Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
Both the Carrera S and 4S deliver crushing straight-line pace, but, even more impressive than that initial hit of acceleration is the way the 911 keeps building speed when it’s up and running.
On paper, with peak torque (all 391lb ft of it) arriving at just 2300rpm, you could be mistaken for assuming this is a car that doesn’t like to be revved. However, unlike so many modern turbocharged engines that run out of puff higher up in the rev range, the 911’s twin-turbocharged flat-six feels utterly relentless all the way to its relatively heady 7500rpm redline.
It’s so quick, in fact, that you really appreciate the way the dual-clutch automatic gearbox responds so impeccably smoothly and quickly on both upshifts and downshifts that the car never feels unbalanced, even if you happen to change gear mid corner. It really is in another league compared with traditional auto ’boxes such as the one found in Aston Martin’s latest Vantage, even if the sheer number of gears (eight) means you sometimes have to pull the downshift paddle several times when braking into corners or overtaking in manual mode. A traditional manual will join the range later.
Suspension and ride comfort
As standard, both the Carrera S and Carrera 4S come with 20in wheels at the front and 21in at the rear. They're huge, yet – despite the shallow sidewalls of the tyres they’re shod with – the 911 does an impressive job of cushioning you from battered road surfaces, as long as you avoid the firmer Sport setting.
True, it’s no magic carpet, but, for such a focused car, the 911 is surprisingly comfortable. Confronted by a series of challenging crests and dips, it remains remarkably flat and stable whereas many rivals would throw you around in your seat.
This smoothness is even more impressive when you consider that we have so far only tried the latest 911 with the optional sport ‘chassis’, which drops the ride height by 10mm.
A long, twisty road is the habitat in which the 911 really stands out from its competition. Thanks to beautifully weighted steering that’s both communicative and linear in its responses, you can can push right up to the limit of adhesion with utter confidence – something that can’t be said about the Aston Martin Vantage or Mercedes-AMG GT.
What’s more, with electronically controlled dampers fitted as standard, body control is simply exceptional; it’s supple enough to deal with sudden crests and compressions, but firm enough for body lean to be virtually non existent.
Of the two versions available, the rear-wheel drive Carrera S is the fractionally more engaging; its steering is that little bit smoother and more consistent for being unburdened by having to transmit power to the ground. The S is also that little bit more animated in its movements when you’re pushing on, because it doesn't have the front wheels trying to pull you out of the corner every time you get on the power.
Noise and vibration
911s fitted with the optional sports exhaust make a full-blooded and thrilling noise when you put your foot down. Alternatively, for those moments when you’re not in the mood, you can switch this feature off to ensure that the engine never gets too boomy or intrusive.
The 911 still isn’t an especially refined choice for covering lots of miles, though. You'll hear wind whistle from around the frameless side windows at motorway speeds and the wide tyres generate a lot of noise over coarse surfaces.