Driven: Porsche 911 C4S PDK

  • New direct-injection 3.8-litre engine
  • With new four-wheel-drive system, too
  • Buy it from £73,146
Porsche 911 C4S PDK
Price £73,146
On sale Now
You'll like... ballistic performance; grip
You won't... Running costs; rear legroom

Porsche is never content. The look of the 911 might be old, but it’s still being updated, tuned and refined. The latest version to be tweaked is the Carrera 4, available in Coupe and Cabriolet models.

New tricks
It’s powered by a new direct-injection 3.8-litre engine, producing 354bhp in the Carrera 4, and 385bhp in this, the Carrera 4S.

There’s also a new electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system to maximise traction and stability, along with a new active suspension set-up. You can even add the recently launched seven-speed PDK semi-automatic gearbox,
for a sizeable £2338.

The ride
Leave the suspension in standard mode and you’ll get to where you were going without any drama whatsoever, and a lot earlier than you were expecting. The C4S is extremely fast, yet easy to live with and obedient on motorways, country lanes or even congested urban streets. The PDK changes gear so smoothly you almost don’t notice, while the suspension is firm, but doesn’t jar your fillings.

It’s not until you push hard that the four-wheel drive comes into full effect. The way the power is transferred between the rear and front wheels, to maintain maximum grip and handling, is seamless, giving fantastic control and stability through corners.
Select Sports mode and things become more frenetic. Engine response is sharpened, the suspension firms up and the gearbox changes gear faster.

If you’ve specified the Chrono Sports Plus option (£520 with a manual gearbox and £713 with the PDK) and are feeling brave, you can also select Sports Plus mode. This unleashes the car’s true potential, sharpening the suspension and throttle, and setting the gearbox to race-car mode.

Inspect the gadgets
You also get a new touchscreen communication system, which controls the audio, navigation and built-in phone, and somewhat sweetens the C4S’s on-the-road price of £73,146. Build quality is typically faultless, with well laid-out controls and easy-to-read instruments. Porsche has also subtly restyled the front and rear by adding LED running lights.

Our verdict
However, despite being slightly faster, the Porsche lacks the drama of Audi’s R8, and isn’t quite as exciting. It is more fuel-efficient, though, and emits noticeably less CO2, but at this price your wallet may not notice the difference. MS

Buyers' guide
Engine size 3.8 DPK
Price from £73,146
Power 385bhp
0-62mph 4.3sec
Top speed 183mph
Economy 26.9mpg
CO2 g/km/tax 247/35%

Insurance group 20 Airbags 6 Doors 2 Seats 2/4 Colours 17

Likely discount Porsche dealers don’t know what a discount is, so don’t hold your breath.

Or try a ... Audi R8 or Jaguar XKR
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