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Porsche 911 Carrera PDK 3.0 (A) Review: No Such Thing As Base

Is the base model all you really need?
Joel Foo
Joel Foo
24 Apr 2023
“Carrera, Turbo S or GT3 – whatever variant it may be, it is still a 911”.
What we like:
That intoxicating flat-six howl
Heaps of torque from low down in the rev range
Genuinely comfortable enough for the daily drive
Exciting handling, no matter the situation
Its a Porsche 911!
What we dislike:
Its price, especially after the new ARF tax structure

Let’s be real – it is hardly inconceivable that any Porsche fan’s Instagram ‘Explore’ page will be littered with the same few variants of the 992 generation 911. The GT and Turbo models have definitely stolen the limelight for the latest generation 911. It seems that almost every YouTuber and influencer has at least owned, driven or featured one on their respective channels.

Where does this leave the rest of the range? Well, if you walked into the Porsche showroom (or Porsche NOW pop-up store at Guoco Tower for that matter) and asked for a 911, yes “just” a 911, this is what you’d get. The Porsche 911 Carrera.

Just like the outgoing 991.2 generation and the Carrera 4S model we tested before, the Carrera is bestowed with Porsche’s 3.0 litre twin-turbocharged flat-6 powertrain. In the base Carrera, it is good for 380 bhp, which means it performs the century sprint in a cool 4-and-a-bit seconds – on paper at least!

I still remember the many gasps and looks of shock on the faces of most Porsche purists when the 991.2 generation 911 Carrera models were first introduced with a turbo-charged block.

Rather than sulk at the fact that Porsche, just like most other manufacturers, have had no choice but to comply with tightening emission standards, let’s not forget that Weissach (in its infancy) was a pioneer in leveraging turbo-charging technology. The domination of its turbo-charged Le Mans and European GT-class race cars in the 70s and early 80s should be more than an indication that Porsche is no stranger to forced-induction.

As opposed to perceiving this as a change that all of us 911-fans are forced (pun intended) to accept, after keeping an open mind and sampling this twin-turbo flat-6 for the first time, I have become a total convert.

You could even consider me an evangelist. What its numbers don’t speak of is how this 911 feels on the road. With 450 Nm of torque on tap from about 2000 rpm, the base model feels sprightly from the get-go.

It is plenty fast for any given road on our island. Furthermore, it definitely feels like there has been a massive understatement of figures stated on its spec sheet.

That’s not to say that the naturally aspirated engines of 911 generations of past are slow, but some say that these blocks performed best when only when worked across the entire rev range. For the 992 generation Carrera, you need only dab its throttle, and it’ll dart to whichever corner you may point it at.

Also, if you listened closely enough, you might even hear the faint turbo whine from its power plant as it moves up and down the rev range. Which I guess, isn’t a bad thing as it evokes 911 Turbo-esque sensations.

Elsewhere, the 911 Carrera provides all the handling characteristics that makes it such a great sports car. Although it may have grown in size compared to the 991 generation, the tightness in its handling ensures that it never feels any larger than its outward dimensions. Also, having that (in)famous rear-bias set-up certainly helps in putting down the power as you propel out of each corner.

It would have been nice for this Carrera to have a manual option, especially being the base model. But being the “no-frills” spec-and-go model of the range, I guess it makes sense from Porsche’s perspective to simplify this end of the line up.

Besides, for those seeking greater driver focus, there is the Carrera T, which is available with a 7-speed manual transmission, and offers Carrera S bits in a slimmed down, lightened package.

On the inside, all of it is 992 standard fare – you get Porsche’s minimalist and modern-looking dashboard layout. Despite being bang up to date with Porsche’s slick infotainment system and digital read-outs, it retains all the characteristics that many are familiar with from previous generations of 911s.

As you step into its cabin, you are greeted with a set of sports seats trimmed in what Porsche calls “Race-tex” upholstery, and that all important Sport Chrono dial that sits on top of its dashboard – a must have according to Porsche aficionados for the future preservation of value of your 911.

All-round visibility is pretty decent for a low slung 2-door sports car, and it is genuinely a pleasant place to spend time in.

Despite being equipped with a staggered 20/21-inch wheel set up (the other optional extra we spotted), the 911 never once felt uncomfortable. It would have been nice to have a sampling of the stock 19/20-inch configuration but this mildly sportier set up with thinner rubber was pliant enough for the daily drive.

But is all of this “enough 911” for us? Well, the base Carrera may not have the external “hype” that comes with its higher end Turbo and GT brethren, but it definitely retains all the characteristics that we would typically expect from a 911.

It is fast, handles well, yet comfortable enough for everyday use. Whether it be pottering round the local town centre for a spot of groceries, the mundane commute to and fro the office or performing ferrying duties for 3 others (I kid you not, we tested this) – it performs brilliantly.

And like some have said, “Carrera, Turbo S or GT3 – whatever variant it may be, it is still a 911”.

Photos by Horizon Drivers' Club


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