After 50 years, the Porsche 911 Carrera S undergoes some changes but keeps the features that car fans have come to love.

Among many car enthusiasts, Porsche is up there as one of their favourite carmakers. When the new Porsche 911 Carerra was launched, fans might have been wondering: Will this be another hit or will it break the winning sequence as a failure?

Porsche has been making 911s for more than 50 years and its sports cars are some of the most internationally recognised vehicles. The secret to its success has been making small and subtle changes to each new variant rather than major overhauls or dramatic facelifts.

With the new Carrera, Porsche thankfully does not break with tradition, making minor improvements that mainly a current owner or Porsche geek would notice. For example, the headlights have been tweaked with revised internal lenses, and standard Xenon projectors now provide more distinctive four-point daytime running lights. Other subtle changes include restyled door handles, LED side indicators on the mirrors, redesigned tail lamps and a new rear spoiler. There are also new cooling ducts down each side of the rear bumper to help extract hot air. Another less visible modification is that the body is now 10mm lower than the previous model due to a reconfigured Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system.

Inside, the cabin’s interior layout stays the same, with the high dashboard and centre console giving the driver a cosy and compact feeling. One new feature is the updated Porsche Communication Management system with a new 7in touchscreen that recognises swipe gestures, just like a smartphone. There is also a new steering wheel and a rotary dial adapted from the 918 Spyder, which is available within the Sport Chrono package.

The most significant change is found under the bonnet. Gone is the screaming 3.8l Boxer engine and in its place is a new 3l twin-turbo flat-six. This revised power plant produces 414bhp and 500Nm of torque, which is 20bhp and 60Nm more torque than before. This time, it is paired with a new seven-speed, double-clutch gearbox. The new Carrera S can do the 0-100kph sprint in 3.9 seconds, which is 0.2 second faster than the previous model. Significantly it brings the century sprint time to below the sacred four-second mark.

Under the optional Sport Chrono package, there are four different driving modes: Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual. Each mode changes the gear shift and throttle response, suspension stiffness, active engine mounts and the sound. There is even a “Sport Response” button in the middle of the rotary dial, the sort of button James Bond would ask Q to install for him. When pushed, it adjusts all the responses to maximum for 20 seconds, giving the 911 a turbo boost and squeezing every last drop of torque and speed from the car. Even without this button, it is still a very zippy and lightning-fast car, as can be expected from any Porsche and any 911.

Another improvement is that stability is never compromised regardless of the speed, thanks to the new PASM system, along with the car’s slightly lower centre of gravity. There is also the option of having a hydraulic lift system that raises the front by 40mm to help get over speed bumps and car park ramps.

The new Carrera S still drives like a 911 and looks like one, but it has become more clinical and efficient. Some of the edges have been smoothed, bringing it even closer to becoming the perfect everyday sports car.

While the old Boxer engine may have gone, carmakers still need to move with the times and sometimes break with tradition. This has not altered the pleasure of the drive in any way. In fact, the new model feels better than the old in terms of driveability, response and torque.

PORSCHE 911 CARRERA S
$508,888 including COE
Engine: 2,981cc, six-cylinder, 24-valve, turbo-charged
Power/torque: 414bhp/500Nm
Fuel consumption: 7.7l/100km
0 to 100kph: 3.9 seconds
Top speed: 303kph

Justin Harper is a freelance journalist with a passion for all things fast.

This article appeared in the Options of Issue 748 (Oct 8) of The Edge Singapore.