The gearbox does much of the work for you, with shifts barely encroaching on your consciousness in normal driving. Our car came with Sport Chrono (£1416), which brings varying driving modes, and if you stick it in Sport or Sport+ the gearbox quick-fires up and down the ratios, picking the right one at the right moment. We still reckon the paddles are more satisfying; ultimately, having the control yourself is just more involving if you fancy getting all white-eyed and sweaty-palmed.
In fact, if full control is your kind of thing, the manual may be more enjoyable at those critical moments. However, for most 911 users who also want a fairly easygoing daily ride, the PDK automatic is hard to fault.
Adaptive dampers are now standard on the 911 C4S, and they do a fine job, even when mated to the 20mm lowered Sports PASM suspension of our car (£558). Predictably, vertical damper movement is quite firm, so you get the full sportscar-effect, involuntary diaphragm-squeezing experience over fast compressions, and it bobs about quite a bit – particularly in the firmer setting – over undulating surfaces.
For all that, there is a supreme control to the ride quality of most 911 models that means they avoid ever feeling uncomfortable. Firm, yes, but the bump absorption is soft enough, the tyre contact resolutely unaffected by the road surface and the body control impeccably well mannered.
Our car also came with £1530 rear-wheel steering, but we’d say it’s not worth the extra cost. It’s one of the best rear steering systems out there, not intrusive or unpredictable at all, and having had the opportunity to drive cars with and without it back-to-back, you can feel the effect in the more aggressive turn-in. However, complete with the active four-wheel drive, as well as the inherent poise and towering mechanical grip levels of the 911, handling purity and precision is not something that’s lacking if you don’t have the rear-wheel steering.
Still, the 911 C4S has a sort of computer game feel to it that plenty of drivers will find quite intoxicating. Everything happens with such slick precision, at such speed and with such ease. That, in itself, is a full-on thrill, even if we’d be the first to admit that it feels a few notches away from the organic, driver-dependent experience that some may want of a 911.
Even with that in mind, having the joyously feelsome brakes and control weights of any 911 goes a long way to ensuring that you still feel entirely connected to what’s going on.