A step above the usual German sports offerings is the Porsche 911, and the Carrera 4 / 4S models are a favorite among performance enthusiasts. With starting prices of $98,000 and $112,000 respectively, these Carrera models both feature 3.0-liter boxer engines with a pair of turbochargers adding in boost to offer up figures as high as 420 hp with torque coming in at 368 ft-lb, a choice of either a 7-speed manual or PDK automatic transmission and an rear-biased all-wheel drive system. A host of configurable options are available, but they can quickly see the price tag near the $150,000 mark.
It’s easy to get lost when looking at Porsche 911 models, there are quite a few of them and the given names can get a little confusing. One of the most popular 911 models is undoubtedly the Carrera, and when you add the number 4 to the name it means the power is sent to all four wheels. Adding an S to that simply means more power, like a sports version. There’s 50 hp between the two, and those extra horses cost $14,000. Buyers in this segment aren’t really price driven though and we expect most would opt for the S version because more power is always a good thing.
Inside the cabin of a Porsche Carrera 4S you’ll find premium quality materials and a rather simplistic design that’s only seen minor tweaks and updates over the years, just enough to keep it on par with the features and options seen in other modern cars. You get optional 18-way power adjustable sport seats, a raised center console with a classy shifter, a 3-spoke multifunction sports steering wheel and a modern interpretation of the automaker’s classic looking instrument cluster with the tachometer being the most prominent. In the center of the dash there’s now a screen for the infotainment system and navigation that’s within easy reach and offers an intuitive interface. Just about every surface can be customized in leather, Alcantara, aluminum and carbon fiber – the only limits being your imagination and your bank balance. Luggage space will see a basic overnight bag fit in the front trunk, not much else.
When you talk Porsche, you talk driver’s car, and so everything is tailored to make the driving experience as good as it can possibly be. The flat-six powerplant is responsive with the power delivery strong and linear no matter if you’re using the 7-speed manual or the brilliant 7-speed PDK dual clutch automatic transmission – it’s so linear in fact that if it weren’t for the engine noise (and that passive sound tube) you’d forget there’s a pair of turbochargers at work. The 4S has excellent road manners with a smooth drive, but when demanded all that power combined with the rear-biased all-wheel drive will see the car switch personalities and become a precision track tool ready for action. The different drive modes are easily selected on the steering wheel and these will soften or firm up the ride as requested. It’s quite hard to fault a Carrera 4 or 4S
The Porsche Carrera 4S uses the signature Porsche horizontally opposed engine with a capacity of 3.0-liters and 6-cylinder, and to give it that impressive 420 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque (370 hp / 330 lb-ft in the Carrera 4) there’s a pair of turbochargers strapped on. The Carrera 4/4S is available with a 7-speed manual transmission that feel solid with smooth and easy shifts with a lighter than expected clutch operation. It can also be had with a very good 7-speed automatic PDK transmission that can be used withy paddle shifters to keep the driving experience more involved – they’re both so good it’s hard to choose between them.
The Porsche Carrera 4/4S us fitted with dual front airbags, side airbags (POSIP – Porsche side impact protection) and a thorax airbag located in the seat side bolsters, and these work together with a host of features to afford maximum occupant protection. There’s stability control, adaptive cruise control, lane-change assist, dynamic chassis control and 4-wheel traction control working to keep you safe too. The option list includes many things in bundled packages that see performance and convenience extras added in like navigation, a Burmester high-end surround sound system and the must-have Sport Chrono package that adds in more race-inspired drive modes.
No matter if you’re buying a weekend track toy or a fast daily driver, the Porsche Carrera 4 / 4S can be classed as one of the absolute best options around. The base car is really good off the floor; it’s fast, handles great and shows everyone else that you have made many right choices in life. If that’s not enough there’s a plethora of available options that see improvements to the handling, braking and interior trim so that the Porsche can be completely tailored to reflect your taste and personality. The twin-turbocharged flat six is powerful and responsive and the all-wheel drive underpinnings inspire confidence at every turn – it’s a hard combination to beat.