NOT CONVINCED? CHECK OUT THESE ALTERNATIVES...There are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and the Porsche 911 being the best sports car you can buy. There's an all-new one for 2019, and we already know it's going to better every rival. Driving one is more about confirming its brilliance than discovering it.
You could be forgiven for not noticing the car above actually is all-new: honestly, not a single body part is carried over. The 911 is the cliche for car designers who chance upon a smash hit in their career. You can't fix what's not broken. But you can embark upon '911-like evolution'.
This new one does have some highlights to help it stand out (and get owners of the old one itching for an upgrade). The 3D rear lights are glitzy, there's a cool brake light built into the retro engine grille, and those rear haunches are more pumped-up than ever. In time, it will make the old car seem a bit clumsy. But until we become familiar with it, get used to playing spot the difference.
At least the interior is entirely different. And Porsche is right not to carry over anything from the old buttonladen, limo-in-a-sports-car cabin. This one is more upright, more straightforward and - praise be - has far fewer buttons. The central touchscreen is the mastermind instead, and what a high-resolution, consumer-electronicsgrade display it is. Modernity at last. There's a lovely new steering wheel and, behind, a high-spec central rev counter that's flanked by two more information screens. These replace the spread of clocks that has defined the 911 for generations. Traditionalists may bridle at the move, but at least the old-fashioned dials can be replicated in digital form, with the outer gauges completely obscured by the steering wheel, just like every 911 of yore.
Porsche nerds who care about this sort of stuff will refer to the new model as '992 911'. Type 992 replaces the 991 911. That was a car that replaced the 997 911, which shows that Stuttgart's nomenclature can be nonsensical. Still, that's the only thing about this car that is.
See, traditionalists who mourn the fact you can't buy a 911 without a turbo these days will also whine that Porsche is only launching the rear-drive Carrera S and four-wheel-drive Carrera 4S with the PDK automatic gearbox. Normal people, though, will embrace the brilliant eight-speed auto and sublime 3.0-litre engine. Boosted by 30 horsepower, its 450hp comes on fast and smooth, making this an uncommonly effortless and sophisticated sports car.
I drove both. The Carrera S is a bit spicier at the rear if you're heavy on the accelerator. The Carrera 4S is unflappable, whatever the weather or how clumsy/provocative you are. With no power to corrupt its front wheels, the Carrera S has fantastic steering. It's a bit noisier in the Carrera 4S, but many a rival would still trade their soul for the secret to engineering in so much feel.
They handle beautifully. The rearmounted engine gives the purest, most effortless feel to the front end. It flows delightfully across twisting roads, tied down like a proper sports car but never becoming harsh or uncouth. Decades of knowledge have gone into this car, and it shows. It's exemplary.
There will be faster new 911s, but when the Carrera 4S does 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds, it makes you wonder just how much faster they can get. Ludicrously good average economy of 31.4mpg shames slower rivals and the exhaust now has a gasoline particulate filter, making emissions as clean as they can be.
I could blather on about the driver-assistance tech, or the microphone near the front wheels that listens for rainfall and adjusts the car's settings so it's safer and more stable. Or simply the greater space and everyday functionality that underlines the 911's status as the world's greatest everyday supercar. But there's no need. The old one was the benchmark. This one's even better. 'Nuff said.
Richard Aucock works for automotive publisher motoringresearch.com
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