If stepping inside the 992’s cabin suggests an increased air of maturity next to those of previous 911s, then the driving experience continues this initial observation. While still undoubtedly a 911, it now takes just a little more digging to unearth qualities that were previously much closer to the surface.
This may, at first, be a little disappointing for some 911 diehards. Particularly until a manual gearshift arrives, the 992 feels just a little less tactile than the 991 it replaces, delivering fewer sensations through seat, steering and pedals, and its petrol particulate filter-muffled exhausts delivering less flat-six fizz through to the cabin. Driven at a moderate pace, everything feels just a little too ‘normal’, as if you’re in a downsized Panamera rather than a 911 – still a level above many cars, but no longer as characteristically ‘911’.
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The good news is that as you increase the pace, the shroud does get slowly pulled away. Switch the PDK to manual mode and hang on to lower gears, and the engine feels more enthusiastic, unleashes familiar sounds and has excellent throttle response. Lean harder on the brakes and pedal feel and bite begins to emerge. Give the front tyres more to think about and feedback begins to creep through the steering wheel rim, while bumps and undulations can set the light nose bobbing ever so slightly. And you can get on the power good and early, knowing that if you’re smooth, the rear tyres will simply hook up and launch you down the next straight.
The downside to all this is that given the 911’s performance threshold is now so high, you’ll be travelling at quite some rate by the time your 992 has turned into a 911. Porsche’s own Cayman still demonstrates its abilities and its balance at more accessible speeds, and as the 911 grows ever wider, its smaller counterparts still feel better sized for UK roads.
As a GT however, the 911 is better than ever. There’s still plenty of characteristic 911 road roar, but wind and engine noise are well suppressed, and while the ride is quite firm at low speeds, it seems to improve as your velocity increases – as a fast A-road or motorway cruiser, those Panamera-like talents are easy to appreciate.
We suspect some of the 911’s natural interactivity will return when the manual gearbox arrives, and Porsche is sure to tweak the 992 behind the scenes, just as it did to turn the 991 from slightly aloof sports car to the class leader it became later in life. In the meantime, the 992 is still a hugely capable sports car, but one that occasionally feels too mature for its own good.