Have you ever wanted something so bad that your credit card just magically pops out of your wallet, all your personal info auto-fills the various fields, “accept charges” buttons unconsciously get pressed and confirmation emails immediately arrive? That’s what Porsche hopes will happen with its new very limited 2021 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition, and while most of us don’t have American Express Centurion cards that allow us to nonchalantly plop $205,900 plus fees for a frivolous sports car when such desires strike, enough high-rolling, Fed-infused Wall Street hedge managers do to make special projects like this happen.
The new 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition fits the phrase “modern-day classic” better than anything we’ve seen for quite some time. It’s based on the new 2021 911 Targa we shared here last month, and we have to say the car’s classic silver roll hoop body style suits this special edition’s retro design perfectly.
Unless you detest such memory lane recreations, or more specifically in this case, homages paying tribute to the glory days of Porsche’s beginnings, the 911 Targa 4S Heritage probably had you at hello. From its gorgeous Cherry Metallic paintwork (it’s also available in four alternative exterior colours), motorsport-inspired spear-shaped front fender stripes and circular decal-style number livery, and historically true 1963 Porsche Crest badges, rear mounted Porsche Heritage badge, and gold-tone nameplates, to its two-tone Bordeaux Red or Black leather and Atacama Beige OLEA club leather and corduroy-lined cabin, this is one stunning head-turner.
Porsche goes even further with details like green backlighting on the tachometer and centre dash top-mounted “stopwatch”, which being typical of ‘50s and ‘60s cars, plus the microfibre roofliner gets perforations similar to past Porsches (and VWs). And those just-mentioned period-correct Porsche crests? You’ll find them on the key fob, hood, steering wheel and wheel hub covers, those latter items capping off wheels resembling the “five-leaf” Fuchsfelge alloys brought to market for the 1966 911S. Of course the new Carrera Exclusive Design alloys are staggered and much larger than those from Porsche’s past, now measuring 20 inches up front and 21 inches at the back, while framing a set of classic black brake calipers.
This is the first example of four collector’s models from Porsche’s Heritage Design strategy, incidentally, and as was shown in this article’s first paragraph, it doesn’t come cheap. There’s always a price paid for exclusivity, and with just 992 of these special Heritage 911 Targas available (the number referencing the latest 911’s internal code name), its lofty window sticker will make sense to those capable of taking advantage. Porsche commemorates the example purchased with a beautiful gold metal “911 Heritage Design Edition XXX/992” dash plaque, with the number “000” shown likely kept for Porsche’s own collection.
The 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition pays obvious tribute to late ‘60s and early ‘70s 911 Targas, but Porsche makes the point of claiming this car represents four decades of classic 911s.
“We are evoking memories of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s in customers and fans with the Heritage Design models,” stated Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG in a press release. “No brand can translate these elements into the modern day as well as Porsche. In this way, we are fulfilling the wishes of our customers. With the exclusive special editions, we are also establishing a new product line which stands for the ‘lifestyle’ dimension in our product strategy.”
As noted before, this first example of the four Heritage Design models is based on the all-new 2021 911 Targa 4S, and therefore is as modern as the new the new 992-generation gets under the skin, including all of Porsche’s latest chassis tech, driver assistance systems, infotainment advancements, and more. Below its automatically deployable rear wing is 443 horsepower worth of horizontally opposed, twin-turbocharged, six-cylinder greatness combined with a paddle-shift prompted eight-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission. It’s capable of shooting from standstill to 100 km/h in less than 3.6 seconds (when Launch Control is engaged) and maxes out at a track speed of 304 km/h.
Classic car aficionados have long appreciated how horology has played an important role in the automotive industry’s beginnings, in that early watchmakers provided the same types of instruments we now refer to as gauge clusters. Porsche remains true to its past with the beautiful analogue clocks found on the centre dash tops of all models, which can usually be upgraded to a complex chronometer stopwatch and lap counter by adding its Sport Chrono Package. Exclusive to 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design owners, Porsche Design, a majority-owned subsidiary of Porsche AG, although a credible luxury watchmaker on its own, has created the 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design edition chronograph wristwatch.
Once again just 992 examples will be manufactured, and come complete with a face featuring a white seconds hand and “Phosphorus Green” rings around its perimeter like the primary instruments in both the 356 and original 911 Targa. Additionally, its Arabic hour indices are styled in typical Porsche block lettering, while the leather strap is produced from the same hides as those found in Porsche interiors.
This watch and the new 2021 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition are available to order now before arriving in Canada this fall. And yes, if you’ve read this far you definitely don’t have an American Express Centurion card, or you would’ve already placed your order.
Those that end up missing out on the 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition, yet still have some room left over on their platinum cards, should take a look at our recent overview of the 2021 911 Targa 4 and 4S (it only starts at $136,000), and then click on one of CarCostCanada’s 2019, 2020 or 2021 Porsche 911 Canada Prices pages to find out about available manufacturer rebates, financing and/or leasing deals, and otherwise hard to get dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands. Right now factory leasing and financing rates can be had from zero percent on all of the above model years. Knowledge is everything, and in this case a CarCostCanada membership is a small price to pay for all the savings coming your way. Also, make sure to download the new CarCostCanada app from Google Play Store or the Apple iTunes store.
Story credit: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Porsche
With the redesigned 992-generation Porsche 911 Coupe and Cabriolet body styles now widely available, and plenty of trims such as Carrera, Carrera S, Carrera 4, Carrera 4S, and Turbo S already on offer,…
With the redesigned 992-generation Porsche 911 Coupe and Cabriolet body styles now widely available, and plenty of trims such as Carrera, Carrera S, Carrera 4, Carrera 4S, and Turbo S already on offer, it was only a matter of time before a fresh new Targa appeared.
While originally sporting a silver roll hoop and large, curved rear window (although the first 1967 model, first introduced at the 1965 Frankfurt Motor Show, had a removable rear window made from plastic that was replaced with fixed glass in 1968), its roof has gone through a variety of changes. The roll bar wasn’t always wrapped in silver stainless steel as on the first generation, and the initial removable roof panel morphed into a power-sliding glass roof that tucked under the rear window on 1996–1998 993 models, this resulting in new sweptback C-pillars and similarly angular rear quarter windows.
Porsche revived that Targa design for the 2006–2012 997 version of this model, while adding hatchback access to the rear glass, but abandoned it for the 2016–2019 991.2 Targa which received a power-operated retractable hardtop-style roof mechanism that lifts the entire rear deck lid before hiding the roof panel below. This also allowed for a return to the original silver roll hoop Targa design, all of which carries forward into the all-new 2021 911 Targa. Lowering or raising the sophisticated roof takes a mere 19 seconds, incidentally, meaning that it’s easily accomplished while waiting for a red light.
Below the beltline the new Targa benefits from most of the new 992-generation Carrera Coupe and Convertible design cues, which means its hood and lower front fascia say goodbye to the outgoing 911’s combination of mostly body-colour oval shapes and hello to a nearly straight-cut, horizontal slit separating the former from the bodywork below, plus a broad, black rectangle on the latter becomes the first visual clue to its 992 designation that oncoming Porschephiles will take notice of.
Such gives the entire car a wider, more assertive stance, while the more angular hood now integrates classically tapered creases at each side of its indented centre, much like the original 911’s hood, albeit without a vented end. As for Porsche’s ovoid multi-element four-point LED headlamp clusters, they appear very similar to the outgoing model.
Thanks to the same three vertical slats on the new Targa’s B pillars, which also wear the classic scripted “targa” nameplate, the old and new cars’ profiles look almost identical at first glance. Closer inspection shows front and rear fascias that wrap farther around the side bodywork, slightly more upright headlamps, taillights that extend forward similarly to the rear bumper vents, modified front side marker lights, new chiseled wheel cutouts, fresh mirror caps, more sharply angled flush-mounted door handles that extend outward when touched (replacing the old model’s more classic rounded door pulls), and a much smoother rear deck lid, resulting a modern take on classic 911 Targa styling.
Those taillights come into clearer view when seen from behind, with the new model building on the old 991’s narrow dagger-like LED-infused lenses and even slimmer body-wide light strip by extending the latter farther outward to each side, and then grafting in some 718-sourced 3D-like graphics at centre, these above seemingly open vent slats below, while chiseling out even more linear lines for the outer lamps.
Like the Carrera, the Targa’s diffuser-infused lower rear bumper is bigger, bolder and blacker than before, plus it feeds exhaust tips from within rather than forcing them to exit underneath, while hidden beneath the new 911’s gently flowing rear deck lid, just above the aforementioned light strip and below a row of glossy black engine vent strakes, is a much wider and larger active spoiler featuring multiple positions for varying levels of rear downforce.
Excluding the bumpers, all 911 Targa body panels are now made from lightweight aluminum, while the front fenders were significantly lightened and the underlying body structure more than halves its steel content from 63 to 30 percent, with the 70 percent remaining now fully constructed from aluminum. All this dieting helps to improve structural rigidity, handling, fuel efficiency, and more.
New 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels come standard with the Targa 4, the former on 235/40 ZR-rated rubber and the latter on a wider set of 295/35 ZRs, while the Targa 4S receives staggered 20s and 21s wrapped in 245/35 ZRs and 305/30 ZRs respectively.
Like the Carreras and Turbos that launched earlier, the new Targa boasts an interior inspired by 911 models from the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and even the ‘90s, particularly the wide, horizontal dash design to the right of the traditionally arcing instrument hood, the former even incorporating a narrow shelf mimicking the lower edge of the original dashboard.
The gauge cluster follows Porsche’s classic layout, or at least this mostly digital design appears to. As it is, there’s only one mechanical dial at centre, the tachometer as always, with the four surrounding instruments integrated within two large TFT/LCD displays that can also show route guidance, audio, trip, and cruise information, etcetera. Specifically, the right-side display is for multi-information use as with the outgoing 991, while the left side includes a conventional looking speedometer in default mode or alternatively a number of new advanced driver assistive systems such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning, lane keeping assist, and more.
The aforementioned horizontal dash design houses a 3.9-inch larger 10.9-inch high-definition Porsche Communication Management (PCM) infotainment touchscreen with much greater depth of colour than its predecessor, as well as updated graphics, enhanced performance, and more functions from fewer physical buttons, plus most everything else already included with more recently redesigned Porsche models.
As far as trims go, the outgoing 911 Targa was available as a 4 and 4S throughout its tenure, plus as a Targa 4 GTS from 2017–2019, so it comes as no surprise that Porsche would choose to introduce the new 2021 Targa in 4 and 4S trims as well. While a more potent version will no doubt be on the way soon, for now the Targa 4 utilizes the 911’s 3.0-litre twin-turbo horizontally opposed six making 379 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, plus Porsche’s eight-speed Doppelkupplung (PDK) automated gearbox with steering wheel paddles as standard equipment (this new automatic improved by one forward gear over the previous Targa’s seven-speed PDK), resulting in 4.4 seconds from standstill to 100 km/h in base trim or 4.2 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package.
A seven-speed manual transmission is available as an option when choosing the Sport Chrono Package in the new 911 Targa 4S, which together with a more formidable 443 horsepower 3.0-litre six boasting 390 lb-ft of torque only manages to match the less powerful Targa 4’s 4.4-second sprint to 100 km/h due to the more efficient PDK transmission, but when the more powerful car is hooked up to its dual-clutch automated gearbox the Targa 4S is good for much more lively acceleration equaling 3.8 seconds in base trim and 3.6 with its Sport Chrono Package.
Just like the new all-wheel drive Carrera 4 and 4S models introduced earlier this year, the new Targa 4 and 4S use an innovative water-cooled front differential that incorporates reinforced clutches to increase load capacities and overall durability. When combined with standard Porsche Traction Management (PTM), the updated front axle drive system enhances the two Targa models’ traction in slippery conditions, while also improving performance in the dry.
Additionally, all 2021 911 Targa owners benefit from a new standard Wet mode added to the updated steering wheel-mounted drive mode selector, the unique technology automatically maintaining better control over watery or snowy road surfaces when engaged.
All new 911s receive standard autonomous emergency braking with moving object detection as well, improving safety further, while a high-definition backup camera and rear parking sensors are also on the standard equipment list.
Additionally standard, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) includes electronically variable dampers with both Normal and Sport settings, while Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus), standard with the Targa 4S, is now optional with the Targa 4, and features an electronic rear differential lock with fully variable torque distribution.
The Targa 4’s standard brake discs measure 330 millimetres front and rear, and feature black-painted monobloc fixed calipers with four pistons up front, whereas the Targa 4S model’s 350-mm calipers get a coat of bright red paint and utilize six pistons at the front. The Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB) system is optional, as are staggered front to rear 20- and 21-inch alloy wheels.
The all-new 2021 Porsche Targa 4 starts at $136,000 plus freight and fees, while the 2021 Targa 4 S can be had for $154,100. Both can now be ordered at your local Porsche retailer.
To learn more about all the 2020 Carrera models and 2021 Turbos, check out CarCostCanada’s 2020 Porsche 911 Canada Prices page and 2021 Porsche 911 Canada Prices page (the 911 Targa and 2021 Carrera models will be added when Canadian-spec details are made available), where you can configure each model and trim with available options, plus find out about valuable rebate info, manufacturer financing and leasing rates (currently available from zero percent), and otherwise difficult to ascertain dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands.
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Porsche
Make sure to check out our gallery above, and the following four videos (Dreamcatcher filmed in Vancouver) that show the power-operated roof (and car) in action:
The new Porsche 911 Targa (1:07):
The new Porsche 911 Targa – Dreamcatcher (1:21):
Virtual world premiere: The new Porsche 911 Targa (3:53):
The 911 Targa – the timeline of a Porsche legend (2:15):
Porsche introduced its 2021 911 Turbo S Coupe and Cabriolet just two months ago, and now we’re getting a look at what’s in store for 911 Carrera, Carrera S, and Carrera 4S trims. The latter two S…
The latter two S trims will finally be getting a seven-speed manual gearbox, which by 2019 standards would mean these models will be dropping in price by $3,660, being that 2020 models made the new eight-speed dual-clutch automated PDK transmission standard, but European models will merely make the manual a no-cost option, so we’ll have to wait until Porsche Canada announces pricing in a few months to find out which direction they’ve chosen.
Speaking of PDK-equipped 911s, Porsche will offer 2021 examples InnoDrive adaptive cruise control that, in addition to being able to follow the vehicle ahead without the driver needing to manually modulate speed, can also maintain set speed limits automatically and slow down autonomously when approaching corners.
A tire temperature readout gauge for the Sport Chrono Package is also new for 2021, as is Smartlift, an available front axle-lift feature that will raise the 911’s front end in order to clear large speed bumps and steep driveways. Better yet, Smartlift gets its intelligent name from having a memory feature capable of storing a location where the front end has been lifted and then remembering to do so again automatically next time you arrive.
Additionally, just in case you weren’t quite sure whether Porsche was still a purist’s sports car brand and not just another luxury carmaker, you can now order your 2021 911 Carrera with a lightweight glass package that reduces mass up higher in the car and therefore lowers its centre of gravity to improve handling. This said you could choose thicker insulated glass instead, which has been designed to reduce interior noise for a more comfortable drive.
A new retrospective leather upholstery upgrade package should also be popular for both Coupe and Cabriolet body styles, as it pulls styling cues from the now classic 930-era 911 Turbo. Porsche introduced it as standard equipment for the aforementioned 2021 Turbo S.
To make the ordering process easier to understand, Porsche renamed its seven-colour Light Design Package to the more self-explanatory Ambient Lighting Package, while Python Green has joined the Carrera’s exterior paint palette for 2021, this colour previously available for the 911 Turbo S and 718 Cayman GTS 4.0.
Story credit: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Porsche
Porsche introduced two production versions of its fabulous Taycan EV last month, but some would-be buyers might have found the $173,900 and $213,900 prices of the respective Turbo and Turbo S prohibitively…
Porsche introduced two production versions of its fabulous Taycan EV last month, but some would-be buyers might have found the $173,900 and $213,900 prices of the respective Turbo and Turbo S prohibitively out of reach. Fortunately there’s a more affordable version of the much celebrated new Porsche on the way, with a base price that’s much closer to the $108,990 needed for an entry-level Tesla Model S, the Taycan 4S shown here merely costing $119,400 plus destination.
The new 4S gets the Taycan’s stylish four-door coupe design and appears to provide the same high-end interior, the reason for its near $100k discount from the top-line Taycan Turbo S being performance. Instead of a maximum of 750 horsepower, 774 lb-ft of torque, and a launch control-assisted 2.8-second sprint from standstill to 100 km/h for the Turbo S, or the still incredible 671 horsepower, 627 lb-ft of torque, and 3.2-second run to 100 km/h for the Turbo, the new Taycan 4S uses a 522 horsepower motor/battery combination with 472 lb-ft of torque to reach 100 km/h in 4.0 seconds flat.
What’s more, an available Performance Battery Plus package boosts output to 562 horsepower and torque to 479 lb-ft for a fractionally faster zero to 100 km/h time, but Porsche only shows how this upgrade improves the Taycan 4S’ standing start to 160 km/h, upping an already impressive 8.7-second run to 8.5 seconds. Top speed of both variants is limited to 250 km/h, 30 km/h down on Turbo and Turbo S terminal velocities.
Embedded within the floor of new Taycan 4S is a 79.2-kWh high-voltage lithium-ion battery with enough stored energy for 407 km (253 miles) of range on the European WLTP rating system, whereas the upgraded 93.4-kWh Performance Plus battery allows for 463 km (288 miles) of estimated range. This compares well with the Taycan Turbo’s claimed 388 to 412 km (241 to 256 mile) range and the Turbo S model’s estimated 388 to 412 km (241 to 256 mile) range.
All Taycan trims use an industry-first 800-volt electrical architecture that makes recharging faster, thanks to a charge rate of 225 kW for the Performance Battery or 270 kW for the Performance Battery Plus, which makes it possible to refill from five to 80 percent in only 22.5 minutes no matter the trim. Standard 400-volt high-speed DC charging occurs at 50 kW, while an available booster increases the charge rate to 150 kW. You can use the standard AC charger for topping the Taycan up at any J1772 compatible charge station, or simply plug it in at home, but you’ll be waiting a very long time to accomplish the task.
Porsche makes charging even easier with the Taycan’s new Charging Planner, which can plot a given course by factoring in the best places to recharge along the way. For instance, it can choose a faster 270-kW charge station that can save you time over a regular 50-kW DC charger, even if the quicker charger requires a slight detour from the otherwise shortest route. Additionally, the Charging Planner preconditions the battery to 20°C, optimal for faster charging.
The Taycan 4S utilizes the same all-wheel drive layout as its more potent trim lines, including front and rear axle-mounted permanently excited synchronous motors and a two-speed transmission in back, while Porsche’s centrally-networked 4D Chassis Control system provides real-time analysis and synchronization for the Taycan’s standard electronic damper control Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) enhanced three-chamber adaptive air suspension, which promises superb handling.
Porsche also hopes to achieve better reliability than its main rival Tesla, by incorporating a special hairpin winding technique to the stators’ copper solenoid coils, thus providing a copper fill factor of 70 percent compared to 45 percent when wound the traditional way, all resulting in improved performance and cooler running.
You can keep tabs on its mechanical status via a fully digital primary gauge cluster packed full of colourful high-definition graphics yet housed in a free-standing, curved design that pulls plenty of stylistic cues from Porsche’s storied 911 past, while the Taycan 4S’ 10.9-inch standard capacitive touchscreen, integrated within the top portion of the centre stack, is at the cutting edge of in-car infotainment. Most buyers will likely ante up for the available front passenger display that continues the digital experience right across the instrument panel, this feature first shown when the Taycan Turbo and Turbo S debuted.
Standard Taycan 4S features include White or Black exterior paint, a unique front fascia, black painted side skirts and rear diffuser, LED headlights with Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus (PDLS Plus), 19-inch five-spoke Taycan S Aero alloy wheels, red-painted six-piston front and four-piston rear brake calipers (instead of the yellow ones used for the Turbo and Turbo S) clamping down on 360-mm front and 358-mm rear rotors, regenerative brakes (with a maximum regenerative force of 0.39 g and recuperation of up to 265 kWh), proximity-sensing keyless access, ambient interior lighting, partial leather upholstery, front comfort seats with eight-way powered adjustment and driver’s memory, plus more, but take note this base car won’t be produced until June of 2020. Until then, the $1,690 panoramic glass sunroof replaces the standard aluminum roof. The Porsche Mobile Charger Plus option won’t be available initially either, leaving the standard Porsche Mobile Charger Connect system for early adopters.
Taycan 4S options include a host of $910 metallic colours (including the Frozen Blue launch colour shown in the photos, plus vibrant Mamba Green and stunning Gentian Blue) and one $3,590 special colour (Carmine Red), plus two sets of 20-inch alloy wheels and three 21-inch rims ranging from $2,710 to $10,010, while its black partial leather cabin can be upgraded to $4,710 black or multiple $5,360 two-tone leather interiors, $7,490 solid or $8,150 two-tone Club leather motifs, or alternatively a Porsche-first $4,710 solid or $5,360 two-tone leather-free Race-Tex interior upgrade, that latter duo including innovative recycled materials for less environmental impact.
The new Taycan should be whispery quiet on the highway thanks to a 0.22 coefficient of drag, while its slippery aerodynamics should minimize high-speed energy use as well.
Those wishing Porsche had created a taller more crossover-styled model instead of the low-slung four-door coupe they actually built will be happy to learn the SUV coupe-styled Cross Turismo is scheduled to arrive next year. It’s designed to go head to head with the Tesla Model X, Jaguar I-Pace and any others that dare compete, so stay tuned.
Back to the here and now, the new 2020 Taycan 4S can currently be ordered through your local Porsche retailer, with its Canadian arrival date set for the summer of 2020.
To anyone interested in purchasing a sport sedan from a premium brand or something from the even sportier four-door coupe category, Porsche’s Panamera needs no introduction. It’s one of, if not the…
To anyone interested in purchasing a sport sedan from a premium brand or something from the even sportier four-door coupe category, Porsche’s Panamera needs no introduction. It’s one of, if not the sportiest ways to get around with four doors, while its elegantly raked rear liftback makes it one of the more practical entries in its category too.
This relatively new market sector has expanded considerably since Mercedes-Benz launched the CLS-Class 15 years ago, with the original Panamera first to compete in 2009, the Audi A7 and Aston Martin Rapide following in 2010, and BMW finally showing up with its 6 Series Gran Coupe in 2012. Ideally timed with the latter Bavarian model’s imminent demise and the upcoming 2020 8 Series Gran Coupe’s arrival, Mercedes is now tripling down in this low-slung viertürig segment with a new higher-priced GT 4-Door Coupe model that will soon join up with the recently redesigned second-generation CLA and third-gen CLS, so it’s not as if this category’s expansion is slowing, at least when it comes to entries. As for sales, it remains stronger than the more traditional luxury sedan segment.
While some low-volume offerings have spiced things up along the way, such as the limited production (120 units) Rapide-based 2015 to 2016 Lagonda Taraf that was priced at a cool $1 million-plus, possibly even more interesting is the success of smaller entries from Mercedes, BMW and Audi that have pulled the sleek body style down market almost as far as VW’s CC (now the much more appealing Arteon) and Kia’s stronger selling Stinger.
Bridging the massive gap between the $40k range and one million-plus, Lamborghini has long toyed with the idea of launching something in this sector, the stunning Estoque concept ruthlessly teasing the supercar world with production rumours for years, while talk of a more rakishly penned Bentley four-door has been circulating the interweb for almost as long. Both make loads of sense being they could utilize the Panamera’s underpinnings and hard points, Bentley already sharing Volkswagen Group’s MSB architecture for the new Continental and Flying Spur, but for the time being those in the $300,000-plus crowd will need to remain satisfied with a fully loaded Panamera.
And yes, if you completely load up a top-line Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Executive you’ll be paying in excess of $320k, and its glossy black SportDesign Package enhanced exterior will wear an exclusive colour with matching wheels, its upgraded interior will boast softer, plusher leather nearly everywhere that’s not already covered with hardwood or carbon fibre, and every technology will be included.
I drove a regular wheelbase version of that new for 2018 model last year (check out the four-model review here), the Turbo S E-Hybrid outrageously quick thanks to a once unfathomable (for a hybrid) 680 (net) horsepower, while I put last year’s new wagon-like Sport Turismo body style through its paces as well (again, see it here), albeit that car was motivated by the very same 440-horsepower twin-turbo V6 powerplant found in the Panamera 4S seen on this page.
Moving into 2019, other than small pricing bumps across the line nothing has changed with any of the cars mentioned thus far, the version shown here exactly as it was for the 2017 model year when the second-generation Panamera arrived on the scene. This said, 2019 hasn’t been without additions to the Panamera lineup, thanks to a special 453-horsepower twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8-powered GTS model now slotting between this 4S and the Panamera Turbo in both price and performance (see my overview of the 2019 Panamera GTS here), the car I’m reviewing now starting at $119,600, the new GTS at $147,400, and the Turbo at $174,200.
Unfortunately no GTS was available at the time of testing, leaving me with the first-world problem of this less potent 4S. Still, it produces 110 more ponies than the 330-horsepower base Panamera (read my review of this model here), and sends them to all four wheels, hence the “4” in its designation. The gurgling exhaust note is sensational in Sport mode, crackling and popping at liftoff, although rest assured its Jekyll and Hyde personality provides luxurious quietude when the drive mode selector is set to default.
Its seemingly perfect balance between serene opulence and raucous tomfoolery is the Panamera’s best asset, no other four-door providing its ground-hugging sports car like performance along with such a rarified level of highbrow pampering. It bucks against today’s ride ‘em high SUV trend, Porsche offering its Cayenne (see a 2019 Cayenne Buyer’s Guide overview here), new Cayenne Coupe, and Macan for those wanting performance with a view, the Panamera instead coming across like the ultimate gentrified SoCal low-rider without the hopping and bopping suspension.
That’s the thing. It slices through fast-paced corners like nothing so large has ever been able to before, yet its ride quality is surprisingly smooth. Whether suffering through inner-city laneways, inundated with poorly paved railroad crossings and ill-engineered bridge expansion joints, or tackling a circuitous back road filled with broken tarmac, the Panamera provides plenty of suspension travel for soaking up the worst bumps and ruts without getting unsettled. Of course its compliance or firmness depends on the trim and wheel options chosen, but I’ve driven every grade besides the new GTS, and all combine racetrack-worthy performance with a level of comfort I’d be happy to live with daily.
My test model’s optional Satin Platinum finished 21-inch alloys on 275/35 front and 315/30 rear Pirelli Cinturato P7 performance rubber are the largest on offer, so it wasn’t as if I was temporarily whisked away on the velvet carpet ride of the base 4S model’s standard 19s, the exact same 265/45 front and 295/40 rear ZRs used for the most entry-level of Panameras, incidentally, which can be had for just $99,300.
That more luxury-oriented model might not be the quickest in the line, but it still provides a spirited 5.7-second sprint from standstill to 100 km/h or 5.5 seconds with the available Sport Chrono Package, while my tester reduces such stoplight shenanigans, er… such professionally sanctioned launch tests on privately owned drag strips to just 4.4 or 4.2 seconds respectively. Likewise the 4S continues charging onward and upward to 160 km/h in just 10.3 seconds, shaving 3.3 seconds from the base model’s zero to 160 km/h time, all before topping out at 289 km/h, an amazing 25 km/h faster terminal track velocity than the entry Panamera.
As exciting as all this sounds there are still much quicker Panameras on offer, the new GTS doing the initial deed in 4.1 seconds, the Turbo blasting past in just 3.8 seconds, and the Turbo S E-Hybrid needing a mere 3.4, while top speeds rise commensurately, the latter model capable of 310 km/h if you can find a track with a long enough straight to test it on, but suffice to say this Panamera 4S performs better than most sport sedans, its new eight-speed dual-clutch PDK gearbox delivering quick, smooth, paddle-actuated shifts, and torque-vectoring all-wheel drive maintaining awe-inspiring grip in all weather conditions, while it looks just as sensational when blurring past at high speeds as when cruising through town.
As I glossed over earlier, the inky black exterior accents don’t come standard, but my tester’s darkened trim contrasted the white paint beautifully. Satin silver and/or bright metal embellishment is the norm, or alternatively you can paint out the mirror caps, door handles, badges, etcetera, in glossy black. Inside, the possibilities are nearly limitless, but the Panamera’s incredibly fine attention to high-quality details, including the best of composites and leathers, optional woods, aluminum or carbon fibre, and digital interfaces that are so high in resolution it’s as if you can stick your hand right into the depths of their beautifully deep, rich contrasted screens and graphically illustrated artistry.
Yes, this is as good as digitization gets in the automotive realm, whether staring at the classic five-dial Porsche instrument cluster, its centre circle being the only analogue component in an otherwise colourful array of displays, the left-side screen for more driving related information and the one on the right being a comprehensive multi-information unit, or alternatively letting your fingers do the walking over the wide centre infotainment touchscreen, which comes close to 3D when viewing the navigation map. All the expected gesture controls make this as easy to use as a smartphone or tablet, and speaking of your personal device of choice it now syncs up to either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, while providing all of the functions expected in this class including an as-tested overhead camera that, together with audible and visual fore and aft sensors, makes parking much easier.
Most controls on the sloping centre console are touch sensitive, requiring a subtle push and click to engage. All the switchgear feels extremely high in quality, a real solid piece of work. The surrounding surface is relatively easy to keep clean thanks to a black glass-like smartphone treatment, although the piano black lacquered trim found throughout my tester, especially the section on the ashtray at the very base of that lower console, was always covered in muck, dust and what have you. Fortunately you can opt for any number of surface treatment substitutes that look cleaner even when dirty, although there’s something to be said for being able to easily see what needs cleaning for the sake of keeping things sanitary.
Ahead of the driver is one of the best leather-wrapped sport steering wheels in the industry. I love the narrow spokes, hollowed out for an even lighter, more sporting look, while the integrated buttons and scrolling knurled metal dials are superbly crafted with wonderful tight fitment and ideal damping. As usual the heated steering wheel button hides within the base of the third spoke, a smart design for sure, albeit some might find it easy to switch on or off when spinning the wheel. This said it comes on automatically when starting up, or likewise stays off, depending on its settings.
My tester included three-way heated and cooled front seats, plus a fabulous optional 710-watt 15-speaker (including sub) Bose Centerpoint 14-channel surround audio system that only gets upstaged by the 1,455-watt 22-speaker (including a 400-watt active sub) Burmester 3D High-End Surround system (I’ve tested this before and it’s out of this world). This said my test model did not include the aforementioned Sport Chrono Package, so therefore was shy 0.2 seconds of sprint time (not that I noticed), plus its centre dash top-mounted clock merely provided a lovely looking black face with white numerals and indices, rather than the chronometer version with digital displays used for lap timing, et al.
Then again, thanks to a full rear console with a massive high-definition touchscreen of its own, plus three-way heated rear seat switchgear, dual rear automatic climate controls for a four-way system front to back, powered-side and rear window sunshades, plus a massive dual-pane panoramic sunroof overhead, not to mention the model’s usual snug fitting bucket seats that are as comfortable and supportive behind as they are up front, I’m not sure whether I would’ve rather driven or been chauffeured in my particular test model, but not requiring the funds or available friend for the latter I enjoyed a quiet sojourn in back while taking notes, and otherwise took care of all driving duties without complaint.
Let’s be reasonable here. The Panamera is now so good in every way it’s impossible to find much fault. Certainly the rear seating area is not as accommodating as an S-Class, but no matter which Panamera model I’ve tested, I’ve never had a problem fitting comfortably within, and remember that Porsche offers the longer-wheelbase Executive version for those who occasionally transport larger family members or friends, which means you don’t have to give up gorgeous design and ultimate performance in order to maintain a practical lifestyle.
That last point pretty well sums up the Porsche Panamera, and with such a wide variety of trims, packages and options, all available to review in detail at CarCostCanada, where you can also find out about available manufacturer rebates as well as dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands, the 2019 Panamera offers something for nearly every sport-luxury car buyer.
Who could have known? Porsche 911 owners drive too fast. Even in the wet. With such knowledge at hand it only made sense for the German luxury brand to protect its most valuable assets, the thousands…
Who could have known? Porsche 911 owners drive too fast. Even in the wet. With such knowledge at hand it only made sense for the German luxury brand to protect its most valuable assets, the thousands of dedicated customers that loyally come back time and time again to renew their pledge at the 911 altar.
Along with the introduction of the completely redesigned 2020 911 at the Los Angeles auto show in November of last year, Porsche announced a new Wet Mode designed to assist would-be owners that get over their heads in standing water.
As it turns out, the deep end that can cause a 911 or most any other sports car shod in ultra-wide 21-inch performance tires to lose grip can be merely a single millimetre (0.04 inches) in depth, and it doesn’t need to be raining either, so don’t think the optical sensors used for your car’s rain-sensing wipers can be reallocated to detect sheets of water covering the road.
Porsche’s new Wet Mode can detect standing water, however, via acoustic sensors positioned within the front wheel arches just behind the tires. Rather than see water on the road, Wet Mode sensors listen for water spray, and if decibel levels get too strong the 911’s multi-information display will suggest you turn on Wet mode via a button on the new “button bar” above the centre console, or if equipped with the available Sport Chrono Package, by twisting the steering wheel-mounted “DRIVE MODE” selector.
That would be the rotating dial and “Sport Response” button just below the steering wheel’s right-side spoke, which can also be used to select “Normal”, “Sport”, ‘Sport Plus’ and ‘Individual’ driving modes. For the 2020 911, and without doubt more Porsche models to come, it also includes the new Wet mode, allowing drivers to select a safer setting when traveling over water-soaked pavement that could cause aquaplaning, or hydroplaning.
“Wet Mode was developed to provide the driver with consistent support in wet conditions,” said August Achleitner, a.k.a. “Mister 911” who headed up development of the new 911 and took part in its launch just before retiring. “It does not restrict the maximum power of the engine or limit the top speed, and should therefore also not be used as insurance for driving too fast in very wet conditions. Instead, it should be seen as an assistance system in the truest sense.”
Achleitner, who’s been with Porsche since 1983, earned his alternate title by being responsible for 911 model series development since 2001, and interestingly Wet mode was actually first developed back in the ‘90s.
When put into play, Wet mode applies more sensitive preconditioned settings to all of the 911’s driver assistive systems, such as Porsche Stability Management (PSM), Porsche Traction Management (PTM), and the car’s active aerodynamics, before combining their collective capability toward wet weather management. Specifically, the active variable rear spoiler extends to its performance position at just 90 km/h (sooner than in dry conditions), adding downforce to the rear tires, while frontal cooling air flaps open to increase downward pressure over the front wheels.
While the engine doesn’t relinquish any power, Wet mode delivers thrust more evenly in order to minimize engine torque buildup, with the end result being maximum traction at each wheel. What’s more, if piloting an all-wheel drive 4S model, additional torque gets transferred to the front axle for even more balanced distribution.
Of course, both Sport mode and the PSM Off function can’t be activated in Wet mode, while the new eight-speed PDK transmission’s shift strategy and the electronically controlled rear differential’s locking ratios automatically adapt to a smoother, more linear power delivery too.
Porsche claims “more confident handling” when using Wet mode in inclement conditions, and also states that Wet mode is ideal for snowy conditions as well.
While driver assistive technology this effective would be welcome in any car, it’s especially important in a sports car as capable as the new 911 that, thanks to 443 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque behind the rear axle, can sprint from standstill to 100km/h in just 3.7 seconds in Carrera S guise, or 3.6 seconds when benefiting from the Carrera 4S model’s all-wheel drivetrain, or 3.5 and 3.4 seconds respectively with the Sport Chrono Package, before attaining top speeds of 308 and 306 km/h (190 and 191 mph) apiece.
To learn more about the new 2020 911’s Wet mode watch the video below, and also remember to browse through our photo gallery above for some fabulous shots of water spraying behind the new 911 during wet weather testing.
Learn how the Porsche Wet Mode works (1:43):
You’d need to go back a very long way to find a year that Porsche’s 911 wasn’t the best-selling premium branded sports car in Canada or the U.S., and 2018 won’t be any different once the final…
You’d need to go back a very long way to find a year that Porsche’s 911 wasn’t the best-selling premium branded sports car in Canada or the U.S., and 2018 won’t be any different once the final numbers are tallied and compared to its closest rivals.
Year-to-date third-quarter Canadian-market results showed the 911 at 1,083 units and the next best-selling Audi TT at 366, while the more directly competitive Jaguar F-Type came in at just 347 deliveries. It’s really no contest, with some others that might be deemed rivals including the Audi R8 with 208 unit sales, the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT at 195 deliveries and SL at 140, and the Acura NSX with just 33.
With numbers like these it’s no wonder the majority of competitors don’t redesign their sports car models very often and aren’t offering many special editions either, but Porsche has enough market strength to do both. In fact, the 2019 911 currently available offers three totally unique roof systems, various front and rear fascia designs, differing fender widths, visual body style/performance upgrades such as rear-fender engine ducts, rear- and all-wheel drivetrains, manual and dual-clutch automated transmissions, a host of engine options from 370 to 700 horsepower, a wide assortment of trims for almost every premium-level budget, and options enough to boggle the mind.
If that weren’t enough, Porsche just introduced the all-new eighth-generation 2020 911, which will become available here this coming summer. They’ve only announced pricing for two models so far, the $129,100 911 Carrera S (C2S) and the $137,400 911 Carrera 4S (C4S), the first rear-wheel drive and the latter all-wheel drive, but more models are set to arrive later this year.
From side profile the 2020 911 looks a lot like the car it’s replacing, but this has more or less been reality since the car went from an air-cooled rear-mounted flat-six to a water-cooled variant back in 1999. Porsche has always been more about year-over-year refinement than change for change’s sake, and therefore we have a 2020 model that mirrors the 2019 from some angles.
This said the visual modifications are plentiful enough to cause consternation amongst traditionalists, or at least tempered pause. For starters, the hood and lower front fascia have departed from the car’s usual combination of mostly body-colour oval shapes to an almost straight, horizontal slit separating the former from the bodywork below, and a broad black rectangle for the latter, giving the entire car a wider, more aggressive albeit not necessarily as elegant stance, similar in concept to the frontal change made to the once technologically-tied, and in recent decades more purposely retrospective VW Beetle (A5), when it lost its “New” moniker in 2011, not that I’m trying to compare either car directly.
As for design cues pulled up from the internally-codenamed 991 series (2012–2019) seventh-generation model to this 992 series car, the just noted squared-off hood now includes classically tapered creases at each side of its indented centre, just like the original 911 albeit without a vented end, while Porsche intelligently left the outer design of its ovoid multi-element four-point LED headlamp clusters unmolested, a lesson learned when the aforementioned 1999 996’s Boxster-inspired L-shaped lamps ventured too far from 911 orthodoxy.
As noted, the two cars look nearly identical from side profile excepting the previously noted front and rear fascia vents and surrounding bodywork, plus slightly more upright headlamps, reverse front side marker lights, more chiseled wheel cutouts, new mirror caps, new sharply angled flush-mounted door handles that extend outward when touched replacing the old model’s more classic rounded pulls, a much smoother rear deck lid, and taillights that now wrap around the bodyside more fully.
When seen from behind those taillights come into clearer view, with the new model building on the 991’s narrow dagger-like LED-infused lenses and even slimmer body-wide light strip (previously only found on all-wheel drive models) by extending the latter further outward to each side, and then at centre grafting in some 718-sourced 3D-like graphics above seemingly open vent slats underneath, while chiseling out even more linear lines for the outer lamps.
The diffuser-infused lower bumper is bigger, bolder and blacker than before too, plus it feeds faux exhaust tips from within rather than appearing like they’re forced to exit below (which actually remains the case), while hidden within the new 911’s gently flowing rear deck lid, just above the aforementioned light strip and below a row of glossy black engine vent strakes, is a much wider and larger active spoiler featuring multiple positions for varying levels of rear downforce.
Of course, there will be many variations on the new 911 theme, some including a fixed rear spoiler for an even more expressive and capable trailing edge, plus various fascia designs nose to tail, but all body panels are now made from lightweight aluminum, bumpers excluded. In reality only the front fenders were lightened, being that most of the 991’s skin was already alloy, the change saving between 10 and 15 kilos (22 and 33 lbs) depending on the model, but take note the underlying body structure halves steel content from 63 to 30 percent, with the remaining 70 percent now fully constructed from aluminum, all of which will help to improve structural rigidity, handling, fuel efficiency, and more.
As noted earlier, the first models to be introduced are the Carrera S and 4S shown on this page. Compared to the previous generation this all-new model is not only visually wider due to styling, but actually grows by 45 mm (1.8 inches) at the front wheels. What’s more, its rear flanks have widened by 44 mm (1.7 in) to 1,852 mm (72.9 in), this being identical in width to the outgoing GTS model. New 20-inch front and 21-inch rear wheels come standard with S-enhanced Carreras, the former on 245/35 ZR-rated rubber and the latter on a mighty set of 305/30 ZRs—base 911s will get a staggered set of 19s and 20s.
Despite all the extra aluminum used in the new body and chassis, both new C2S and C4S models add 55 kilos (121 lbs) of unladen weight, according to the Porsche Canada retail site, with the outgoing 2019 Carrera S hitting the scales at 1,460 kilograms (3,219 lbs) compared to the 2020 model’s 1,515 kg (3,340 lbs), and the old Carrera 4S weighing in at 1,510 kg (3,329 lbs) compared to 1,565 kg (3,450 lbs) for the redesigned car.
At first glance that extra weight shouldn’t have much if anything to do with the powertrain, because the new car’s horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine once again displaces 3.0 litres. It’s heavily reworked, mind you, with somewhat weightier cast-iron headers replacing the old mill’s stamped steel manifolds resulting in freer flowing exhaust, plus an entirely new and pricier piezo injection system for more precise fuel delivery, a fresh set of turbochargers pulled from the outgoing GTS powerplant, and a single new intercooler that’s now housed centrally on the 992’s backside instead of the two previously hidden within the 991’s rear fenders.
The improvements allow for a higher 10.5:1 compression ratio, up from 10.0:1, which combine for a 23-horsepower and 22-lb-ft advantage over the outgoing C2S and C4S, with thrust now rated at 443 horsepower and twist at 390 lb-ft of torque, resulting in 3.7 seconds from standstill to 100km/h for the former and 3.6 seconds for the latter, or 3.5 and 3.4 seconds respectively with the Sport Chrono Package added, while top speeds are set to 308 and 306 km/h (190 and 191 mph) apiece. Incidentally, the base engine, which keeps the same turbos as last year’s car, increases output by 15 horsepower to 385.
You may have noticed there were no differing times between manual and automatic transmissions, this because 2020 C2S and C4S trims will initially come standard with Porsche’s new eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automated transmission, up one gear from the outgoing automatic, with a mostly unchanged seven-speed manual gearbox expected later in the year.
The new eight-speed PDK was first introduced in the recently updated Panamera, and despite initially being housed in such a large model, was chosen for the 911 due to space improvements. The gearbox doubles its shafts for a shorter, more compact design, even leaving room for a future electric motor when fitted to a similarly sized housing. This means we should expect a plug-in hybrid version of the 911 sometime in the not-too-distant future, and if the just noted Panamera is anything to go by, it’ll one day be the most potent form of 911 available.
As always, the updated PDK comes with standard steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, but this time they’re an absolute must because Porsche has replaced the old model’s conventional shift lever with a tiny little electronically actuated nub, saving enough centre console space for a cupholder while modernizing the interior design. Most won’t complain, even old-schoolers wanting to adjust the audio system’s volume and swap stations/tracks via rotating knobs, which can both still be found on the same lower console.
All adjustments are now displayed on a 3.9-inch larger 10.9-inch infotainment touchscreen that also gets better resolution quality and greater depth of colour than its predecessor, plus updated graphics, improved performance, more functions from fewer physical buttons, and most everything else already included with more recently redesigned Porsche models. This said the instrument panel housing all of the above pays much respect to 911s of the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, and yes even the ‘90s, all of which were only slight adaptations of the same horizontal theme until the aforementioned 996 arrived in 1999. The new IP even incorporates a narrow shelf that mimics the lower edge of the classic dashboard, this one potentially more functional, if attaching car-sized Pokemon or Hello Kitty action figures—sigh, I’ve seen these in Ferraris, Lamborghinis and McLarens too.
Even the comparatively radical 996 didn’t stray too far from the sacrosanct original when it came to organizing its primary gauge cluster, but this time around Porsche went so far as to visually separate each dial like the earlier cars, instead of letting their circular edges bleed into each other. Nevertheless, there’s only one mechanical gauge at centre, the tachometer as always, with the four surrounding dials held in place via virtual reality thanks to large TFT/LCD displays that are also capable of showing route guidance, audio, trip, and cruise information, plus more. Specifically, the right side incorporates the multi-information display as with the 991, whereas the left portion shows a conventional looking speedometer in default mode or the various new advanced driver assistance systems including adaptive cruise control, blindspot warning, lane keeping assist, etcetera.
Being that the 2020 CS and C4S are not yet available we aren’t able to build them in Porsche’s online configurator, but we already know that 18-way adaptive sports seats will be optional, as will a 360-degree surround parking camera that should look fabulous on the new widescreen display, plus new Night Vision Assist that will provide visual assistance for steering clear of pedestrians or animals in the dark via a heat-sensing thermal imaging camera.
We’ve also been told that C2S and C4S brake-rotor sizes and calipers continue forward unchanged from the outgoing models, but new Porsche Surface Coated Brakes (PSCB), which were introduced last year on the new Cayenne, will now be available with the 2020 911. PSCB adds a hardened tungsten-carbide layer to friction surfaces to enhance stopping performance, while they’re said to last longer than conventional cast iron brakes and reduce dust. The calipers will boast bright white paint to separate them from those used for the standard braking system.
Speaking of standard, a new Wet mode detects as little as one millimetre (0.04 inches) of standing water on the road before alerting the driver, who then has the option of adjusting to a more sensitive stability control setting that’s been added to a new version of the same rotating steering wheel-mounted driving mode selector found in the 991. The new 911 will also get standard autonomous emergency braking with moving object detection.
So when can you get the new 2020 Porsche 911 of your choice? As noted the Carrera S and Carrera 4S coupes with the automated PDK gearbox will be first to arrive this summer, after initially launching in Europe. Shortly thereafter we’ll receive Cabriolet versions of the same C2S and C4S models, while later this year we’ll get the base Carrera and Carrera 4 with both manual and PDK transmissions, the former of which should also become available with S models. We can expect the new 992 Turbo to show up at the end of the year, with other models arriving in 2020. Porsche retailers are now placing orders for the Carrera S and 4S.
While you’re waiting to take one for a drive in person, make sure to check out our comprehensive photo gallery above and all of the videos we’ve provided below, the first of which is the 42-minute premiere program that covers every historical 911 era:
The new Porsche 911 world premiere. LIVE from L.A. (42:00):
The new Porsche 911. Timeless machine. (1:24):
The new Porsche 911: Highlight Video. (2:35):
The new Porsche 911: Exterior & Interior Design. (1:09):
The new Porsche 911: First Driving Footage. (0:59):