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Engine options, speed, acceleration and refinement

There are two elements to the new 911’s performance: how much it makes, and how it makes it.

The day we tested the 911 at MIRA may have been streaming wet, but be in no doubt: the Carrera S offers second-tier supercar performance.

Traction is impressive, even down an inconsistently wet straight

Were it drier, it would have hit 60mph from rest in far less than 4.5sec (when our sister magazine What Car? tested the 911 in the dry, it blazed to 60mph in only 3.5sec). Even slightly flummoxed by traction at the lower end, 30-70mph through the gears takes only 3.4sec, but the big difference is in this new turbocharged engine’s flexibility.

In 2012 we tested a naturally aspirated base 991 Carrera, which needed 9.4sec to go from 30-70mph in fourth. This variant is an S model, but still, as an example of what turbocharging can do for you, know that despite longer gearing, it knocks three seconds off that time.

In terms of flexibility, then, the 911 is now hugely impressive. Drive naturally aspirated and turbocharged versions back to back – as we did in last week’s issue – and you’ll notice the difference in an instant. Whereas the old model wanted you to work it through to its near-8000rpm redline in order to access the best of its performance, the new engine, after a brief pause at low revs to let the turbos spool, gets going much more quickly while still retaining most of the flat six bellow. For most people, most of the time, it makes accessing the 911’s performance much easier.

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If, though, you’re expecting a ‘however’, here it comes. When turbocharging comes in, something always has to go, to a greater or lesser extent.

And although the redline, at 7500rpm, is almost as high as it was before, the instant response, the high-end fizz, the feeling that to get the best from a 911 you have to put the effort in and in doing so you’ll be rewarded by a powertrain that thrills like few others, has gone.

Mated to the slick PDK gearbox, it remains, by most standards, a terrific sports car powertrain, but by 911 standards, Carreras have seen better.