For almost six decades, Porsche's 911 has been making heads turn and pulses race. Even with the passing of the years, the car still remains one of the most iconic sports cars ever made.
Yes, it’s been changed, upgraded and modified, and yet, despite all the tweaking, the 911 remains true to itself and what it represents: a rear-engine sports car that’s a blast to drive.
Unlike other performance car manufacturers, Porsche hasn’t made massive design changes and it hasn't modified the car to such a point that it’s unrecognizable from past generations. However, there are few major changes that deserve to be highlighted in the 2020 incarnation of this beautiful, fast and sleek sports car.
- THE FINAL DRIVE
Looking at the 911’s front, it's really hard to see any changes. Basically, the new 911 stays committed to the Porsche design DNA.
The most noteworthy updates are to be found at the back of the car where the taillights adopt a single LED bar spanning the width of the rear. And while it’s not that noticeable, the car has wider wheel housings over the 20-inch front wheels and 21-inch rear wheels.
The rear end is the same width across all models. The engine's air inlets are now better integrated into the car’s side panels.
Another feature worth noting is the pop-out door handles. On our previous review of the Jaguar I-Pace, it too was fitted with similar handles that pop out when you reach for the door.
Drivers will find them either stylish or silly depending on their point of view. Still, it does give the car a sleek look when they are retracted into the body.
While the outside of the car has not seen drastic changes, the inside too, hasn’t had anything too dramatic done to it either. The simple, clean and elegant interior of the 911 never had a lot of space and that hasn’t changed.
There is almost no legroom in the back seats and it makes you wonder why they’re even there in the first place. And since the engine is located in the back of the car, that only leaves a very small amount of space in the front trunk.
Even so, there is enough room in the cabin that the passenger won’t feel packed into a tight space. Old geezer warning: Getting in and out of the 911 takes a bit of doing, as it is very low to the ground.
- THE FINAL DRIVE
Until this latest version, the older 911 was not as technologically advanced as its other counterparts in the German automaker’s showroom. That has now been addressed and the new 2020 model comes equipped with Porsche's PCM infotainment system, which is intuitive and easy to use.
Towards the middle of the dash the 10.9-inch touch screen is easy to read and isn’t overpowering to the eye. While many rely on their smartphones for navigation, the Porsche system is a delight to use and just might make you stow the phone. It offers much more information than smartphones do and is simple to operate.
Like a lot of luxury cars, Porsche has also integrated a voice command feature into the cockpit that allows the driver to change radio stations, make navigation adjustments and switch features on or off all with verbal commands. A nice feature, but it does take some getting used to.
In addition to the mid info panel, in front of the steering wheel there are two smaller screens on either side of the large centrally located speedometer/tachometer. These screens allow the driver to customize information by scrolling a thumbwheel on the steering wheel. You can bring up maps, engine parameters and even music information.
All this means that drivers don’t have to become distracted looking at the main panel. One thing we didn’t like was the new toy-like drive selector switch. Porsche has now opted for a popsicle-type of stick that you either push or pull to electronically activated drive, neutral and reverse gears. It just doesn’t feel right.
However, the steering in this car is fantastic. You feel the road, but it doesn’t overpower you.
Steering is tight, responsive and doesn’t suffer from under or over steer. In fact, the grip and torques of this car are incredible — you’d swear that the wheels are made from Velcro, as there is no road slip whatsoever.
Like many modern cars, Porsche has installed paddle shifters on the steering wheel that let you manually cycle through the gears electronically. We found the new paddles a bit on the small side, but having said that, many drivers usually ignore them anyway and let the car’s computer controlled automatic transmission handle shifting.
- THE FINAL DRIVE
Like many sports cars, the new 911 can switch driving modes from normal to sport with the push of a button. You can also tune the exhaust sound with the flick of a switch, which allows the car’s pipes to growl a bit more, which is always impressive.
The next-generation 3.0-liter flat-six twin-turbocharged engine in the new 911 has been further developed and is more powerful than before, with 450hp in the 911 Carrera S and 4S models, a 30hp increase from the previous models. The 911 Carrera 4S makes the zero to 100kmh sprint in 3.4 seconds (with Sport Chrono Package) and has a top speed of 306kmh. Power is delivered by the newly developed eight-speed dual-clutch Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) transmission.
As for the ride, this car is a bit stiff. You do feel the road and bumps. In the end, that actually adds to the driving excitement.
- THE FINAL DRIVE
The Final Drive
For this latest generation of the 911, Porsche has added some clever safety features. Porsche has developed the “wet mode,” available as standard in the new 911. This function detects water on the road, preconditions the control systems accordingly and warns the driver.
The warning and brake assist system is also fitted as standard and detects the risk of collisions and will initiate emergency braking, if necessary. This seems to be foreshadowing the development and introduction of more self-driving features that are starting to make their way into the car market.
In addition, electric folding mirrors, reverse camera and Porsche Entry & Drive, come standard for Singapore cars. The optional adaptive cruise control includes automatic distance control, stop-and-go function, reversible occupant protection and innovative autonomous Emergency Assist function.
The 911 Carrera S base price is not for the faint-hearted and comes in at S$546,588. The car we tested was the 911 Carrera 4S, which starts at S$584,088. Our test model had nearly $200,000 of optional features thrown in.
Is this sports car for everyone? No, of course not. But if you have the cash and want a fun and exhilarating ride, the Porsche 911 is your ticket. With all its tweaks and upgrades, the latest 911 has been turned into an even more persuasive and fun driving machine.