

Above the centre consoles sits a 10.9in touchscreen display, which can be used to manage the car’s driving modes and infotainment settings. 

One of the most intriguing new features on offer is “wet mode”. Porsche has a host of sensors scattered across the car that can detect when road surfaces become wet, says Car magazine. 

In that event, the sports car automatically activates “wet mode”, which changes the vehicle’s settings to give drivers better traction. 

Engines and performance

As you’d expect from a 911, Porsche has equipped the 992-generation car with its signature flat-six engine. Like its predecessor, the 991.2, the new car’s 3.0-litre engine is backed up by a pair of turbochargers.  

In standard Carrera form, the flat-six engine delivers 380bhp - an increase of around 15bhp over the 991-generation Carrera, notes Autocar. A 0-62mph sprint is done in 4.2 seconds, which is 0.6 seconds faster than the manual version of the old Carrera. 

Both Carrera S and Carrera 4S models produce 444bhp and 406lb-ft of torque, says Evo. However, while they have identical power outputs, the Carrera 4S’s four-wheel-drive system helps it go from zero to 62mph in 3.6 seconds - 0.1 second faster than the standard Carrera S’s time.

Top speed comes in at 190mph for the Carrera S, and 191mph for the 4S, the magazine adds.

Will there be a hybrid version?

Apparently so. Porsche confirmed last year that the new 911 will feature some form of hybrid motor in the future. But fans may have to wait before an electrified version of the iconic sports car goes on sale. 

Interviewed by Auto Express at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November, the 911’s production line director August Achleitner said that Porsche had plans to release a hybrid version when the company launches an updated model of the sports car later in the car’s lifecycle. 

“It will be the next evolution of this car, that means at least four years from today”, he said. 

Achleitner said that hybrid technology would be applied to enhance the car’s performance in a technique similar to the company’s method of using electrification to increase the power of its 919 Hybrid Le Mans cars. 

While he didn’t disclose how the system would work, Motor1 suggests that hybrid tech could be used to recover energy from the car’s exhaust and stored in lithium-ion batteries. Then, when a driver accelerates, the stored electric energy is sent to the front axle to mimic a four-wheel drive system.

Is the GT3 going turbo?

Perhaps, given that turbochargers help carmakers reduce engine sizes in order to meet emissions targets, without compromising on power.

A Porsche insider told Autocar that the next track-focused GT3 and GT3 RS versions of the new 911 will get twin-turbocharged versions of the 3.8-litre flat-six engine currently used in the 911 Turbo.

The source, who reportedly has links to Porsche Motorsport, claimed that the 911 Turbo’s engine would be “heavily reworked” for the GT3 and GT3 RS. That could see the motor deliver around 513bhp, according to the magazine.

If the rumours are true, the new car would be the first GT3-badged 911 to feature a turbocharged engine. The current models come with naturally-aspirated 4.0-litre flat-six engines that rev up to 9,000rpm.

The move to turbo powertrains means the days of Porsche’s howling naturally-aspirated flat-six engines may soon be numbered. 

But while turbocharging an engine often mutes its exhaust note, the move could significantly increase the power and torque of the German firm’s entry-level track car.

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