The Porsche 911 is a sports car that needs no introduction. Its immense performance, deft handling, luxurious interior and desirable image have won it admirers the world over.
In order to help it keep up with the latest competition, Porsche has made some significant changes for the updated (or facelifted) version of the 911, most of which have taken place under the skin. So what has the company actually changed?
The big news here is that, for the first time, the bulk of the 911 range relies on turbocharged power. While the all-new 3.0-litre twin turbocharged flat-six engines weigh slightly more, the improvements in power and torque make the car not just faster, but more fuel efficient and easier to drive.
Replacing the outgoing 3.4 and 3.8 units found in the Carrera and Carrera S, the turbo produces 20hp more in each application, taking outputs up to 365hp and 414hp respectively. The extra power of the S is courtesy of the turbos running at higher boost.
What will be more obvious on the road is the increase in torque. Each models gains an extra 44lb ft, taking the totals up to 332lb ft for the Carrera and 369lb ft for the S. Most significantly of all is the point at which that headline figure comes into play: the old model needed 5,600 revs to achieve its maximum torque, whereas the new units give maximum grunt from 1,700rpm all the way to 5,000. That means that drivers will need to make far fewer gear changes to get most shove from the engine.
The new units have improved fuel efficiency, too. Up to 12 per cent more frugal than before, the Carrera now returns 38.2mpg, while the Carrera S manages 36.7 – improvements of 3.8mpg and 4.2mpg. A sports exhaust system is designed to make the updated 911 sound even more fruity, and buyers can choose from either a seven speed manual gearbox or Porsche’s dual clutch automatic transmission, known as PDK.
Subtle styling changes
The extent of the styling changes are fairly limited. The front bumper has been tweaked, featuring reshaped air vents and slimmer LED daytime running lights more neatly integrated into the design. The vents themselves now feature flaps which automatically open and close according to road conditions, boosting aerodynamic efficiency and therefore fuel economy.
Around the back, the exhaust tips have been repositioned (depending on the model you choose), the tail lights retain an overall similar shape but are very subtly redesigned, and the engine cover now features vertical cooling slats.
Minor interior upgrades
Interior changes are expected to be minimal with the most notable addition being a newly designed steering wheel that apes the design of the one fitted to the 918 hypercar. It’s also very similar in look to the one fitted to the Macan SUV and has a thin rim and a small airbag housing to make it look sportier.
The new 911 makes use of Porsche’s latest infotainment system, known as Porsche Communication Management (PCM). The system handles the usual range of services including Bluetooth connectivity, voice control, satellite navigation, DAB radio and USB and aux inputs. The latter pair are now more neatly integrated into the central armrest than before, and an optional iPhone connection to use Apple CarPlay is now available for the first time.
Similar driving experience
The 911 has been in development for more than 50 years now and, in that time, Porsche has learned how to make the car drive well.
However, the addition of turbochargers across most of the range has necessitated a couple of changes. The new powerplants weigh about 40kg more than those in the outgoing car, so the suspension settings have been altered to cope with the extra weight over the rear axle. Previously the reserve of the top spec Turbo and GT3 models, four wheel steering is now standard across the range, which aids stability at high speed and manoeuvrability around town.
Mounted on the steering wheel for the first time is a new driving mode selector. This lets drivers choose one of four settings ranging from ‘Comfort’ to ‘Sport+’ and makes changes to the gear change speed, suspension firmness, steering weighting as well as engine responsiveness and noise.
Porsche 911 GT3
Unlike the rest of the range, the GT3 is tipped to keep a naturally aspirated (non turbocharged) engine. That would appeal to enthusiasts who love the responsiveness and sound of the current model. It would also allow Porsche to continue competing in GT3 races.
Porsche 911 facelift price and release date
The latest 911’s prices have all marginally risen over the outgoing model. The new Carrera Coupe starts from £76,412 – a £2,213 increase from before, while the new Carrera S costs £85,857. In a move which we can only assume is deliberate, the Cabriolet version of the Carrera S costs £9,111 more than the coupe.
The first UK cars will be delivered towards the end of 2015.
Read our full, aggregated review of the Porsche 911 to learn more. For more options, head over to our deals page or, if you’re still struggling to pick which car you’d like, check out our car chooser.