When you’re behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 Carrera S, it doesn’t take much to convince you of its US$200,000 price tag.

After all, its latest generation, the 992, completes a lap around Nürburgring in 7.25 minutes – five seconds faster than its predecessor and matching the speeds of the Ferrari Enzo and Lamborghini Aventador.

It’s a worthy, if not reasonable, price to pay for a supercar experience you could have every day.

Fine-tuned with careful consideration over eight generations since its first release in 1963, this iconic sports car has evolved into perfection.

The newly released model has been improved in every sense. Faster, sleeker, more efficient and more powerful than ever, it’s a reverberating excuse that surely justifies an upgrade – doesn’t it?
Take your pick between the rear-wheel-drive S – with more weight and grunt from the back where the engine lives – or the all-wheel-drive 4S – smooth, controlled and feels exactly like how driving is meant to be.

Fine-tuned with careful consideration over eight generations since its first release in 1963, this iconic sports car has evolved into perfection.

Both have the same lean body powered by an impressive twin-turbocharged 331kW engine, with the S distinguished by black aerodynamic rear slats and silver for the 4S.

The evolving icon

This generation has a retro look, with a stretched front end and a distinctive recess in the bonnet in the style of the earlier G series.

While retaining the classic 911 contours and upholding its lithe exterior, the newer model has a more muscular guise that’s wider and sportier.

The wings arch over 21-inch wheels at the rear, the first time that the tyres are wider at the back, giving a broader foothold for exceptional grip on the road and an effortlessly sporty form.

Ultra-modern meets old-school with the LED backlight that extends all the way across the rear in one clean piece, which looks sharp against a snow-white or mean-black exterior. Illuminating in a long, thin line, it creates a clean definition across the back that’s unmistakably Porsche.

While retaining the classic 911 contours and upholding its lithe exterior, the newer model has a more muscular guise that’s wider and sportier.

Yet Porsche keeps its modernity in check to retain its heritage look. Flush door handles pop out electrically. Inside, luxuriously soft leather frames the body in revamped seats that sit lower and are easily adjustable in every way imaginable to settle into a comfortable ride.

The dashboard spans the entire width, taking us back to the original 911 design. Two seven-inch displays framing the centrally positioned analogue rev counter and a 10.9-inch full-HD touchscreen display with PCM (Porsche Communication Management) remind us that Porsche keeps up with the times.

A keyless switch starts the engine with a purr – the sound anyone wants to hear when settling back into the icon of sports cars. On taking off at low speeds in the city, it hums along effortlessly.

The BOSE surround-sound system sets the mood. It’s surprisingly easy to drive, with precise steering and unforced performance on acceleration and in the race-track proven, fixed-caliper brakes.

Improved performance

As the speed picks up and New Zealand’s rolling paths start to coil, the wheels grip with controlled stability and impressive handling around corners, making you feel very connected to the road.

It’s when you hit an enticingly straight road that your excitement levels escalate and you’re no doubt quick to see what 0–100km/h in 3.7 seconds – 3.5 in Sports mode – feels like. An easy switch to Sports Chrono near the steering wheel, and it’s foot straight to the floor.

Forget Nürburgring. The surge of power from the eight-speed PDK – Porsche Doppelkupplung – dual-clutch transmission on this road is proof enough. The engine is responsive, manoeuvring around corners with dynamic handling, and the exhaust emits nothing short of emotion.

Power is in its blood. The German-engineered, high-performance, flat-six, 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged rear engine – the classic DNA of all 911s, and so well perfected by Porsche – contains a forceful 331kW (450PS) of power output at 6,500rpm in the Carrera S model.

It’s when you hit an enticingly straight road that your excitement levels escalate and you’re no doubt quick to see what 0–100km/h in 3.7 seconds – 3.5 in Sports mode – feels like.

Max torque at 530Nm – 30Nm more performance than the previous model – is more than enough G-force to pull you back in your leather seat and remind you that life really is that good. The speed limit is all that’s stopping the temptation to reach the 308km/h top speed.

The sunroof slides open, letting in the roar of the convoy and the clean, fresh smell that can only be experienced in unspoiled places like New Zealand. The heated seat and warmed steering wheel take the edge off the coolness.

This nimble model is a whole 12 kilograms lighter, with the outer skin now made entirely from aluminium instead of steel. The car races with fast gear changes, even in automatic, and the spoiler intuitively shifts into position with honed adaptive aerodynamics.

Powerful yet practical

While performance is enhanced, the 992 is more efficient and environmentally conscious. Tweaks to the air-cooling system, the mirrored turbochargers and the injection process improve airflow and optimise efficiency.

Some dampness on the road from sporadic showers activates an option to turn on Porsche Wet Mode, a world-first introduced exclusively for the 911.

Tiny sensors on the wheel rim detect water and accordingly precondition the control system, giving a warning signal to switch on the safety feature that has its benefits on these glassy roads.

The LED Matrix headlights, comprised of 84 individual pinhead lights, work together to intelligently regulate brightness and distribution, controlled by a camera sitting below the windscreen. At night-time, the camera also detects people and animals in darkness at a range of up to 300 metres.

Assistance systems like this make driving a six-figure car in everyday traffic safer and more comfortable. Brake assist, lane change assist and adaptive cruise control turn driving into coasting, making the 911 a car you could take for a spin every day. Practical enough to put a baby’s seat in the back or for the work commute, yet powerful enough to take it to the track or thrash on exhilarating weekend road trips.

It’s performance and comfort rolled into one. The 992 is both timeless and ultra-modern, paying homage to Porsche’s 911 style spun out and perfected over decades, while keeping well ahead of the times.

It’s more powerful, more efficient, and feels as sleek as it looks.

Yes, the 992 is definitely worth the upgrade.