Throwback to the time we first learned about the Buddh International Circuit in Noida. When we read articles about how the Indian Grand Prix would be the arrival of our nation on the world stage. About how one Sebastian Vettel smiled on the podium and how the teary-eyed petrolheads of India watched history being written. The track seemed like holy ground, which I would soon be zipping over, on a sports car of my dreams – the Porsche 911.
When you first look at the 2020 Porsche 911, you could be awestruck or relieved, depending on how unfamiliar or how loyal you have been to 911s. That’s because it hasn’t changed dramatically. I remember the 911 scale version that I’d twiddle with, between my little fingers as a child. That familiar nose, the slopes I’d learn to trace, and the lights (I loved them. Still do). That’s the part that made me heave a sigh of satisfaction when I walked along the length of this legend. With the ample grandeur of the Buddh Circuit as the backdrop, it looked nothing short of a pin-up poster in real life.
The 2020 variant is marginally longer, taller and wider than its predecessor (20mm 2mm 45mm to be precise). That handsome nose worked up a knowing smile on my face as the impressive LEDs stared right back. The rear lights on this one were my favourite external feature. A seamless band of illuminated coolness, with a massive bulk of rear that made the already low-looking car seem even lower. The massive exhaust tips got me excited to learn how the 911 would sound when I step on the gas. And so, I stepped in.
The cabin was even more impressive. The 10.9-inch touchscreen display sits prominently, offering you complete control over your drive and comfort settings. There’s no heads-up display, but that’s also one less thing to distract you with all the specifics. If you love tangible controllers, then you’d appreciate the five buttons under the screen for access to most-used features. It’s got a keyless ignition and the much-spoken about 8-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung double-clutch transmission. The paddles are located behind the steering wheel. I wondered how different the Sport Chrono dash would be from the one I had before me, which sported an analog tach, which was surrounded by digital indicators. It would be unwise to expect much use of the rear seats in a 911, but the front two are simply snug enough to fit the race-car cred. You do feel close to the ground, which is even more reassuring when you know that you already have the aerodynamic outer body to keep you firmly planted, even at high speeds.
The tech specs are exceptional. I got a taste of the famed Porsche Connect as soon as I connected the app to the car. You also get Apple CarPlay to enjoy content from your iPhone, superior route planning via Navigation Plus, and remote services to control some basic functions like security, using the app. The InnodDrive with adaptive cruise control helps you predict slopes and inclines and adjusts to deliver maximum driving pleasure. Lane Keeping Assist and Night Vision Assist ensures your safety and that of other vehicles around you. The new Porsche WET-Mode picks up data from its front wheel sensors, which let you know if the roads are wet, and accordingly adapts the drivetrain to the conditions. If it’s Indian city roads you’re dealing with, then parking is bound to be your bane. The ParkAssist gives you a Surround View so that you know just how tightly you can squeeze in before giving your 911 an unforgivable scar.
It was time to finally take the 911 Carrera S for a spin around the circuit. Being fully aware of the powerful 3-litre twin-turbocharged petrol engine with 530 Nm of torque at my disposal, I muttered a little prayer to the track-Gods before the laps. The 8-speed dual-clutch system showcased the power of automatic, while the engine propelled me to a breakneck speed before I could fully recover from the grunt of the engine. The 2020 911 can do 0 to 100 kmph in just 3.7 seconds, giving you a fair chance to touch speeds of over 300 kmph.
Being on an F1 circuit does have its perks. You can try out the Sport and the Sport Plus Mode of a Porsche 911 and truly understand what it means. The stiffened suspension and sharper throttle response give you the confidence to roar on the road. Three sectors, sixteen turns, and three high-speed stretches later, I completed my first 5.14km-lap. The exhilaration was unmatched.
Porsche continues to emphasise how the Porsche 911 Carrera S is an everyday supercar. There's even a little more room in the boot to stash your groceries. On a serious note, this is a technological marvel. It is what happens when a strong legacy meets a powerful vision for the future. As for me, I was simply humbled to be a part of this milestone.
2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S
Engine: 2998cc, turbocharged flat-six engine
Power: 450 hp
Torque: 530 Nm
Transmission: Automatic (8-speed PDK)
0-100kmph: 3.7 seconds
Top speed: 308 kmph
Price: Rs 1.83 crore