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A Car That Keeps 
(Sur)passing Itself

So Porsche did it again. The new 911 has not only turned out faster but also better – and so overtakes its predecessor even though it seemed impossible. Like the last time. And the time before that. And before that ...

Text: Horst von Saurma Photo: Rossen Gargolov 13.03.2019 4 min

Knowing that this car will also be surpassed someday is somehow – no, not sad, but somehow moving. Its successor will be faster, more powerful, more digital. It will accelerate even more swiftly and will run the race tracks of this world in even shorter lap times. We’ve seen the developments made by its predecessors, all the minor and major technical leaps. And every time – yes, it sounds absurd – it seemed that we’d reached the end of the road, that there was nowhere left to go in terms of power, performance and everything else.

And now it’s happened again. For the seventh time in the more than 55 years of 911 history. The eighth generation is – and this goes without saying – faster than the previous incarnation, more powerful, more emotional and more modern. Equipped with more driver assistance systems for added safety and comfort. The 911 of the digital age is connected using swarm intelligence, features a personal assistant by the name of Porsche 360+ and even has a web-based emissions calculator called Porsche Impact. What for, you ask? Obviously to neutralize your individual carbon footprint.

Porsche wouldn’t be Porsche if it hadn’t again succeeded in fully and completely confirming the brand message as manifest all these decades – even and especially considering the advance of digitalization. The “pulsing heart of Porsche”, as CEO Oliver Blume describes the 911, again captures this message – at a loftier level than ever before. It is less purist than Porsche itself sees it, but no matter. The increased weight? Not worth mentioning. As long as it keeps making pace in terms of longitudinal acceleration and remains the uncontested champion in that sports car specialty known as lateral acceleration, it’s easy to forgive it the few extra pounds.

Even the visible increase in size – 20 mm longer from head to tail, as well as 45 mm wider in the front and 44 mm in the rear  – will please the aesthete the more he checks out and takes in this beauty. The way the wheel wells seem to fill the side mirrors, a sight previously reserved for drivers of the turbo version, is a real treat. And the considerably wider track on both axles, together with the pronounced wasp waist and the two-centimeter lower roof line, act as a visual catalyst.

With its enormous 20-inch wheels up front and 21 inches in the rear, the Carrera S positions itself in the commanding and inspiring supercar class – keeping, of course, all the practical characteristics one would expect from a typical 911. Suffice it to mention the unbeatable interior space.

Given the enormous performance potential, the aforementioned concerns with regard to the sturdier look are completely justified. An output of 450 hp and a maximum torque of 530  Nm already at 2,300 rpm can result in some truly dramatic moments, even if it doesn’t look it. Effortlessly catapulting yourself to 100 km/h in just 3.3 seconds without any traction loss or noticeable jolts when changing gears, or engaging in ancillary musings at 300 km/h about this new lightness in a rear-engine rear-wheel drive Porsche while wondering if more of the same would be possible – that is a pretty good indication of perfect conditioning.

That starts with the increased aerodynamic downforce and ends with the repositioned, electronically controlled engine mounts. In between lies a whole row of novelties and technical innovations which may seem illogical at first glance: the spring and damping rates, for example, are considerably higher than in the predecessor – and yet the newcomer offers a smoother ride.

The newly developed PASM system with its greater spread between the softer comfort and the harder sports setting, together with the less rigid stabilizer bars, help the 911 to fare better in the subject of comfort than before while also improving its performance and handling – to such a convincing degree that further progress in this field seems almost impossible. Once again. But we’ve been wrong so often before . . .

The noticeable improvement in terms of traction, roll stability and steering behavior are due mostly to the new mixed tire set-up with the larger rear wheel diameters and the wider tracks. This gives the greatly revamped 450 hp twin-turbo the best conditions to adequately prove its potential.

The focus of the engine evolution, besides the increased performance, was on fulfilling the latest emissions standards through the use of gasoline particle filters. The increased weight can mostly be blamed on this measure, which also makes itself noticed ever so slightly in the acoustic realm.

The new twin-branch exhaust system now includes map-controlled and fully variable exhaust flaps which enables both a more powerful sound experience as well as an optimum power development. It is neither a loud roar nor an irritating hum that resounds from the sports exhaust system with its two oval outlets (and certainly not from the standard system with two double tailpipes) but a husky concerto for wind instruments with some truly captivating acoustic sequences. For example, when the flat-six bellows its ode to the turbocharged combustion engine – at up to 7,500 revolutions per minute – or when it rumbles its way out of idle to reveal a disarming, smoothly presented power potential.

And once again we arrive at the conviction: it simply can’t get any better. Or can it?