Turbo revolution begins
The revised and lightly re-styled 2016 Porsche 911 is now out in the open, kicking off with Stuttgart’s quickest and most powerful Carrera and Carrera S models yet.
The upgraded 911 brings a number of significant mechanical enhancements and additional equipment, but, with an Australian starting price of $217,800 plus on-road costs – up from $208,200 previously – entry into the range is now noteably more expensive.
Headlining changes to the revised 911 Coupe and Cabriolet models is a long-expected shift to new turbocharged six-cylinder powertrains.
Turbocharging isn’t new to the 911, but today’s unveiling marks the first time in the iconic sports car’s 52-year history that forced induction has outright replaced natural aspiration in the mainstream range – a move driven by ever-tightening emissions regulations.
For both variants, the switch to forced induction sees a drop in capacity to 3.0 litres, but – as with other brands making the same leap to smaller turbocharged engines – power figures are up while acceleration times and fuel consumption are down.
The new turbocharged flat-six engines list power figures of 272kW in the 911 Carrera and 309kW in the 911 Carrera S – an increase of 15kW for both.
Torque is likewise increased, growing by a significant 60Nm in both models for new figures of 450Nm and 500Nm respectively. Peak torque is available from 1500-5000rpm, with a high 7500rpm redline.
The turbochargers are of a fixed-vane design – rather than the current 911 Turbo’s variable design – with the more powerful Carrera S benefitting from enhanced compressors, along with unique exhaust and engine management systems.
The switch to turbocharging delivers predictably faster acceleration, with a new 0-100km/h time of 4.2 seconds claimed for the 911 Carrera coupe – a two-tenths improvement – when matched with the PDK transmission and Sport Chrono package.
In the Carrera S, that sprint is dispatched even quicker at 3.9 seconds, again two tenths of a second quicker than its predecessor.
Top speed is higher in both, now up by 6km/h to 295km/h for the Carrera, and by 4km/h to 308km/h in the Carrera S.
Fuel consumption savings are also promised, with the PDK-equipped Carrera now listing 7.4 L/100km on the NEDC test cycle and the Carrera S listing 7.7L/100km. Those figures represent 0.8L/100km and 1.0L/100km improvements respectively.
Away from the revolutionary engine changes, the new Carrera and Carrera S models also gain the option of a four-wheel steering system similar to that used with the (somewhat redundantly titled) 911 Turbo and the hero GT3.
There’s also now a mode-selection switch on the new steering wheel for models optioned with Sport Chrono, derived fromthe flagship 918 Spyder. The rotary-design switch features four positions: Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual.
With the PDK transmission, the switch adds a Sport Response button, pre-conditioning the engine with the optimum gear and adjusted engine management for a 20-second maximum acceleration – ideal for overtaking manoeuvres.
Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) is also now standard for all Carrera models, lowering the ride height by 10mm and delivering improved stability during fast cornering. Likewise, new-generation shock absorbers promise greater precision and enhanced comfort.
This is matched to a wider rim design at the rear, increased by 0.5 to 11.5 inches, while the Carrera S now also gets wider tyres, growing from 295 to 305mm.
New technology in the cabin includes the new Porsche Communication Management (PCM) infotainment system, which offers voice control and phone-like multi-touch gesture functions via the 7.0-inch dash display.
A smartphone tray is now integrated into the centre armrest, offering charging and optimised phone reception.
Apple’s CarPlay connectivity platform is also available, but new WiFi-connected Google Earth and Google StreetView options offered in some markets won’t make their way to Australia until a new LTE phone module is made available in late 2017.
Likewise, the new Porsche Connect phone app – which offers remote control of certain vehicle functions, phone-to-vehicle transfer of navigation details, and access to PCM-integrated music streaming services – won’t come to Australian models until early in 2018.
On the upside for buyers, digital radio and front ParkAssist with Reversing Camera, both optional extras in the outgoing range, are now standard on all Carrera models.
New and improved assistance systems are also featured, with the optional automatic speed control system now able to brake moderately when the set speed is exceeded, while Adaptive Cruise Control now offers a coasting function in PDK-equipped models.
Driving in traffic also now sees the clutches disengaged as a fuel-saving measure during unpowered coasting.
With the optional lane-change assistant, rear traffic is monitored by radar, with LED indicators in the side mirrors alerting the driver to vehicles in the car’s blind spots. Post-collision braking is also now standard.
The 911’s revolutionary engine changes and new standard equipment comes with higher pricing across the range, affecting coupe and Cabriolet styles and both manual and PDK transmission options.
The range now opens at $217,800 plus on-road costs for the seven-speed manual 911 Carrera coupe, up from $208,200 previously. At the other end of the list, the Carrera S Cabriolet manual is now $274,300, compared with $26,800 in the outgoing range.
Adding the impressive PDK transmission to the order will increase the price by $5950, meaning that the Carrera coupe PDK is now priced from $223,750 plus on-road costs – up from $214,150 previously.
The refreshed 2016 Porsche 911 Carrera models are available to order in Australia now, ahead of a market launched scheduled for mid-March next year.
2016 Porsche 911 Carrera and Carrera S pricing (plus on-road costs):
911 Carrera coupe manual – $217,800
911 Carrera coupe PDK – $223,750
911 Carrera S coupe manual – $252,800
911 Carrera S coupe PDK – $258,750
911 Carrera Cabriolet manual – $239,300
911 Carrera Cabriolet PDK – $245,250
911 Carrera S Cabriolet manual – $274,300
911 Carrera S Cabriolet PDK – $280,250