RE: Litchfield Porsche Carrera 4 S (992) | Driven

RE: Litchfield Porsche Carrera 4 S (992) | Driven

Thursday 7th November

Litchfield Porsche Carrera 4 S (992) | Driven

One plug-in remap and a little over £1,000 gets 580hp from a Carrera 4 S. Somebody show us the catch...



What does it take to make the 992 feel like a genuinely exciting 911? Well, 580hp and 480lb ft sound like a good start, at least on paper. A theory we can now put to the test, thanks to Litchfield's Stage 1 remap for the Carrera 4 S and a day playing out in the Brecon Beacons.

Suffice it to say, if there's magic in the 992 it's been well hidden thus far. Porsche is duty-bound by customer expectation and its own engineering culture to make any new generation of 911 faster, more technically advanced and more capable than the one that went before, but risks jumping the shark by going too far. We'll see if the balance toward a more mature vibe tips the other way when the inevitable Turbos and GT3s join the party, but it's clear from early impressions that a faster and more capable Carrera isn't necessarily a more satisfying one to drive, at least for traditionalists. Can more power corrupt such lofty ideals? One can hope.

Impressive dyno readings are fine but true number crunchers will be craving some authoritative performance stats to compare the standard car's already scorching 3.4-second 0-62 time and 190mph top speed with those of the Litchfield car. Hands up, this drive didn't provide opportunity for figuring so what follows is a more seat of the pants assessment on whether this is Β£1,194 worth spending on any new Carrera S or 4 S.


First up, a little clarification on the original news story promising 580hp from any new 992. At the time of writing the base 385hp Carrera version hadn't been launched and early indications suggested the 3.0-litre six had been electronically detuned in the name of range hierarchy. Turns out the Carrera actually runs smaller turbos and Litchfield hasn't yet had an opportunity to see what the new map will deliver on the base spec engine. Watch this space but for now we'll concentrate on the proven extra 130hp and 90lb ft available for the S-spec motor. Because in simple cash for horsepower terms it sounds like a no-brainer.

The Litchfield 991 Carrera T conversion driven previously was based around a more extensive package of upgrades to the ECU, exhaust system and suspension. This one, meanwhile, is a pure remap, the rest of the car left as Porsche intended. All the better to explore whether it's as sympathetic to the foundations. Or rather overwhelms them.

Safe to say, if any disquiet has been levelled at the S-spec 992's lack of pace it hasn't been high on the list of complaints. Larger turbos with electrically controlled wastegates, air filters swapping position with charge coolers for reduced intake temperatures, precise piezo fuel injection and numbers equivalent to the 991 GTS are all a good start, the revised architecture and components freeing the 3.0-litre's breathing for increased power, response and efficiency across the board. That Litchfield can release so much more without lifting a spanner is testament to the headroom engineered into the package, the gains dramatic at this stage mainly because Porsche is keeping its powder dry for future upgrades of its own.


Say what you like about 911s going turbo across the board but, if the regular C4 S punches hard, the Litchfield one lands haymakers with every flex of your foot. It may not have the linear loveliness of old-fashioned Porsche engines. But, by heck, another 130hp and the mid-range clout to leave atmospheric engines feeling gutless sweetens the pill.

The Sport Chrono on this car means an easy switch between modes, the Litchfield maps in each following similar power and torque curves to the standard ones. Just higher up the graph. Normal feels just that, Sport is probably about right for all-round fun while Sport Plus is the one to inspire expletives from your passengers, the Sport Response button there if you're feeling especially vindictive.

Porsche's stated aim when the 992 was unveiled was that it would be the most digital 911 to date, a boast likely to send a chill down the spine of purists everywhere. For better or worse it's delivered on that in the car's driving style, which is more a synthesised simulation of classic 911 driving traits than ever before. Convincingly done. But a long, long way from the richly detailed feedback of earlier generations.


Combined with that monumental kick of extra performance the uprated 992 feels more PlayStation car than the Nissans Litchfield is more commonly associated with, which is ironic given how often this criticism is (wrongly) thrown at GT-Rs. If all this sounds a bit worrying to traditional Porsche fans it'll make total sense for those coming to the new 911 from those GT-Rs, AMGs, F80-era M3s, fast Audis and other modern performance machinery. Straight-line heroes raised on heavily boosted horsepower are going to be suitably impressed, the Litchfield 992 delivering something comparable to 991 Turbo S pace straight out of the box. Which, again, looks like storming value.

Litchfield is helped by the quality of the base engine, but the way the stock characteristics of sharp throttle response, huge mid-range and top-end fury have been exaggerated still further is enough to leave you reeling. From low revs it feels strong but unashamedly turbocharged, there being a moment as the boost builds before a mighty eruption of acceleration that grows and grows to the kind of top-end crescendo you rarely encounter these days. Or you can summon a couple of snappy PDK downshifts and enjoy response that would put many naturally-aspirated zingers to shame, paired with the kind of kick up the backside only a heavily boosted turbo motor can deliver. Truly the best of both worlds and a thrilling riposte to those who accuse modern engines of being dull and one-dimensional. Howsoever contrived, it makes a good noise too.

There's good news for those who get their kicks in the corners too, the extra power asking questions of the Carrera chassis not posed by the standard output. True, a heavily optioned 992 is very different animal from a base spec one so it's hard to compare like with like. And this particular one has four-wheel drive, four-wheel steering, PDCC active anti-roll and Sport Chrono among its add-ons. It's still a relatively numb driving experience, the extra track at the front end delivering more grip, if not feel. It's a more neutral 911 than any that's gone before but it still has a whiff of that traditional light front, heavy rear balance and all that comes with it, good and bad.


A two-wheel drive Carrera S with this amount of power to the rear only would likely be a very different beast and something we'd love to try. But even with power going to all four wheels it's now got the grunt to alter its attitude on the throttle, even with everything on. It takes a confident right foot early in the corner but, even on a dry road, it will rotate subtly on the throttle into a sustained all-wheel drive, four-wheel drift. A bit like a GT-R, in fact. Put it this way, if you're a repeat Litchfield customer making the switch to Porsche you're going to feel right at home, albeit in surroundings that feel 10 years ahead of the game rather than a decade behind.

There will no doubt be debate over the wisdom of aftermarket power bumps for cars fresh out of dealerships, vehicles with warranties, lease deals and the rest to consider. Iain Litchfield knows his game, stands by his work and is satisfied there is a healthy enough margin in the transmission and other components to cope with the extra power. The upgrade can also be removed as easily as it can be installed, should that be your wish. Real world caveats aside, if you're looking to light the fire in that new 992, this Litchfield upgrade would seem as close to a no-brainer as it's possible to get.


SPECIFICATION - LITCHFIELD PORSCHE 911 CARRERA 4 S STAGE 1 (992)
Engine:
2,981cc, twin-turbo flat-six
Transmission: 8-speed PDK auto, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 580@6,775rpm
Torque (lb ft): 480@5,800rpm
0-62mph: <3.6 seconds*
Top speed: >190mph*
Weight: 1,640kg* (EU with driver, before options)
MPG: 25.7-27.2mpg (combined NEDC equivalent)
CO2: 206g/km
Price: Base car from Β£98,418, Stage 1 conversion Β£1,194 installed, including VAT

*Figures for standard car, pre-conversion

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Author
Discussion

Honeywell

Original Poster:

300 posts

45 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
To what question is this car the answer?

General Fluff

474 posts

84 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
Honeywell said:
To what question is this car the answer?
Gosh I love this place. It's as though people read articles just so they can post a negative comment.

Tcooc168

26 posts

3 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
Honeywell said:
To what question is this car the answer?

What make me fall asleep faster than a sleeping pill?

SidewaysSi

5,941 posts

181 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
The problem with the 992 is it is actually a really very dull car and far from a sports car. Another lump of power and torque won't change that.


daniel1920

293 posts

65 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
Honeywell said:
To what question is this car the answer?
I like my 992 but would like more power, what can you offer me?

Didn't have to think too hard really...

thelostboy

3,603 posts

172 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
I personally don't get it, so sorry to join in on the negative posts.

You buy a brand new car, only to void the warranty. And as has been mentioned by the article, you are technically breaking finance agreements too - I imagine a huge proportion of these cars are sold with them.

And what does Litchfield really know about the strength of the transmission etc.? What durability testing are they actually doing? More importantly, is he willing to stand by his confidence if something goes wrong?

I'm all for modifying, but for me, it is still a new car that needs to be proven. Given I had a 991 GT3 with TWO engine changes from Porsche, I'd want to keep my warranty very much intact until these cars have proven to be 100% reliable with decent miles on them.

chelme

664 posts

117 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
thelostboy said:
I personally don't get it, so sorry to join in on the negative posts.

You buy a brand new car, only to void the warranty. And as has been mentioned by the article, you are technically breaking finance agreements too - I imagine a huge proportion of these cars are sold with them.

And what does Litchfield really know about the strength of the transmission etc.? What durability testing are they actually doing? More importantly, is he willing to stand by his confidence if something goes wrong?

I'm all for modifying, but for me, it is still a new car that needs to be proven. Given I had a 991 GT3 with TWO engine changes from Porsche, I'd want to keep my warranty very much intact until these cars have proven to be 100% reliable with decent miles on them.
991 GT3 with TWO engine changes...WOW! And there are hacks like Chris Harris and another fanboys who extoll the virtues of 'honest' 'bombproof' Porkers...

It just goes to show how much utter BS flies about these cars.

E65Ross

23,409 posts

159 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
thelostboy said:
I personally don't get it, so sorry to join in on the negative posts.

You buy a brand new car, only to void the warranty. And as has been mentioned by the article, you are technically breaking finance agreements too - I imagine a huge proportion of these cars are sold with them.

And what does Litchfield really know about the strength of the transmission etc.? What durability testing are they actually doing? More importantly, is he willing to stand by his confidence if something goes wrong?

I'm all for modifying, but for me, it is still a new car that needs to be proven. Given I had a 991 GT3 with TWO engine changes from Porsche, I'd want to keep my warranty very much intact until these cars have proven to be 100% reliable with decent miles on them.
Presumably they use the same gearbox etc as the more powerful models such as the turbo?

SuperPav

380 posts

72 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
E65Ross said:
Presumably they use the same gearbox etc as the more powerful models such as the turbo?
They don’t... However, drivetrain longevity never seems to bother tuners like it does OEMs.

Thesprucegoose

19,500 posts

142 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
Love it Porsche turbo bhp at 30k discount. Will be interesting what the base engine remaps to.

simonbamg

422 posts

70 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
Plenty of negativity... all is well in the world, carry on...

Gio G

2,196 posts

156 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
I think it is great that companies like Litchfield exist, as clearly many customers like to take a risk and have a choice of getting more. Porsche is just that car maker that is very very fussy about aftermarket mods on new cars, think about the N-rated tyres!! This would be great solution outside of a Porsche warranty..

G

wab172uk

1,447 posts

174 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
What's the catch? End of your warranty.

But if you're rich enough not to care if something goes wrong then .......... you'd probably buy something else instead.

I don't see anything wrong with re-mapping your car. I've done it myself over the years. But, I now feel sorry for future owners of these cars. You run you new re-mapped 911 for 2-3 years during you lease term, putting added stress on to components that maybe weren't designed to come with that sort of stress. Just before your lease is over, you put it back to standard.

The next guy who gets this car could end up with some very big bills if said components start to fail. Porsche won't be willing to help, as their computers will flag up the car has been modded.

But that sums up society these days. I'm alright, sod everyone else.

Krikkit

16,564 posts

128 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
chelme said:
991 GT3 with TWO engine changes...WOW! And there are hacks like Chris Harris and another fanboys who extoll the virtues of 'honest' 'bombproof' Porkers...

It just goes to show how much utter BS flies about these cars.
I don't think Harris (or most decent journos) have said they're bombproof, just that some of them are good cars.

FWIW I agree that the USP of making them all turbocharged has made them totally undesirable.

je777

312 posts

51 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
It's not going to solve any of the 'flaws' (depending on your POV) of the 992, but once out of warranty and if you want a do-everything sporty grand tourer there seems no reason not to do it, nor to buy a 'Turbo' - particularly as in three years' time there'll be a lot more information on how the Litchfield tuning does reliability-wise.

J4CKO

28,422 posts

147 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
Tcooc168 said:
Honeywell said:
To what question is this car the answer?

What make me fall asleep faster than a sleeping pill?
What do you drive where something like this is so boring to you ?

I know its a bit predictable and loaded with tech but as a daily driver for all weathers, what a piece of kit, what a lovely interior and all the power you ever need and then a load more.




Arsecati

360 posts

64 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
There's something wrong with this comments section: nobody has come on yet and said 'I'd have mine with a manual' or 'it would have to be a manual', or some other reference to this car only being 'proper' if it had a manual! wink

wab172uk

1,447 posts

174 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
Arsecati said:
There's something wrong with this comments section: nobody has come on yet and said 'I'd have mine with a manual' or 'it would have to be a manual', or some other reference to this car only being 'proper' if it had a manual! wink
Probably because Porsche don't currently sell a manual. But if they did ..........

leglessAlex

3,286 posts

88 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
I like this, but as someone above said, I'm not sure I'd risk the warranty. If I had the money to not worry about it, then I'd most likely be in something like a GT3, non?


Still, hard to argue against this being in many ways an attractive proposition. Easy to drive, nice badge, very very fast, really easy to live with, mostly likley has a nice interior and reasonable build quality. Is there much else out there at the price that's this fast? I know it's in a different league to my Evora and it probably isn't too far off the price.

Honeywell

Original Poster:

300 posts

45 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
It’s a £100k new car that you’ve now got zero warranty on and that you’ve just knocked the re-sale value of by £20,000 which you could have borrowed to buy the actual Porsche 911 Turbo.

Plus it’s pointlessly powerful anyway.

But an MX5 and a SUPERBIKE instead...