Revised four-wheel-drive 911 makes the car's appeal on year-round, any-occasion usability even stronger. Fast and surefooted, although still not as involving as rangemates

What is it?

The Carrera 4S Coupe is among six new four-wheel drive Porsche 911 models rolling out into the UK, including the £90,240 Carrera 4 Cabriolet, £81,398 Carrera 4 Coupe, £99,684 Carrera 4S Cabriolet, £90,240 Targa 4 and £99,684 Targa 4S: excluding, of course, the new Turbo and Turbo S derivatives.

As with its recently introduced rear-wheel-drive siblings, the 911 Carrera 4S receives a series of subtle styling updates as part of a reasonably comprehensive mid-life facelift. Included is a redesigned front bumper sporting active air ducts that open and close to channel air to the front-mounted radiators dependent on throttle load, revised headlights with altered internal graphics, larger exterior mirror housings and new door handles.

It also gets reworked air vents atop the engine lid at the rear for greater cooling efficiency, modified taillights sporting more heavily structured three-dimensional lenses, and a revised rear bumper with air vents either side to channel hot air away from the engine.

Wider rear wheelarches and a horizontal light band set between the taillights continue to distinguish the various four-wheel-drive models from other new 911 models.

More significant than the styling tweaks, though, is the adoption of an all-new engine. Taking the place of the old naturally aspirated 3.8-litre flat-six unit is an all-new twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine: the '9A2', as it is known within Zuffenhausen circles. It endows the new 911 Carrera 4S with an added 20bhp and 45lb ft, delivering 414bhp at 6500rpm and 369lb ft on a band of revs from 1700 all the way through to 5000rpm.

Gearbox choices remain the same as before, with a seven-speed manual offered alongside a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch unit with the choice between manual and automatic shift modes. Both work in combination with an electro-hydraulic four-wheel-drive system that has been updated with new software claimed to speed up its responses.

As with facelifted rear-wheel-drive 911 models, the various four-wheel-drive variants of the latest 911 all receive Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) as standard. As well as providing adaptive damping qualities, it brings a 10mm reduction in ride height.

A new option on the 911 Carrera 4S is a four-wheel-steer system, similar to that used by the 911 Turbo and GT3. Also available is an hydraulic lift function that can raise the ride height by 40mm within five seconds at the press of a button.

As well as providing tunable settings for the dampers and throttle mapping, the Sport Chrono package now includes a steering wheel-mounted driving mode switch that allows the driver to choose between Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual driving modes. On models running the optional Sport Chrono package and seven-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox, an additional Sport Response button is fitted. When activated, it provides maximum acceleration for 20 seconds by selecting the optimum gear.

Inside, the four-wheel-drive 911 adopts the upgrades already made to rear-wheel-drive 911 models. Included is a new generation of Porsche’s Communication Management (PCM) multimedia system. Its larger 7.0in touchscreen supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, with satellite-navigation coming as standard.

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What's it like?

It’s difficult to decide what impresses the most: the overall lift in performance and sheer driveability brought on by the new turbocharged engine, or the way the enhanced multi-plate clutch four-wheel drive now more seamlessly combines with the electronic torque-vectoring differential to deploy the boosted reserves in such a way that not only makes it incredibly secure in all conditions but highly entertaining at the same time.

Be it on a track or out on the open roads, the new Carrera 4S proves every bit as quick and agile as its recently introduced Carrera rangemate. It always feels terrifically well planted and its 245/35 and 305/30 tyres provide a seemingly endless amount of grip.

A significantly more flexible delivery and faster apportioning of drive to the individual wheel with the best prevailing traction also makes it a more accommodating proposition than its predecessor, further enhancing its reputation as the 911 of choice for those seeking everyday compatibility.

With the optional SportChrono package and seven-speed PDK gearbox set in launch control mode, the new model is claimed to reach 62mph from standstill in 3.8sec in Coupe guise, beating the rear-driven Carrera S by 0.1sec despite the fact that it weighs 50kg more at 1510kg. Top speed has also increased, with the Carrera 4S coupe now achieving a claimed 190mph.

Porsche claims its new twin-turbocharged engine is up to 12% more economical than its naturally aspirated predecessor, with the Carrera 4 Coupe returning a combined 35.8mpg and 180g/km in combination with the optional PDK gearbox.

Should I buy one?

The new Carrera 4S stands out as the most rounded of all the new 911 models we’ve driven. Its newfound combination of turbocharged power and the very latest in four-wheel-drive technology help to provide it with outstanding performance and superb all-weather ability – qualities that are often a priority among buyers, especially at this time of year.

Some will argue it lacks the purity of the greatest 911s - but subjectively it makes for an even more enticing everyday proposition owing to the inherent security delivered by its high-tech underpinnings, even if it lacks the final degree of excitement offered by its rear-wheel drive sibling.

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Porsche 911 Carrera 4S PDK

Location Johannesburg, South Africa; On sale now; Price £93,231; Engine 6cyls horizontally opposed, 2981cc, twin-turbocharged petrol; Power 414bhp at 6500rpm; Torque 369lb ft at 1700-5000rpm; Gearbox 7-spd twin-clutch automatic; Kerbweight 1565kg; 0-62mph 3.8sec; Top speed 188mph; Economy 35.8mpg; CO2/tax band 180g/km, 31%

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david RS 21 January 2016

RIP 911 Carrera

RIP 911 Carrera
Lessis More 21 January 2016


BB is right. New turbo Carreras are admirable, but nonetheless a 911 low-point for me. Far less fun in the real-world than NA 991's. Which in turn are (sadly) infinitely less rewarding than older... ...I'd better not start that rant.

If Porsche can keep the weight down on the 2018 992's inevitable turbo-hybrid(s), maybe the electrics will restore decent throttle response for bigger real-world smiles?

Car fun is too often proportional to car age. Thank you politicians (grrr).

BertoniBertone 20 January 2016

Never mind the width, shall we feel the quality....?

Of course it's 'impressive'. Of course it's teutonically thorough but if I were an owner of a nicely specced Gen 1/991 I'd be feeling fairly smug right now. Since you've got a car that at even 4/10ths makes you feel good. I'm not convinced the turbo-era Gen 2s actually achieve that....When do you ever get beyond that low-rev torque curve and get into the trad 911-sound ? I'd argue, in normal driving conditions within the SE of England....nearly NEVER.