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Engine options, speed, acceleration and refinement

Power for the entry-level Carrera model comes from Porsche's 3.4-litre flat six. It has a shorter stroke than the outgoing 3.6 and aluminium camshaft positioners contribute to a greater peak revs.

Peak torque of 288lb ft is the same as before, but it arrives more than 1000rpm higher on the tacho than it did in the previous 3.6. Peak power of 345bhp eclipses that of the base 997 by five horspower, but doesn’t turn up until 7400rpm. The new 911’s red line is a heady 7800rpm.

The Porsche's flat six sounds fantastic and delivers its power in a linear, controllable fashion

However, this 3.4 can seem a little unenergetic and run-of-the-mill at first, pulling matter-of-factly through the low rev range. But get the crankshaft spinning more quickly and the fireworks materialise.

At 4500rpm there’s a pleasing additional hit of potency, which ramps up again at 5600rpm as the engine passes peak torque. Then, from 6000rpm, Porsche’s flat six serves up a final impressive layer of sound and fury, with enough power for it to feel exciting and effortlessly fast, but always manageable – never savage or unruly.

Despite the Carrera S holding on to what is essentially the same 3.8-litre, six-cylinder engine as the old model, Porsche has held true to 911 tradition by raising the output.

Power climbs to a new peak of 395bhp at 7400rpm, in the process taking its specific output beyond 100bhp per litre. Torque also improves by 13lb ft to 324lb ft at 5600rpm. With the drop in weight figured in, the greater reserves provide for a 16bhp-per-tonne gain in the vital power-to-weight ratio at 282bhp per tonne.

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The detail changes Porsche has made to the engine give the new Carrera S a gutsier feel across a wider range of revs. It may lack the sheer intensity of some of the engines available at the price level, but the evergreen flat six remains as stirring as ever.

Unlike the engine, the new 911's gearbox is all-new and rather special, too. Replacing the old six-speed manual is the first ever seven-speed manual to make its way into a series-production road car.

Based around the seven-speed PDK gearbox, the ground-breaking manual uses a mechanical lock-out to stop you from inadvertently shifting into seventh. The new top gear can only be selected via fifth or sixth and in truth is best considered only for long-distance cruising.

In practice it works reasonably well, although if you’re really pressing on it can leave you fishing around a bit in the gate. Furthermore, the shift action is good but not great.

Oddly, that leaves the buyer with a tough choice: the fiddly seven-speed manual, which you’ll no doubt get used to with time and which is undeniably a fraction more engaging, or the ultra-slick PDK system, which lacks the level of involvement but is so crisp and so precise that it is a pleasure to use even when you’re just plodding along.