Regardless of whether you like them or not, the launch of a new Porsche 911 is very significant news - rather like the VW Golf, Ford Mustang and BMW 3 Series, the model is a constant of the automotive landscape. Imagine a world without 911s in - PH would have a lot less to write about, for a start. And this is the latest: the 992. The eighth generation of Porsche's flagship and the car it promises will "balance the benchmark driving experience that the iconic rear-engined sports car is famed for, with the increasing demands of the digital world."
We'll deal with the digital demands later; those of the sports car first. Details have so far only been released for the Carrera S models with PDK, the manual set to follow late next year - there's no news just yet on the Carrera. Both the rear- and four-wheel drive versions of the Carrera S use a refreshed version of the 991's turbo flat six, now boasting a more efficient direct fuel injection system and a new arrangement for the turbos. Power is boosted by 30hp to 450hp, sufficient for 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds and 191mph in the Carrera S - that can be reduced by another two tenths with Sport Chrono.
The Carrera 4S is even more accelerative, with an incredible 3.4 seconds said to be possible with Chrono added. The NEDC numbers for both are 31.7mpg/205g/km (Carrera S) and 31.4mpg/206g/km (Carrera 4S) - though said to be "determined in accordance with the new WLTP". As for the Carrera, it would boast 400hp with the same 30hp rise from the 991; extrapolate the Carrera S stats from old to new and the entry level car should take, at most, four seconds flat with PDK (blimey). But, as mentioned, official confirmation of the Carrera, along with details of the manual, are still to follow.
Other things we know for now include a body that's 45mm wider at the front, wheels up to 21-inches on the Carrera S (as pictured) and the rear light bar as now found across the Porsche range. Interestingly, too, Porsche says the "rear shoulders" are the same width on all models, so there'll be no need to plump for a more expensive model to secure the pugnacious stance of a wide 911. The downside of course is that, well, all the 992s will be wide - and we'll have to see how that bears out in terms of driving.
As for the design, the car is very clearly still recognisable as a 911 - you expected something different? Porsche describes the look as "completely new", serving to emphasise the "leap in performance for the 911 Type 992." Highlights include new LED headlights, a recess in the bonnet to evoke early 911s, a variable position rear spoiler and flush fit, electrically operated door handles. Okay, that may extend the definition of 'highlights' a little, but from here it looks like a cohesive and attractive update of a familiar silhouette. Then there's the interior...
Functional and sturdy though the 991's cabin was, there could be little doubt that its feast of buttons around the gearstick dated pretty quickly. For the 992, that layout has been replaced by a Panamera-inspired interior dominated by a 10.9-inch PCM infotainment screen. The five buttons below that are there for "direct access to primary vehicle functions." The ventilation controls have physical buttons and dials, with haptic screens around the stubby PDK selector. As for what the driver looks at, traditionalists will be pleased to see the five-dial layout (with central tacho) retained - the screens to the sides of that provide additional info, including connectivity and drive mode status.
On the latter point, Porsche is claiming a world first with the introduction of a 'Wet' mode in addition to the familiar Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual. A standard feature, and potentially one with some validity in the UK, the Wet setting "detects water on the road, preconditions the control systems accordingly and warns the driver, who can then set up the vehicle for a particular emphasis on safety." Huh. In addition to that, 992s also get a brake assist system as standard, along with Night Vision Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control on the options list. It's worth noting too that Porsche describes the car as having "permanent connectivity", including a navigation module that uses swarm data for real-time assistance.
And the price? £93,110 for the Carrera S Coupe, £98,418 for the Carrera 4S Coupe. Don't forget those are with PDK, so in theory the manual will be a little cheaper when it arrives. For some context, a 476hp AMG GT starts at £102,030 and, well, what else is there? Both the Audi R8 and Aston Vantage are more expensive than they've ever been and, entertaining though both the Nissan GT-R and Lotus Evora are in their own ways, they're now 10 year-old cars. It looks like an auspicious start for the 992, then.