There's a new Porsche 911 and as usual, a few things are true. It has a rear-mounted flat-six engine. It's hard to spot the differences with its predecessor. And there are a pair of vestigial backseats. These are hallmark qualities for the 911, as constant as gravity. But while the first member of the new 992 family doesn't stray from the classic formula that's been in use for decades, it continues to refine the ideas and traits that have made the Carrera a legend.
Chief among those is the output from its horizontally opposed engine. The 911 Carrera S and Carrera 4S – the first two members of the 992 generation – pack a 3.0-liter turbocharged flat-six engine with 443 horsepower, an increase of 23 ponies over the outgoing car. Porsche hasn't revealed torque output – the current 991-based Carrera S has 368 pound-feet – but who cares? The real-world performance will be impressive.
According to Porsche, the two-wheel-drive Carrera S can hit 60 in just 3.5 seconds, while the all-wheel-drive Carrera 4S will do the deed in 3.4 seconds. Add the Sport Chrono Package – you should always add the Sport Chrono Package – and 60 arrives two-tenths of a second faster. Let's reiterate: the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S can hit 60 miles per hour in just 3.2 seconds. Put another way, the C4S is six-tenths of a second faster than the current GT3 and it's only half a second behind the $293,000 911 GT2 RS. That's just silly speed.
Gallery: 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S (Live Images)
Relatively unchanged top speeds offset the 992's quicker acceleration. The two-wheel-drive model tops out at 191 mph, just a point above the PDK-equipped 991. The C4S sees a bigger improvement, going from 188 to 190 mph, compared to last year's car.
But there is a caveat. See, the new 992 comes standard with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (we'll reserve judgment on the annoyingly stubby shift lever until we drive the new 911 in January). Before you reach for the pitchforks, though, it's worth noting the new 911 will offer a manual transmission… eventually. All Porsche is saying is that a do-it-yourself shifter “will be offered at a later date.” We'd suspect that when that later date arrives, we'll be hearing about another seven-speed manual unit, like the one found in the 991.
As for the other improvements Porsche has made, we covered most of them in the ride along we published in October. The 992 gets a standard wide body, with wider tracks fore and aft. There are pop-out door handles. And the active safety systems get a big improvement, with a dedicated Wet Mode for slippery conditions.
Prices for the 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S start at $113,200, while adding all-wheel boosts that sum to $120,600. Plan on adding $1,050 to each of those prices to cover destination and handling. Orders are open, but deliveries won't start until summer of 2019 in the U.S. Until then, check out our first official images of the 2020 911, and keep an eye open for more from the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show.
Gallery: 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S
The eighth generation of an icon: Spectacular world premiere in Los Angeles
The new 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S and 4S – more powerful, more dynamic, unmistakably a 911
Faster, more emotional, and more connected – the eighth generation of the Porsche 911 is here. On the eve of the Los Angeles Auto Show, the new 911 celebrated its world premiere at the Porsche Experience Center Los Angeles. With an exterior that unmistakably reflects the Porsche design DNA, a more muscular look, and a completely new interior layout, the new 911 is both timeless and modern. The next generation of flat-six turbocharged engines has been further developed to be more powerful than ever before, delivering 443 horsepower in the S models. Using an improved injection process, as well as a new layout for the turbochargers and intercoolers, the efficiency of the engine has been further optimized. Power is delivered by a new eight-speed, dual-clutch transmission. New assistance systems such as the standard Porsche Wet Mode for increased driver awareness on wet roads, and the optional Night Vision Assist with a thermal imaging camera, are part of the broadened array of available active driver assistance features. The new Porsche Communication Management (PCM) with a larger 10.9-inch touchscreen display (up from 7.0 inches in the previous car) and comprehensive connectivity, optional Adaptive 18-way Sport Seats Plus with improved lateral support, re-tuned PASM dampers, and extended digital features all ensure greater comfort and everyday usability.
911 Carrera S models with 443 horsepower
The turbocharged flat-six engine of the 911 Carrera S and 911 Carrera 4S now produces 443 horsepower. This corresponds to an increase of 23 horsepower compared with the previous model. Equipped with the 8-speed PDK dual clutch transmission as standard, the rear-wheel-drive 911 Carrera S Coupe needs just 3.5 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour from standstill, and the 911 Carrera 4S Coupe with all-wheel drive takes only 3.4 seconds. This makes both cars 0.4 seconds faster than the previous model in each case. This advantage is increased by a further 0.2 seconds with the optional Sport Chrono Package, to 3.3 seconds for the Carrera S and 3.2 seconds for the Carrera 4S. The top track speeds are now 191 miles per hour (911 Carrera S) and 190 miles per hour for the all-wheel-drive version. A manual transmission will be offered at a later date.
Clear design language, unmistakable identity
The exterior design has been revamped and underlines the leap in performance of the new Porsche 911. Significantly wider wheel housings arch over large 20-inch front wheels and 21-inch rear wheels. At the front, the body width has increased by 45 millimeters (1.77 inches), making room for a wider front track. Correspondingly, the rear body width on both 911 Carrera S and 911 Carrera 4S has increased to 1,852 mm (72.91 in), the width of the previous 911 Carrera 4 and 911 GTS models. Flush integration of the electric door handles that extend outward when needed emphasizes the tapered and smooth side contour. Between the new LED headlights, the front luggage compartment lid with pronounced contours evokes the design of the first 911 generations. The rear is dominated by the significantly wider, variable-position rear spoiler and the seamless, elegant light bar which is now a feature on both two- and four-wheel drive variants. With the exception of the front and rear fasciae, the entire outer skin is now made of aluminum.
The completely new interior is characterized by the clear and straight lines of the dashboard with recessed instruments. Porsche 911 models from the 1970s provided the inspiration here. Left and right of the centrally positioned tachometer, which is characteristic for Porsche, two thin, frameless, free-form displays provide the driver with information. The PCM can be operated quickly and intuitively thanks to the new architecture. Located underneath the screen, a compact switch panel with five buttons provides direct access to key vehicle functions. In terms of digitalization, the 911 is more connected than ever before thanks to new functions and services. The standard PCM system features Porsche Connect Plus including online traffic information based on swarm data. (A subscription is required after an initial 12 month trial period.)
*The availability of Porsche Connect services is dependent on the availability of wireless network coverage which may not be available in all areas, and may be subject to eventual technology sunset or deactivation, thus nullifying services. The vehicle equipment necessary to use Porsche Connect is only available factory-installed, and cannot be retrofitted. Likewise, the vehicle equipment may not work with future mobile networks yet to be deployed. Some functions may require separate subscriptions, or data charges may apply.
New assistance systems increase safety and comfort
As a world first, Porsche has developed the Wet Mode, which is included as standard equipment on the new Porsche 911. This function detects water on the road, preconditions the stability control and anti-lock brake systems accordingly, and warns the driver. A camera-based warning and brake assist system, also fitted as standard, detects the risk of collision with moving objects and initiates emergency braking if necessary. Night Vision Assist with a thermal imaging camera is optionally available for the 911 for the first time. The Adaptive Cruise Control option includes automatic distance control, stop-and-go functionality, and an innovative Emergency Assist function.
The 2020 911 Carrera S has a base MSRP of $113,200, while the 2020 911 Carrera 4S will be offered starting at $120,600, each not including the $1,050 delivery, processing and handling fee. The models can be ordered now and are expected to reach U.S. dealers in Summer 2019.