To listen to the Porsche people on Day 1 of the Deep Dive, you’d swear they were worried about the near future for fear that Zuffenhausen, Stuttgart, was on the brink of becoming a Ghost Town with a big fancy Museum at its heart.
This gives you an inkling of their current mindset when it comes to cars, quality, production and finally, the new 992 generation 911.
The word “new” was heavily used throughout every workshop in this deep dive, and with reason. Other than the fact that the car still looks like a 911, that the wheelbase is unchanged and that the engine is still a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre flat-6 cylinder, albeit revised, everything else about the car is “new.”
Will always be a 911
It’s difficult to fathom how much of the 992 is different from the outgoing 991.2 especially when the new 911’s shape so time-honoured – a 10 year-old child will never mistake it for anything else. Nor will a 42-year-old child…
If you take a closer look at the car, you may or may not notice certain physical changes. You might miss the fact the headlights are now fully integrated into the fenders and no longer touch the front bumper. The optional LED matrix headlights, each composed of 84 individual self-calibrating LEDs feature a four-point lighting graphic that has become part of the brand’s identity. While up front, the lower grille features active shutters that open or close depending on speed and driving conditions.
The much-talked about clamshell-style active rear spoiler features a number of position for all-out speed, extra stability, and can also function as an air-brake. It is standard on the Carrera S and 4S and is a key player, far more than the older deploying spoilers, in the 911’s overall performance and driveability. As part of the extensively improved aerodynamics on the car, Porsche’s fitted nearly flush-fitting electric pop-out door handles.
Roomier more comfortable interior
The 2020 911’s overall length has grown only 20mm but by the airiness of the cabin and by the nearly-comfortable-looking +2 seats in the second row, a 911’s never been more accommodating, and less claustrophobic.
The dashboard’s horizontal and cut-into build also plays a part in the openness up front. Visual obstructions are nearly nil as the new instrument panel is no longer isolated from the dashboard – the gauge and 7-inch screens flow into the new 10.9-inch PCM screen in a way that is very reminiscent of the first 911 cars.
From a connected technology perspective, Porsche left out only Android Auto and threw everything else in. Your smartphone can otherwise be fully integrated into the car’s systems. For example, you can set your navigation app on your phone, get in the car, the directions will be transferred, and once parked, will return to your phone for the final few walking meters.
Designed and engineered for speed
We’ve touched on the dimensions but the important ones stipulate that the front track is 45mm wider and the rear is 44mm wider. This was done to accommodate larger wheels, tires and brakes. The reasoning behind the bigger components is nearly self-explanatory.
The standard cast iron front discs are thicker while the rear ones and the optional PCCB ceramic brakes are unchanged. The big news is the implementation of a new electronic brake booster. According to Porsche, it provides improved brake pedal feel, requires lower input force, which can be adjusted based on requirements.
Through a series of hot laps, I did ask the driver how he liked the pedal response – he hesitated for a moment before saying it was good. This tells me that for city driving situations and for drivers with limited track experience, it will be fine. For those with a deeper appreciation for brake-feel, it may not please as much. When we get to drive it, we’ll let you know what’s really up.
Handling the power
Chassis- and platform wise, it’s completely new. The new MMB is stronger, lighter and serves as the building block on which is set up a new suspension. The stiffer spring rates, by 15% for the base suspensions and closer to 20 for the sport chassis, are coupled to continuously adapting dampers developed by Bilstein.
I mentioned the boosted 3.0-litre earlier. Its list of revisions is huge so here are some highlights: It gets new larger (3mm larger turbine, and 4mm compression wheel) symmetrical turbos. What this means is that unlike the previous 3.0-litre that used two identical chargers but one mounted upside down which compromised one’s ability to properly suck and blow, they are now mirror twins and 100% efficient. The intercoolers have 14% more cooling surface and are now positioned at the top-middle of the engine instead of one on each side. As well, the engines use piezo injectors (and an optimized fuel system), has a higher compression ratio, benefits from reduced friction and improved engine cooling.
The result is 443-horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 390 lb.-ft. of torque between 2,300 and 5,000 rpm. This is only a glimpse of the powertrain story.
The new 8-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission becomes a core element of the present and future 911s. It is designed for maximum efficiency in all respects (speed, acceleration and fuel economy) and is ready for hybridization. It is capable of handling up to 800 Nm of torque but, in Porsche’s words, it is less sporty than the old 7-speed PDK. The quicker shifts are imperceptible, eliminating shift shock but let’s not kid ourselves, the cars is seriously fast.
The transmission is now a full shift-by-wire setup which explains in part the less-than-macho toggle-switch-shifter. Despite the dainty shifter, the new Porsche 911 Carrera S has a top speed of 308 km/h and will launch to 100 km/h in only 3.5 seconds. And yes, a 7-speed manual transmission will make a comeback.
The various drive modes, sensors, cameras and radars now feed more information to the car’s multiple brains than ever. There are now 13% more control devices – 80 ECUs in all, that are connected via 2,000 meters of wiring. These numerous systems enable, for example, the unique-to-Porsche Wet Mode which pre-calibrates transmission, throttle, stability management (PSM) and more when water is detected on the road. The revised front axle drive is now able to handle more torque thanks to improved cooling, and in wet mode, is primed for more traction.
Efficient Sports Car
For only the second time in some 8 years, the 911 has shed some weight. In fact, it is 5% lighter than the 991 which was 11% lighter than 997, which was 10% heavier than 996. The extensive use of aluminium (32%), more high tensile steel, magnesium, CFPR options have contributed to the lowering the power/weight ratio down to 3.4kg/hp.
The new PDK, lighter body and revised engine has enabled the car to reduce emissions and consume as little as 9L/100km in a combined cycle, or equal to that of a 2.0-litre turbo Honda Accord. For a car capable of this kind of performance, the numbers are remarkable. In time, they’ll drop further with the coming of the promised first ever hybrid 911.
The new 992 2020 Porsche 911 is all-new. And believe me-you that this is but a sample of all the information we were fed over two days.