The moment I walked up to the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, my first time driving one, I was struck by the smaller design and dimensions. I am 6-feet, 220 pounds, and was gearing up for a three-hour drive to Lake Huron. What went through my mind was how comfortable the ride would be, for someone my size.
My brother is 6-foot-5, around 270 pounds, waiting for us at the cottage up north. He couldn’t wait for a spin in the sleek beauty. On first look I wasn’t sure how I would accommodate that.
Then I climbed in, and another world opened up.
Bold and muscular exterior
Our 221-kilometre drive west to Lake Huron took us up the 400 network of highways. Then onto winding country roads, like Highway 109, and Highway 9, past corn fields, farm land, rows of electricity-generating wind turbines, vibrant fields of yellow sunflowers. In other words, plenty of summer drive variety to really open up an elite sports car and get an education on everything it had to offer.
The Porsche 911 is in its eight generation. So a lot of the important elements of the 2020 version connect to its storied past. It’s remains a true, classic, rear-engined sports car for hardcore driving enthusiasts. Porsche though has worked in some bells and whistles, inside particularly, to bring the 911 more into the digital age.
The car is powered by a new flat-six turbocharged engine. That’s more muscular than ever before – 443 horsepower, an increase of 23 hp compared to the previous generations. Porsche’s German engineers improved the injection process and designed a new layout for the turbochargers. Acceleration to 100 km/h is henceforth much improved. The all-wheel-drive Porsche 911 Carrera 4S sits at 3.6 seconds.
We were also fortunate to have a car equipped with the optional Sport Chrono Package ($6,230), pushing up the acceleration to 100 km/h another 0.2 seconds. Top speed for the AWD version is 306 km/h. A newly developed eight-speed dual-clutch transmission delivers the power to the driver.
Faster gear shifts mean a more intense sports car driving experience. A more powerful front wheel drive also lends itself to heightened driving dynamics. As was expected, driving those zig-zagging, freshly paved country back roads, the Porsche’s elite precision and performance were real statement-makers.
The Sport Chrono Package only enhances the car’s performance. This option is for driver’s looking for more of a hardcore sports car driving experience, in safe conditions. The package includes the new mode switch with Sport Response button and PSM Sport Mode. The Sport Response button allows the driver to set engine and transmission responsiveness to maximum performance for 20 seconds. PSM Sport Mode adjusts the stability system to a more sporty mode. It’s exhilarating, to say the least.
What about that design, especially the interior, that we spoke about? It has been completely re-designed. I had no issue with leg room, sitting that low to the road surface. As someone at Porsche said to us, German engineers tend to be tall individuals, so driver and passenger height is always at the forefront. The new, adaptive sports seats (18-way, electric) go a long way there as well. The seats have been re-vamped. They are lighter in weight construction, meaning the vehicle is three kilograms lighter as well.
New 10.9-inch HD PCM touchscreen
Two, high-definition, 7-inch displays and a central analogue rev counter form the instrument cluster ahead of you. A new 10.9 inch full HD touchscreen display is the hallmark of the Porsche Communication Management system. Underneath that are five buttons for direct access to important vehicle functions, which can be operated intuitively.
Again, the modern age – multi-function control elements blend seamlessly into the classic, 360-millimetre diameter leather steering wheel. And the ignition key is a thing of the past. Keyless Go and a switch to start the engine is the way forward for Porsche.
The Porsche 911 Carrera 4S has a wider body than past models, including an adaptive rear spoiler with a wider cross-sectional area. Particularly eye-catching off the back is the full-length LED technology light strip.
But what about critiques? It’s tough to find much with an automobile with this history and reputation, but storage space is one. You might be surprised at the room in the luggage department at the front. You won’t be fitting in pieces of aluminum Rimowa pieces for a long drive to California, but there is space to get creative with your packing.
The back is tight, as you can well imagine. But at least Porsche has made the backrest 20 millimetres higher, with a wider seat cushion.
Total retail price for the 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S we drove was $187,800.
THE TOP IMAGE WAS TAKEN IN LUCKNOW, ONTARIO.