Porsche 911 Carrera 4S
The weather gods of Northern California cooperated by hurling rain at our Porsche 911 Carrera 4S during a 250-mile drive through the Mendocino National Forest up to the region of misty mountains and storm-lashed shoals known tantalizingly as the Lost Coast. What better challenge could you wish for when first encountering the latest all-wheel-drive Porsche 911 than to soak down the few undulating asphalt lanes that crisscross this wooded, moss-draped landscape? (This is a rhetorical question; don’t answer.)
As has been well documented here, Porsche is rebooting the base 911 Carrera and Targa line with turbocharged engines for 10 models (for now). We’re told that when this news was announced last year, it sparked a run on the former, naturally aspirated 911s. Granted, the new engine has a plastic intake and oil sump, so all that is good and right in the world seems to be ending. But plastic is lighter than aluminum, and its durability was proven by getting a factory forklift driver to repeatedly drop the fully assembled and dressed engine onto concrete from a height of about seven feet. Really—we saw video of it.
Having driven many versions of the new turbo car, including now this C4S, we think the fever to grab a free-breather before they were gone, while understandable, was misplaced. The 991.2-generation, as Porsche is calling the repowered version, is definitely better, more usable and flexible in a bunch of small ways, and lacks none of the spirit of the 991.1.
A new 3.0-liter flat-six fitted with intercooled snails does the motivating, and the base Carrera’s output of 370 horsepower rises to 420 in the S models, or 20 more than in the previous S versions, despite losing 0.8 liter of displacement. The 4S with the PDK automatic transmission like the one we drove sees EPA fuel-economy ratings increase from 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway to 21/28 mpg. Which is a good thing for Porsche’s ability to meet regulatory standards, but it’s unlikely to matter to most customers who can afford a C4S.