What is it?
It’s not the fastest, most expensive or most glamorous version of the 992-generation 911 but this Carrera S, equipped with the firm’s new seven-speed manual gearbox, promises to be the purest.
With its three-pedal layout, two-wheel drive and a very modest reduction in weight, it’s arguably the most driver-focused iteration of the rear-engined machine yet, at least until the GT3 turns up (and there’s no guarantee that will be available with a DIY gearbox this time).
It’s been a year in the making, this car, the overwhelming demand from customers for the PDK dual-clutch gearbox meaning the self-shifting models took precedence. There were even moments when it looked like it might not come at all, given that manual 911s traditionally sell in very small numbers in mainland Europe and the UK. Bizarrely, the fact that it's finally arrived is probably down to an American appetite for manual gearchanging. Across the Atlantic, around 20% of 911 sales are set to be ‘stick-shift’.
Currently available on two- and four-wheel-drive Carrera S models only, the seven-speed transmission is around 35kg lighter than the eight-speed PDK. Further enhancing its credentials as the driver’s choice is the standard Sport Chrono Pack, which adds the hydraulic active engine mounts and bespoke Sport setting for the adaptive dampers. (Our car was also fitted with the 10mm drop in ride height, a £665 extra.) Elsewhere, the PDK car’s electronic limited-slip differential is ditched in favour of a mechanical locker with Porsche’s torque vectoring set-up.
Opting for a manual gearbox these days usually means you’ll be going slower than if you’d taken two pedals - and the 911 is no exception. The 0-62mph time increases from 3.7sec to 4.2sec - the same as the PDK-equipped Carrera, which at 380bhp is giving away 64bhp to the S. On the plus side, the manual is actually a little more efficient, promising up to 28.0mpg compared with the PDK’s 26.9mpg, and CO2 emissions of 229g/km are a 5g/km improvement.
What hasn’t fallen is the price: the seven-speed manual is now a no-cost option rather than attracting a saving as it did on the old car. Whichever way you look at it, a price of nearly £100k for a fairly ‘basic’ 911 is a tough one to swallow.