The Porsche 911’s confidence-inspiring nature is what makes the car great.

The Porsche 911’s confidence-inspiring nature is what makes the car great.

2020 Porsche 911 4S

A seriously quick rear-engine marvel

If you could design the ultimate no-holds-barred sports car, it would likely include an exotic turbocharged engine positioned directly behind the cockpit, and an equally exotic-looking carbon-fibre body sprinkled with all kinds of flaps and wings.

In the real world, however, the comparatively humble Porsche 911 delivers the performance goods in a most understated way. Although it traces its rear-engine DNA back to Volkswagen Beetle originally created in the mid-1930s, the 911 nameplate celebrates its 55th anniversary in North America this year.

The latest 911 — code named 992 — covers a wide assortment of coupe and cabriolet (convertible) models.

Unless you’re an expert on the marque, it’s difficult to pinpoint the changes from one generation to the next. And that’s the case with the 2020 911, although upon closer inspection the hood’s leading edge has been squared-off and the air vents and oval headlights have been enlarged.

For the Carrera 4S, the “4” refers to all-wheel-drive and the “S” is a performance step up in power from the base 911: 443 horses versus 379.

For the Carrera 4S, the “4” refers to all-wheel-drive and the “S” is a performance step up in power from the base 911: 443 horses versus 379.

The rear fenders are noticeably wider, the engine vent has been reshaped and the taillight is now a thin ribbon that extends the entire width of the engine cover (as does the blacked-out exhaust panel below the bumper). The changes add a touch of elegance to the 911’s iconic shape.

In equal measure, the interior is a treat for the senses and remains accessible and comfortable for taller folks. Once aboard, the first thing you’ll notice, other than the contoured seats, is the elegantly styled dashboard and a floor console that now comes with a built-in cupholder. That’s a first for the 911, by the way.

There’s still some semblance of a rear seat in the 911, although anyone who has had the misfortune of occupying it can attest to its laughable legroom. Consider the 911 a two-seater. Fortunately, the seatback can be folded to create a handy parcel shelf.

The standard transmission is an eight-speed paddle-shift automatic. A seven-speed manual can be had for no additional discount. With the auto and launch control, Porsche claims a zero-to-100 km/h time of 3.4 seconds. Note the first-ever console cupholder for a 911. Photo: PORSCHE

The standard transmission is an eight-speed paddle-shift automatic. A seven-speed manual can be had for no additional discount. With the auto and launch control, Porsche claims a zero-to-100 km/h time of 3.4 seconds. Note the first-ever console cupholder for a 911. Photo: PORSCHE

Additional interior changes include the adoption of digital (instead of analog) gauges, and a 10.9-inch touch-screen that blends neatly into the dash instead of being awkwardly propped up on top.

For the all-wheel-drive Carrera 4S test car, inserting the key fob into the left side of the dash — it’s a Porsche thing — fires up a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine that puts out 443 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of peak torque. That’s 64 more horses than the base rear-wheel-drive 911 Carrera (and 59 more pound-feet), but a couple hundred less than the top 911 model.

A seven-speed manual transmission is available, however the 4S test car came with a paddle-shift eight-speed automatic. It’s a no-extra-cost perk, or you can look at the manual as a no-extra-discount option.

Zero-to-100 km/h happens in a Porsche-recorded 3.6 seconds, or 3.4 seconds using the launch control. In each case, the 4S’s AWD system transfers up to 40 per cent of the engine torque to the front wheels for added traction. This also helps out in winter driving conditions, if you feel so inclined.

Fuel economy with the automatic transmission is rated at 13.1 l/100 km in the city, 10.2 on the highway and 11.8 combined.

Piloting the 911 feels almost surreal. After a few minutes driving rapidly and cornering and stopping quickly, it feels completely natural. Instead of driving the car, you feel as though you’re wearing it. Like a tracksuit.

The 911’s confidence-inspiring nature is what makes the car great. It comes at a starting price of $141,000, including destination fees. The base two-wheel-drive 911 with 379 horsepower runs about $114,500.

From that point, the cost can get seriously out of hand if you select just a few of the available options. For example, the sure-stopping carbon-ceramic brakes add $9,000, the sport seats and carbon-fibre roof panel go for $4,000 each, and the incredible Burmester audio system adds $5,500. That’s just a smattering of a temping list.

For those who can afford it, the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S won’t disappoint and will definitely open your mind as what constitutes an exotic sports car.

What you should know: 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

Type: Rear-engine, all-wheel-drive sport coupe

Engine (h.p.): 3.0-litre DOHC horizontally opposed six-cylinder (443)

Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch automatic; seven-speed manual (opt.)

Market position: One of the most storied premium sports-car brands continues to refine and expand its model selection while maintaining the overall shape that has been a Porsche 911 hallmark for several decades.

Points: Subtle redesign manages to make a bolder statement. • Interior makeover is significantly more up to date. • Exceptional thrust from the turbo H-6 engine. • Limited assortment of active-safety tech. • Speedometer is almost impossible to view behind the steering wheel. • Expensive, especially after adding only a few options.

Driver assist: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (opt.); active cruise control (opt.); front and rear emergency braking (std.); inattentive-driver alert (n.a.); lane-departure warning (opt.); pedestrian detection (n.a.)

L/100 km (city/hwy) 13.1/10.2; Base price (incl. destination) $141,000

BY COMPARISON

Acura NSX

  • Base price: $192,900
  • Mid-engine AWD hybrid puts out 573 h.p. and 476 pound-feet of torque.

Nissan GT-R

  • Base price: $132,000
  • Front-engine AWD coupe’s twin-turbo V-6 delivers up to 600 horsepower.

Jaguar F-Type R coupe

  • Base price: $121,700
  • Updated 2021 model with a 575-h.p. supercharged V-8 makes a desirable choice.

-written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, be sure to visit TodaysDrive.com to find your dream car today! Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram

AutomotiveSports Cars

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Phyllis Stenson, a mainstay of the local arts scene and the Harrison Festival of the Arts, passed away earlier this month. Stenson was crucial in setting up the foundation for relationships, funding and more that continue even now to echo well past her retirement in 2013. (Contributed Photo/Harrison Festival Society)
Harrison Festival, Fraser Valley arts icon Phyllis Stenson mourned

Stenson passed away in late November, leaving lasting legacy of passion for the arts behind

Construction is expected to start in March of 2021 on 23 new rental homes funded by the provincial government’s Community Housing Fund. (Metro Creative photo)
Province announces rental home project in Chilliwack paid for by Community Housing Fund

Twenty three homes for Indigenous families are planned in partnership with Tzeachten First Nation

Canadian Red Cross staff engaged in a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and social distancing training exercise. (Luc Alary / Canadian Red Cross)
Red Cross canvassers following PHO guidelines while going door-to-door

Canvassers using safety protocols including masks and distancing to continue organization’s efforts

Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl, pictured here in 2017, has harsh words about the federal government’s Fall Economic Statement. (Black Press file)
Chilliwack MP Mark Strahl says Liberal government is leaving millions of Canadians behind

Strahl delivered a blistering critique of the federal government’s Fall Economic Statement

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Photo by Dale Klippenstein
Suspect tries to thwart police in Abbotsford with false 911 call about men with guns

Man twice sped away from officers and then tried to throw them off his trail

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

Most Read