After more than 50 years of keeping the same recipe of a naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine, the 2016 Porsche 911 Carrera S has broken the tradition for the first time ever as it has now received a smaller turbocharged engine. The question is, has this new turbocharged version held on to the driving experience the 911 is famed for throughout the decades? We’ve jumped in the driving seat to find out.
A smaller turbocharged engine is a direction that many manufacturers have taken of late, in the pursuit of both greater fuel economy and more power. This is certainly the case for the new 911, the 3.0-litre Carrera S we drove packs 414bhp and 369lb ft of torque thanks to two very responsive turbos, whilst returning a combined consumption of 32.5mpg in it’s manual guise. This makes for a 20bhp and a 45lb ft improvement over the previous 3.8-litre unit. The torque is accessed much lower in the rev range than before, down from 5600rpm to just 1700rpm, meaning an instant wave of acceleration as soon as you tease the accelerator.
A collection of subtle exterior changes differentiate the new Carrera S from it’s predecessor. A redesigned front bumper features active air ducts which remain closed at speeds between 10 and 106mph. There are also new internal headlight lenses and Xenon projectors for a brighter a more distinctive daytime running light. The rear spoiler for this model has been redesigned, whilst the rear bumper features cooling ducts to extract hot air. Even smaller details such as the doorhandles have been revised.
Moving inside, you are greeted by a opulent yet focused interior. All the controls are clear and where you would expect them to be. The new Carrera and Carrera S also benefit from the new Communication Management system with a 7-inch touchscreen display. It features Google Earth, WLAN connection and Apple CarPlay, as well as all of the usual media functions. The seats are very comfortable and offer plenty of bolstered support ideal for when tackling the corners. The standard steering wheel measures up at 375mm in diameter, although an optional 360mm size is available, each of which are very similar to what is found in the 918 Spyder.
Obviously the main question mark surrounding the new 911 is whether this new turbocharged version is as good as it’s naturally aspirated relatives – and the simple answer to that is: yes, and so much more. Predictably, when working through the rev range there are moments when it slightly lacks the aural harshness and distinctiveness of it’s predecessors. But what is lost in the slight absence of a more maniacal exhaust note from a naturally aspirated power plant, is more than made up for with what is a beautifully linear and intoxicating power delivery. The previous engine was also slightly more lively in the way that it gained and lost revs in a moments notice, but with the torque in this new model being available right at the bottom of the rev range, performance is much more accessible. This benefits both on and off the track, with the added torque making it easier to pull away in higher gears making for a more relaxed experience when driving around town. This is not at all to say the new 911 isn’t exciting, far from it. The rapid response from the engine almost renders turbo lag a myth and the manor in which it fires you towards the horizon is nothing short of inspiring.
The extra power and torque is a formula for breathtaking levels of acceleration. 0-62mph is over in 4.3 seconds with the 7-speed manual transmission or 3.9 seconds if you opt for the PDK seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The manual car will then peak at a top speed of 191mph, with the automatic version’s top speed falling slightly short at 190mph. The 7-speed manual transmission is beautifully focused and well weighted. Short throws and a nice mechanical feel aid in assertive and fast gear changes.
When challenged with a more technical stretch of road, the 2016 Porsche 911 Carrera S tackles corners with precision and poise. The steering is brilliantly weighted and laser point precise. Any body movement is gradual and the feedback to the driver through the wheel and pedals really gives you the confidence to test the parameters of its capability. Driver confidence is furthered through the application of the immense brakes, which deliver excellent pedal feel and feedback.
These improvements absolutely become evident when tackling the twisty stuff. Porsche claim a lap time of 7 min 30 seconds around the Nürburgring, a ten second improvement over the prior model.
The 2016 Porsche 911 Carrera S has once again set the benchmark of what sports cars should be like to drive. The new car starts from £85,857. And whilst purists may resent the fact the 911 is now turbocharged, it is all the name of progress, and that is exactly what this new 911 is.