Porsche 911 Carrera S 3.8 PDK Review
Natural progression

Story and photos by Raymond Lai
18 Feb 2012

The looks are strikingly familiar 911 but this new generation 991 model is much improved in many areas as Raymond Lai discovers.

Introduction, styling

There are some who might say that Porsche’s designers are the laziest of any car maker’s out there. After all, it truly takes an anorak to differentiate a facelift Porsche model from the old or a new generation variant from its predecessor. But I dare to beg to differ though. Take the new generation 911 as an example, the designers and stylists have done a tremendous job of modernizing the look and feel of a car that actually first appeared way back in 1963.

Through its 49-year history, the 911’s overall look and silhouette have hardly ever changed but Porsche’s bright and brilliant engineers have managed to improve the bits underneath with each successive new variant or generation. The latest generation of the 911 is no different – it looks and proportions are classic 911 but beneath that sheet metal are many new technologies and improvements that are hardly visible to the naked eye. According to Porsche, almost 90 percent of components in the new car have been redesigned or newly developed. For a start, the new model is up to 45kg thanks to new features like its aluminium-steel composite construction. The new 911 is just the seventh generation in almost 50 years. For some unfathomable reason, the replacement for the outgoing seven-year old 997 model is dubbed the 991.

The 991’s proportions might be similar to the 997’s at first glance but its specs reveal that the new car has a 100mm longer wheelbase, shorter overhangs and is lower overall for an even more dynamic stance. The lengthened and lowered stance of the 991 gives it a sleeker profile than the 997 when viewed from the side while the wider fenders hide wider tracks and add a dose of muscularity to the 911’s overall look.

Average Joe though, might not be able to instantly differentiate the 991 from its predecessor but if you’re a 911 aficionado, you’ll immediately notice giveaways like the door mounted wing mirrors (the 997’s are mounted on the windows), the narrow, slit like tail lamps that give the rear a more athletic stance, the new headlamps that are more oval-shaped than the 997’s, the smaller engine cover that is now separated from the larger active rear spoiler on the Carrera models, new front bumper with bigger air intakes and the larger wheels.    

With its sharper looking rear, lowered and wider stance, there’s a stronger sense of purposefulness in the way the 991 looks when compared to the 997 predecessor.

As previously, the new 911 will eventually be available in many guises to suit most needs. Currently, only the Carrera and Carrera S coupe models are offered with the recently unveiled topless Cabriolet model reaching our shores really soon and Turbo and GT3 models appearing only at a later stage.

The Carrera S model tested here is distinguished from the base Carrera by the badges at the rear as well as bigger 20-inch wheels (19s on the Carrera) and twin circular tail pipes on either side with the Carrera having single oval-shaped ones.

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Engine Capacity 3800cc
Engine Type Flat 6
Power 400bhp @ 7400rpm
Torque 440Nm @ 5600rpm
Power to Weight 286.7 bhp per ton


Acceleration 4.1s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 302 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 11.5 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed PDK dual clutch
Drive Type RR


Body Type Coupe
(L x W x H)
(4491 x 1808 x 1295) mm
Wheelbase 2450 mm
Kerb Weight 1395 kg


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Ventilated Discs