First Drive: Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe

Reviews

What’s new?

For the first time since the 911 was a glint in Ferdinand Porsche's eye, the Carrera is turbocharged. This bastion among sports cars, possibly one of the most recognisable silhouettes ever penned, is seeing a shift in principles bigger even than the switch away from air cooling in the 1990s.

The basic shape and many of the parts carry over from the 991 variant, but this 991.2 Carrera has a clever new type of manual clutch, new fuel-saving measures in the PDK automatic, options like rear-wheel steering that have filtered down from the GT3 and Turbo, and much more besides.

The massive increase in poke from the new 3.0-litre turbocharged engine means the Carrera S Coupé, with the PDK and the familiar Sport Chrono pack (both options), becomes the first Carrera to be capable of 0-62mph in under four seconds. Blimey.

Looks and image

Nothing much has changed here, not that we couldn't see that (not) coming, but the exhaust layout is different and the lines around the edges of the car have been subtly shifted for aerodynamics' sake.

Space and practicality

There's no improvement to the surprisingly useful boot beneath the bonnet, but it didn't really need any. The rear seat backs are still vertical, making them about as comfy as a Victorian school chair, but if your children complain you can hush them with torque – a chunky 332lb/ft of it in the basic Carrera alone, all the way from 1,700rpm to 5,000.

Behind the wheel

It might not have the same crisp edge to both the noise and the throttle response as before, but it's amazing how close the new engine comes. It sounds stupendous through tunnels and to passersby outside the car, but impressive soundproofing means the cabin is quieter than you'd think. If you only tick one option box, make it the fruity Sports Exhaust.

The new infotainment system is generally easy to get to grips with if you've ever used a smartphone. Snug, electrically-adjustable seats hold you in place without being intrusive and the driving position is pretty good, albeit with quite offset pedals in the manual.

It's very fast in any spec, pulling well from 2,500rpm and screaming right around to 7,500rpm, although shifting a thousand revs before then brings even more speed. Instant shifts from the convenient PDK can't replace the involvement of the manual and its rev-matching function, but the former will sell in double the numbers.

Chassis balance is excellent. You feel the engine's weight at the back only on full-throttle corner exits, pushing the fat rear tyres into the ground. It's a really sweet thing to drive and loses nothing crucial against the prior model. It's easier to stroke along in higher gears, too.

The steering is on the light side for when you really start hammering along a winding road. Fast and very accurate, yes, but a bit more weight would better reflect the mighty physics going on all around you.

Value for money

If there's a snag it's that the 991.2 Carrera is a bit pricey. You'll need to smash a few piggy banks before you reach the £76,400 starting wedge, and you'll need to budget upwards of £5,000 for options even if you're trying not to. Take a deep breath before starting that conversation with a sales rep.

Who would buy one?

The 911 is so capable and so well known in the 'right circles' that it makes an undeniably superb car to park outside the golf club, at the Members' Club or to pick the kids up from their expensive school. Past models are common enough to be genuine objects of desire for all sorts of people; often tantalisingly just out of reach but close enough to dream of. That makes a brand new one extra special for those that can afford it. It's a perfect sports car recipe.

This car summed up in a single word: Unimpeachable

If this car was a…: house it would have five bedrooms, a double garage, stables and a few acres of land.

FACTS AT A GLANCE

Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe, from £76,412

Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol producing 365bhp and 332lb/ft

Transmission: Seven-speed manual driving the front wheels

Performance: Top speed 183mph, 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds

Economy: 38.2mpg combined

Emissions: 169g/km

Porsche

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