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2020 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

Need for speed.

Despite its enduring nature, the 911 has always felt a little overshadowed by all the newer and cooler sports cars. So many of them, like the Mercedes-AMG GT Coupe, the Nissan GT-R, Audi R8, or even some McLaren 540C or 570S models have been labelled 911 Killers, yet the 911 lives on and is in top form.

While driving the new Carrera 4S, there are moments of the mundane blended effortlessly with the exhilarating. That blend helps the 911 maintain its position as one of the top sports cars on the market.

 

Interior

One of the most troubling aspects of the 911 is the interior. In black, the control panel blends with the piano-black trim and other accents. If one opts for another interior package, like the Club Leather in Truffle Brown or the Paldao Dark Wood Interior Trim, they will see just how attractive the interior can be.

The controls feel definitive and robust, while the displays are bright and easy to read (save for the outermost pods in the gauge cluster, which can be obscured by the GT Sports steering wheel.)

The available 18-way adjustable seats ensure proper posture and support, and there are plenty of other comfort features like vented seats, helping Porsche sway not just performance fans but those on the hunt for a comfy cruiser.

 

Design

Be it aerodynamics, engine size and placement, pedestrian safety standards, or subconscious influences in automotive design, many sports cars have pretty typical proportions with a long nose and short deck. The 911 stands out by not conforming to those standards. It set its own standard back in 1964, when the first 911 debuted with its rear-engine layout. From there, the profile has stayed mostly the same, which is probably why many can gloss over the styling impact of the car.

It’s worth pointing out that its understated style is still aesthetically pleasing, and other details of the car, like the large 20-inch wheels (21 inches for the rear wheels), coloured brake calipers, LED lighting, and electric door handles placed closer to the car to improve airflow and maintain a fluid look.

With the test model, I was impressed by the subtlety in style. Like a lemon twist or slice of cucumber in a glass of water, the paint finish, Aventurine Green Metallic, has a mild tinge of green mixed with grey to make the car feel like it’s fitting in while having some flair.

 

Performance

Every year sports cars get incrementally faster, shaving milliseconds from their sprint and shift times and adding more Gs to their cornering abilities. This model can sprint to 100 km/h in a little over three seconds. On paper, that sounds amazing, but the turbocharged flat-six engine is so smooth that you can overlook the sheer distance you’ve travelled in such a short time. The soundtrack isn’t as hair raising as the V8 growl of rival Mercedes-AMGs, even though this test model had the optional exhaust package.

Handling is improved by rear-wheel steering, which improves manoeuvrability at low speeds and stability at high speeds. The steering is nice and heavy so every input feels decisive, and thanks to the active suspension management, the vehicle is very responsive. The variability lets the 911 be engaging when called for and completely normal otherwise: a dial on the steering wheel allows the driver to switch between different drive modes, and a button in the middle of the dial sends the car into its most aggressive setting for a short period. There’s also a wet weather mode for those nervous about driving a sports car in the rain.

 

Options

Porsche typically provides a solid base but asks the customer to pay extra for features and customizations that make the car feel truly special. The upgraded paint finish, interior trim, seat adjustability, high-tech driver’s assistance features, and branded stereo system are nothing too flashy but make the vehicle feel high-class and exclusive.

Though the 911 faces steep competition, it always sets the benchmark in its segment. There are so many different variations of 911 to choose from. Coupes, cabrios, and targa models are offered in base and S guise, with all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive, not to mention the special GTS trims as well. There are even the ultrafast Turbo and Turbo S models, or the track-oriented GT3 RS models. So if you want more speed and drama with your sports car, Porsche will even offer you that for an extra price.

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