Porsche 911 through the ages - Porsche 991 Carrera (2012-)

The new 991-spec Porsche 911 can trace its roots back through half a century of automotive evolution. Richard Meaden charts the iconic coupe’s journey

Seeing the 991 amongst its ancestors is both reassuring and alarming: reassuring because you can clearly see the bloodline in its stance and profile, but alarming because it looks so much bigger than the others. It’s as though someone at Weissach erroneously pressed 110 per cent on the photocopier before sending the blueprints to the manufacturing department.

Still, there’s no denying it’s a handsome machine, and once inside you’re struck by just how finely wrought these new-generation Porsches have become. It does feel wide, though, and not just in the context of the snake-hipped early 911s. You sit low, with the deep dashboard rising away from you to the distant, rakishly inclined windscreen, which further accentuates the sense of size. But it’s still good to twist the ignition key and hear the engine come to life from somewhere near the back bumper.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to our exclusive new offer and SAVE 39% on the shop price, get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £20!

The 991 is all about control and it feels planted from the moment you get underway. The gearshift is a bit knotty across the gate, but the fizzy, rev-hungry 345bhp 3.4 flat-six is sensational. It lacks torque, but compensates by building to a wonderful high-rev crescendo. I actually prefer it to the gutsier Carrera S motor, because it feels more alive and requires more effort to reap the ample rewards.

The way it carries speed around the Porsche Experience Centre’s tricky high-speed handling circuit is breathtaking, even in the sections where you have to brake and change direction at the same time. Its grip, traction and poise are mighty, and when you really throw it at a corner, it does that magical 911 trick of finding the optimum balance of slip angle and corrective lock if you just let the wheel slip in your hands. You do have to try bloody hard though.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

It’s miraculously capable – engaging and enjoyable too in absolute basic specification – but despite the searing corner speed and seductive quality, there’s still a sense that something’s missing. That something is the subtle flow of information that connects you to a 911 as completely at walking pace as it does at warp speed. In the 991 every imperfection has been systematically ironed out, those few remaining dynamic wrinkles given a big shot of Botox to smooth things over. Like Amanda Holden, it lacks expression.

NEXT PAGE: Porsche 997 Carrera (2004-2012)

Specifications

Porsche 991 Carrera
Engine Flat-six, 3436cc
Power 345bhp @ 7400rpm
Torque 288lb ft @ 5600rpm 
Transmission Seven-speed manual, rear drive
Tyres 235/40 ZR19 front, 285/35 ZR19 rear
Weight 1380kg
Power-to-weight 254bhp/ton
0-62mph 4.8sec (claimed)
Top speed 179mph (claimed)
Years produced 2012-
Price new £71,449
Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/porsche/cayman/202238/porsche-cayman-gts-40-2020-review-a-cut-price-cayman-gt4
Porsche Cayman

Porsche Cayman GTS 4.0 2020 review - a cut-price Cayman GT4? 

The 2020 Porsche Cayman GTS 4.0 regains its flat-six and therefore top-billing in the class. It’s a brilliant package for those whom a GT4 is a bit to…
16 Feb 2020
Visit/supercars/201980/maserati-confirms-future-plans-as-fcapsa-flagship
supercars

Maserati confirms future plans as FCA/PSA flagship

A new electric GranTurismo, Alfieri super sports car and revenue-grabbing SUV all detailed in Maserati’s grand plan
14 Feb 2020
Visit/toyota/202232/250bhp-toyota-gr-corolla-hot-hatch-in-the-pipeline
Toyota Corolla

250bhp Toyota GR Corolla hot hatch in the pipeline

Following in the footsteps of the GR Yaris homologation special, Toyota’s Gazoo Racing division is to launch a hot Corolla
13 Feb 2020
Visit/features/22907/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-col-de-turini
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019