There's an inspiring, albeit mythical, story we've all been told about the Eagle. We were told that this soaring emblem of power and dominance that majestically takes in the landscape within its wingspan, retires for a brief period of time to rip off its beak and talons so that they grow afresh. And only after this anguished makeover will the apex predator take flight again. Strangely, there's quite a bit of commonality between this mythical raptor and cars that replenish their vigour and step out in new avatars, year after year, decade after decade. And what better machine to exemplify this stubborn resolve than the Porsche 911.
Some call Porsche 911's progression linear, while others say it's subtle but significant. However, one thing everybody agrees on is that every 911 is always truly 'Porsche'. This infatuation with authenticity is there in the 2019 Porsche 911 (992 series) as well, with its sleek, sloping hood. Available in India in both convertible (Carrera S Cabriolet) and coupe (Carrera S) variants, this is one supercar you can take to work, every day.
For the trained eye, the new-gen 911 looks no different from its predecessor. Take a harder look and the subtleties become obvious: It is 20mm longer, 2mm taller and 45mm wider. This is because of the longer boot and the front arches over the wheel. It comes with 20-inch wheels in front and 21-inch ones at the back. The front has active cooling flaps that adjust for aerodynamics. The LED lamps flank either side of the visibly longer nose of the car. The rear has more evident additions to the design. The familiar looking exhaust pipes are placed slightly higher and the tail is accentuated by a light bar that runs across the body. The brake light sits higher up, over the engine (yes, it's at the rear). The rear wing goes up in two stages, depending on the driving modes.
The overall length of the car, with its hood dipping down to the front bumper, and it's wider look, makes it seem lower than it actually is. It is 50kg heavier as well, unusual for a supercar with 2019 on its name tag.
Sleek on the inside
The real deal of the eighth generation of this legendary sports car is inside. Everything here seems to be more horizontally aligned, keeping up with the accents of the exterior rear. The 10.9-inch touchscreen, from where you change your driving modes and control in-car entertainment, lords over the dash. It's the same as the one you've seen in the Panamera before. The all-new 8-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) double-clutch transmission decorates the gear panel with a minimalistic shifter. The paddles are ergonomically placed behind the 360mm steering wheel. The analogue tachometer is a welcome inclusion among the other four dials, which are digital, making the whole design rather unique. There's a Sport Chrono on the dash (available with the upgrade). The seats of the 992 Carrera S feel close to the ground and seem to grip their occupants well. The rear seats wouldn't accommodate a grown adult, because they aren't really meant to do so. You could stash away your bags in there though.
Built for speed
The 2019 911 is built to live up to your GT ambitions. The Carrera S is powered by a 3-litre turbocharged flat-six engine, which blesses you with 530 Nm of torque and 450 hp of power. The 8-speed dual-clutch automatic configuration makes sure that you make the most of the new 911. The PDK transmission makes shifting between gears a breeze, with the seventh and the eighth gears serving as overdrive while the lower ones offer a controlled driving experience.
The Carrera S does 0-100kmph in just 3.7 seconds. If you want more, upgrade to the Sport Chrono, and shave 0.2 seconds off the 0-100 time. If you find a straight stretch of clear road, the 992 can take you past the 300kmph mark as well.
Porsche's Driving modes are essential to fully appreciate the tech that makes this car a benchmark. The Sport and Sport Plus modes stiffen the suspension and sharpen the throttle response. The steering seems to completely embody the terrain it is being driven on, giving you superior control. The genius lies in the Wet mode that prepares you to take on wet surfaces by managing traction control for you. In this mode, the rear spoiler is raised to increase the downforce while the throttle response is subdued. Acoustic sensors in the front arches automatically switch the driving mode to Wet mode, when they detect moisture.
On proving grounds
I drove the 911 Carrera S (a left-hand drive, straight from Germany) at the Buddh International Circuit. The 5.14-km stretch was made more challenging with sharp twists and hard acceleration points. Stepping on the accelerator makes you feel one with the road and the machine.
This intimacy can only be described through the experience of the drive.
I must say, the brilliant engineering behind the new 911 makes you a better driver than you are. The grip, when braking, is phenomenal. I bear testimony to this during sharp turns, even after braking late on several occasions. It's like the car is one with the track.