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

cat
Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler provides support through animal interaction

‘I also come from a family of doers - if something that is needed isn’t there, you just figure it out’

SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, which causes COVID-19, emerge from the surface of cells isolated from a patient in the U.S. and cultured in a lab in a 2020 electron microscope image. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-HO, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories
Alberta now has 17,743 active cases of COVID-19

Province now has 17,743 active cases

town
Town of Castor meeting highlights from the Nov. 23rd meeting

Castor’s town council has approved an interim budget going into 2021

county
The County of Paintearth Council has approved the 2021 operational and capital budgets

Capital spending approved for 2021 amounts to just over $3.8 million

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

File Photo
Sylvan Lake Town Council squashes mask bylaw

The bylaw did not make it past first reading, after a 4-3 vote defeated the motion

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

Gaming content was big on YouTube in 2020. (Black Press Media files)
What did Canadians watch on Youtube during isolation? Workouts, bird feeders

Whether it was getting fit or ‘speaking moistly,’ Canadians had time to spare this year

A teacher places the finishing touches on the welcome sign at Hunter’s Glen Junior Public School which is part of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Sept. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Hindsight 2020: How do you preserve a year many Canadians would rather forget?

Figuring out how to preserve the story of the pandemic poses a series of challenges

Team Manitoba celebrate after defeating Team Ontario to win the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw, Sask., Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. Curling Canada wants Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park to be a curling hub for the season’s top events. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calgary facility set to become curling hub during pandemic

Curling Canada has provisional approval for Calgary’s hub-city concept from Alberta Health

Most Read