The Goodwood Festival of Speed, based in Chichester, West Sussex, has become the U.K.’s must-go annual event for everything automotive. This year’s weekend extravaganza, held from June 23-26, provided…
The Goodwood Festival of Speed, based in Chichester, West Sussex, has become the U.K.’s must-go annual event for everything automotive. This year’s weekend extravaganza, held from June 23-26, provided the perfect opportunity for Porsche to release its sensational new LMDh class race car as well.
The new LMDh class, which was co-created by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) in the U.S., Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) in France, and the Paris-based motorsports regulating and sanctioning body Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), will hit the track next year as part of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (U.S.) and the FIA World Endurance Championship (Europe), with Porsche’s new 963 joining LMDh competitors from Acura, Alpine, BMW, Cadillac, and Lamborghini.
963 project an international affair thanks to American and Canadian ties
The new 963 will be fielded by Mooresville, N.C.’s Penske Motorsport, one of the best-known names in motorsport. Porsche and Penske previously partnered up from 2005 to 2008, driving the Stuttgart-brand’s RS Spyder in bright yellow DHL colours as part of the LMP2 sports car class. This time, however, the 963 will wear Porsche Motorsport’s traditional red, white, and black livery.
The new 963’s chassis comes from Multimatic in Markham, Ontario, Canada, while the power unit destined to hit top speeds on Le Mans’ Mulsanne Straight or around turn 12 and past the finish line of the Daytona International Speedway will be 100-percent pure Porsche, making the new 963 an international project.
That hybrid power unit is an in-house-produced electrified V8, boasting a lineage that goes back to Porsche’s 918 Spyder hybrid supercar, which itself is based on the aforementioned RS Spyder. The 918 saw the internal combustion (ICE) portion of its power unit grow from 3.4 litres (in the RS) to 4.6 litres, which is exactly the same displacement as found in the new 963, although the updated V8 ups the performance ante with twin turbos instead of the street car’s natural aspiration. The end result is 670 horsepower, which makes it slightly less potent than the maximum allowed output in the new LMDh class.
Strong lineup of Porsche works drivers to target victories and championship
Development driver Frédéric Makowiecki has already driven the 963 some 8,000 test kilometres (4,900 miles), and now Penske Motorsport utilize a team of eight Porsche works drivers for sim and track testing, which will include Dane Cameron, Matt Campbell, Michael Christensen, Kévin Estre, Mathieu Jaminet, André Lotterer, Felipe Nasr, and Laurens Vanthoor. After testing is complete, Team Penske will see how it holds up in a non-competitive outing at the 8 Hours of Bahrain in November, thanks to the FIA allowing 2023 entries to run non-ranked races at 2022 events.
The Bahrain race will no doubt be critical for real world testing purposes and important for team building too, but Team Penske will need to wait until January 21 to 23 at the 24 Hours of Daytona for the 963’s first opportunity to achieve points, at which time Porsche has also promised to offer 963 customer cars.
To clarify, the customers in question are independent racing teams capable of competing in the same FIA-sanctioned events, not Porsche enthusiasts hoping for a modified 963 road car.
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Porsche
Porsche introduced its exciting new 718 T trim line to the European market last year, and now it’s time for Canadian sports car enthusiasts to benefit from these lighter weight, better handling new…
Porsche introduced its exciting new 718 T trim line to the European market last year, and now it’s time for Canadian sports car enthusiasts to benefit from these lighter weight, better handling new models.
Starting at $74,400 for the 718 Cayman T and $76,800 for the 718 Boxster T, which is an increase of $10,700 over their respective base models, the new entries slot in just above the base models and below the 718 Cayman S and 718 Boxster S. The well-rounded 718 lineup also includes even sportier GTS trim, while the Cayman can be had in track-ready GT4 form, and the Boxster can be upgraded to the sensational Spyder.
While not as powerful as some of the other trims, Porsche is promising less of what you don’t want and more of what you do, or in other words those looking for more performance features in a car that costs less than a GTS will probably like what the Stuttgart-based premium brand has in store.
Powered solely by the base 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine, which puts out a strong 300 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, the T designation adds a short-throw shifter, a mechanically locking differential, and Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) to six-speed manual cars, or alternatively the Sport Chrono Package comes standard with seven-speed dual-clutch automated PDK models, the latter resulting in a 0.2-second whack to the backside off the line from a car that’s already 0.2 seconds quicker than the DIY gearbox.
The Sport Chrono Package also includes Launch Control and a “push-to-pass” style Sport Response button in the centre of the steering wheel-mounted driving mode switch, making this transmission the best option for those purely focused on performance.
Porsche created the 718 T for “driving pleasure in its purest form” as stated in its January 7, 2020 press release, however, adding that “T stands for ‘Touring’ in Porsche models” and therefore “the 718 T will be most at home on winding country roads,” so therefore you may want to satisfy your soul with the traditional six-speed manual even if it’s not quite as quick off the line.
The new 2020 718 Cayman T and 718 Boxster T pull off the same straight-line acceleration times as the already quick entry-level Boxster and Cayman siblings, with standstill to 100 km/h arriving at just 5.1 seconds apiece, while PDK-equipped cars manage the feat in just 4.9 to 4.7 seconds, just like the base 718 models. Likewise, both T cars’ top track speeds are identical to their base counterparts at 275 km/h.
Bigger changes to 718 T models affect handling and control, thanks to standard Porsche Active Drivetrain Mounts (PADM) that incorporate dynamic hard and soft gearbox mounts for reduced vibration and improved performance, plus a sport exhaust system, special high-gloss titanium grey-painted 20-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, and lastly a first for the base turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) electronic damping system that, depending on the Normal, Sport, Sport Plus or Individual driving mode selected, instantly adjusts for road surface conditions and changes to driving style. Everything just listed sits on a 20-millimetre lower ride height, resulting in a reduced centre of gravity and thus better control all around.
Making the new models stand out visually, Porsche adds a grey side striping package with “718 Cayman T” or “718 Boxster T” script, while the mirror caps are painted Agate grey to match the just-noted wheels, and twin black chrome tailpipes poke out from the back.
Moving to the inside, the new 718 T models include a GT sport steering wheel, scripted “Cayman T” or “Boxster T” logos highlighting the black instrument dials, gloss black instrument panel inlays and centre console trim, red paint for the gear shift pattern atop the shift knob, two-way powered seats, seat upholstery featuring black Sport-Tex centre sections, embroidered “718” logos on the headrests, plus the most identifiable addition of all, black mesh fabric door pulls in place of the usual inner door handles, which can be changed for optional coloured pulls as shown in the photos.
When you’re checking over those photos you may also notice something missing from both cars’ instrument panels, their Porsche Communication Management (PCM) touchscreens that were removed to reduce weight, and replaced by a large storage compartment. When your 718 T arrives this summer you it won’t have this glaring omission due to a regulation that made reverse cameras mandatory as of May 2018, so expect the same high-resolution infotainment display and full assortment of leading-edge features as found in the current 718 Cayman and 718 Boxster.
The two new T models will be available in a variety of colours to allow for plenty of personalization, including Black, Guards Red, Racing Yellow, and White exterior base coatings, optional Carrara White, Jet Black and GT Silver metallic paints, and finally Lava Orange and Miami Blue special colours.
To learn more or order one for yourself, contact your local Porsche retailer.
Also, be sure to watch the videos below to witness the new 2020 718 Cayman T and 718 Boxster T in action:
The new Porsche 718 Boxster T and 718 Cayman T. Welcome to life. (1:17):
The new Porsche 718 Boxster T and 718 Cayman T. First Driving Footage. (1:49):
JP Performance Test Drive: The Porsche 718 T Models. (1:08):
Two cars in one, or at least that’s the arrangement you’ll need to accept if you want to get your hands on a new 2020 Aston Martin DBS GT Zagato, shown here in its best renderings yet. You’ll…
Two cars in one, or at least that’s the arrangement you’ll need to accept if you want to get your hands on a new 2020 Aston Martin DBS GT Zagato, shown here in its best renderings yet.
You’ll also need to shell out $9.8 million CAD (£6 million GBP), which is a bargain when factoring in that a classic 1962 DB4/GT Zagato sold for a cool $15.4 million CAD (£9.45 million) a few years ago.
Of course, rare classics with racing pedigree are almost always worth more than a new car, even one as hard to come by, as visually stunning, and as brilliantly fast as the new DBS GT Zagato. Still, there’s another reason I referenced a classic Aston Martin Zagato.
All 19 2020 DBS GT Zagato customers (the same number of original 1960-1963 DB4 GT Zagatos built) will also be taking home a continuation DB4 GT Zagato, which is a true classic ‘60s era Aston, albeit produced new from old chassis number allocations.
The two cars make up Aston’s “DBZ Centenary Collection”, the more modern of the pair based on Aston Martin’s already fabulous DBS Superleggera, which stuffs a big twin-turbocharged 5.2-litre V12 behind its gaping maw of a front grille, capable of churning out a formidable 715 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. The powers that be at the company’s Gaydon, UK headquarters haven’t made mention about any straight-line performance increase in the upcoming DBS GT Zagato, despite the original ‘60s car making significantly more than a conventional DB4, but it has other attributes that nevertheless make it very special.
Any similarities to the now three-year old Vanquish Zagato were intentional, with Aston even painting the launch model shown here in what appears to be a near identical deep Volcano Red metallic (or something close) with rich gold trim highlights (the DB4 Zagato in behind wears a more fitting Rosso Maja red), the glittering secondary Au hue even embellishing the twinned five-spoke 20-inch alloy wheels.
Other design details pulled forward from the Vanquish Zagato include its gigantic front grille, double-bubble floating black roof panel, pronounced rear fenders, and rocket booster taillights, but that’s not to say this new Zagato-badged Aston is merely a redo of a past model. Of course, the DBS Superleggera under the skin influences its design much more than any previous model could, its longer, lower and leaner body featuring more creases and sharp-angled folds than the earlier Aston, which was decidedly more rounded and curvaceous.
Ultra distinctive is a gold-coloured active grille insert that’s actually comprised of 108 individual segments of carbon fibre. When the new DBS GT Zagato is not in use, these tiny pieces come together to form what appears to be a solid, flush panel, although when the ignition is turned on these little pieces reposition in order to allow front ventilation, a process that makes the grille “flutter”, says Aston.
Other unique details include extremely long and deeply sculpted side vents, these also adorned in gold, while the side sills don’t feature this supercar segment’s usual carbon fibre extensions, but rather tuck rounded rocker panels under the body as in days of yore. Of course the headlights are much more in line with modern Aston Martin design than anything from the Vanquish’ era, while those intricately detailed aforementioned taillights get fitted neatly within a sizeable horizontal black panel that hovers above an even larger wing-like rear diffuser.
Everything black is open-weave carbon fibre, of course, even the roof that’s actually a single piece stretching from the windshield’s edge to the base of the rear deck lid, with its noted twin-hump design followed by a complete lack of rear visibility. This car was made for Franco “What’s-a behind me is not important” Bertollini (Raúl Juliá – The Gumball Rally, 1976), although while there’s no rear window, nor even louvres to see out the back, Aston did include a rearview camera for backing up, mounted in a centre mirror-style monitor similar to General Motor’s Rear Camera Mirror.
As for the beautiful DB4 GT Zagato, which made its debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last month (we’ve expanded on this story’s gallery with 20 detailed solo photos of this breathtaking classic in its most modern production trim), it’s the latest in Aston Martin’s line of continuation cars, which began with 25 DB4 GT Continuation models that sold for $2.4 million CAD (£1.5 million) each in 2017, and (it doesn’t get much better than this) 25 recreations of the classic movie car from the 1964 James Bond (Sean Connery) film Goldfinger, complete with all the cool offensive weaponry and defensive armour that made the eccentric Q (Desmond Llewelyn) a hero to gadget freaks everywhere. The Goldfinger DB5 Continuation will arrive in 2020, just like the two new Zagato models featured here, but for only $4.5 million CAD (£2.75 million) each.
If you’re still scratching your head about the stratospheric price of the two combined Zagato models featured in this story, consider for a moment the original 1962 DB4/GT Zagato’s price noted earlier wasn’t even the most expensive DB4 GT Zagato to be auctioned off. After the original 19 examples were created from 1960 to 1963, Aston Martin built four more on unused chassis allocation numbers in 1988, all of which were dubbed “Sanction II” models, while in 2000 the automaker created another two cars to “Sanction II” specification (which meant they received a larger 352-horsepower 4.2-litre engine), albeit renamed them “Sanction III”, these latter examples fetching $18.6 million CAD ($14,300,000 USD) in 2015 and $16.5 million CAD (£10,081,500) in 2018, making them some of the most valuable cars ever sold.
Of course, it would be unwise to invest as if these 19 new DB4 GT Zagatos will grow in value like their earlier siblings, but then again if past success is any reflection on future prospects, the lucky new owners should be sitting rather pretty in a few years, if not immediately after taking delivery, while they might even end up receiving their all-new 2020 DBS GT Zagatos for free.
Porsche has been criticized, possibly unfairly, for not allowing its entry-level models to measure up to the mighty 911 in decades past, pointing to the now 50-year-old 1969-1976 mid-engine 914 (a collaborative…
Porsche has been criticized, possibly unfairly, for not allowing its entry-level models to measure up to the mighty 911 in decades past, pointing to the now 50-year-old 1969-1976 mid-engine 914 (a collaborative effort with VW) and 1976–1988 front-engine 924 (this time jointly developed with VW/Audi) as blemishes in its storied history, but naysayers haven’t been anywhere near as loud since the Boxster and Cayman arrived.
This said, some have knocked the brand’s new lineup of horizontally opposed four-cylinder turbocharged powerplants found in the fourth-generation 718 series, yet while their barks haven’t been quite as ferocious as the six-cylinder 911’s growl, their bite has certainly silenced said critics, especially when tuned to S and GTS levels.
The Cayman and Boxster were ideal performers from onset due to their relatively light curb weights and inherently well-balanced mid-engine designs, and every new iteration becomes even more capable of high-speed road and track performance no matter the trim.
Like with the previous generation, the many more fans of the latest 718 Boxster and Cayman will also be pleased to learn that 2020 models will receive their most potent production trims yet, now even capable of outpacing plenty of 911 models.
To give you some background info, the 718 Cayman, which is currently available from $63,700, can be had in base 300-horsepower Cayman trim that’s good for a zero to 100km/h sprint of only 5.1 seconds, or alternatively 4.9 seconds with its paddle shift-actuated automatic PDK double-clutch transmission, or a scant 4.7 seconds with the PDK and an available Sport Chrono Package, while it can optimally reach a top speed of 275 km/h. Additional Cayman trims include the $78,600 350-horsepower S, which can scamper from standstill to 100km/h in just 4.6, 4.4 and 4.2 seconds respectively, plus is capable of achieving a top speed of 285 km/h, and finally the $92,600 365-horsepower GTS that can run from zero to 100km/h in 4.6, 4.3 and 4.1 seconds respectively, plus can hit a 290-km/h track speed.
For 2020, the just-noted 718 Cayman triple-threat is once again joined by the top-tier GT4, a previous version having initially been introduced in 2015 for the 2016 model year. The new GT4 replaces the aforementioned lesser trims’ 2.0- and 2.5-litre turbocharged H-4 engines with a downgraded albeit still brilliantly formidable version of the 911 GT3’s naturally-aspirated 4.0-litre H-6, which produces a stellar 414 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque, resulting in a 29-horsepower advantage over its GT4 predecessor thanks in part to a stratospheric 8,000-rpm redline, while it’s mated to a six-speed manual gearbox just like the 911 GT3, all resulting in sprint time from standstill to 100km/h of 4.4 seconds, as well as a best-ever top speed of 304 km/h.
The 718 Spyder, which also updates a previous 2016 model, shares all of the Cayman GT4’s mechanical upgrades (and is therefore 39 hp more powerful than the previous Spyder) resulting in an identical 4.4-second sprint from standstill to 100km/h, albeit a slightly slower 301-km/h top speed, but unlike the coupe this roadster is a standalone model that doesn’t use the Boxster name despite being formed from its basic architecture; the Boxster notably available in all the same trims as the 718 Cayman, albeit starting at $66,100 due to its convertible top.
Additionally, the two cars’ six-speed manual transmissions include a downshift rev-matching “Auto Blip” function that automatically syncs a given gear to engine-speed when dropping a cog, a feature Porsche intelligently allows drivers to individually activate or deactivate by pressing a button, while both models incorporate completely new exclusively designed sport exhaust systems that work their way around complex rear aero upgrades while underscoring the “exciting flat-six sound of the engine,” said Porsche in a press release.
With respect to styling, some of the new 718 Spyder’s key visuals look as if they were inspired by the 918 Spyder, as well as the recently introduced 2019 911 Speedster, the now legendary supercar helping to influence its lower front fascia and similar albeit much more pronounced double-bubble buttress-like rear deck lid, and the limited edition 911 inspiring the 718 Spyder’s sportier GT-style frontal treatment and double-humped rear deck “streamliners”, plus the new model’s horizontal black hood vent, “Spyder” lettering on the blunt B-pillars instead of “Speedster”, a similarly shaped auto-deploying rear spoiler, and an aerodynamically-engineered rear diffuser.
The 718 Cayman GT4 carries forward some similar styling and aero treatments to its 2016 forebear, including an aggressively shaped front fascia, a black hood vent of its own, a massive fixed rear wing, a wind-harnessing rear diffuser, and a special alloy wheel design, all created to minimize weight while maximizing downforce, with Porsche even painting both GT4 launch cars in what appears to be an identical yellow, just like they once again used white for the new 718 Spyder launch model.
Focusing back on aerodynamics, all of the 718 Cayman GT4 exterior upgrades combine for a 50-percent increase in downforce, yet no negative impact on drag. Most of this aero effect can be attributed to its new diffuser and rear wing, the latter item producing 20-percent more aero-efficiency than the previous wing. On the GT4’s other end, a big front lip spoiler is bookended by a set of air curtains, which help to channel air around each front wheel.
As for the new 718 Spyder’s aerodynamics, its active rear wing automatically powers upward at 120 km/h, although unlike the regular 718 Boxster’s cloth roof, the Spyder’s gets no electrified assistance at all, but rather needs manual attention to remove and stow under the rear deck lid. When put back in place, Porsche claims the roof effectively manages high speeds, providing protection from wind, rain and other outside elements.
As you might expect, Porsche has provided a high-performance lightweight chassis equal to both cars’ aero and engine performance, having turned to the brand’s extensive motorsport experience to get the balance just right. To this end the rear axle was specifically designed for new Spyder and GT4 application, although the front axle was pulled from the race-bred 2018 911 GT3.
Additionally, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) was added as standard equipment, as was a 30-millimetre reduction in ride height when sidled up beside regular 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman models, which provides a lower centre of gravity and therefore aids handling, but keep in mind that both new models let owners manually adjust camber, toe, ride height and anti-roll bar settings.
The revered 911 GT3 noted a moment ago contributed its braking system to the new top-tier 718s as well, including their larger-diameter 380-mm cast iron discs and fixed aluminum calipers, while Spyder and GT4 buyers can also upgrade to Porsche’s 50-percent lighter ceramic composite brakes if desired, these boasting 410-mm rotors in front and 390-mm discs at back. Also, the two cars’ ABS, electronic stability (ESC) and traction (TC) control systems are specifically tuned to enhance performance, while typical of the German brand’s GT models, ESC and TC can be switched off in a two-stage process.
Other upgrades include a standard mechanical limited-slip differential with Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV), and unique sets of 20-inch alloys encircled by 245/35ZR20 front and 295/30ZR20 rear UHP tires.
Although the various performance upgrades mentioned don’t necessarily make the 718 Spyder or its 718 Cayman GT4 sibling quicker from a standing start than GTS versions of their Boxster or Cayman counterparts, they’re both more capable on the track and therefore should perform better on the road as well. Notably, the new 718 Cayman GT4 can lap the Nürburgring Nordschleife “more than ten seconds faster than its predecessor,” stated Porsche.
Adding to the two new models’ overall goodness is an improved interior that features a new GT Sport steering wheel measuring 360 mm across and sporting a yellow top centre marker stripe in GT4 trim. What’s more, both new cars get a shift lever that’s 20 mm shorter than on regular 718 models, which provides a “more direct and crisp feel” during gear changes. Additionally, new Sport Seats Plus come standard, featuring bigger side bolsters to improve lateral support, and suede-like Alcantara centres to aid grip. Alcantara is also added to the lower section of the dash, the shift knob and skirt, as well as the previously noted steering wheel’s rim.
Some additional cabin accents include body-colour trim elements for the 718 Spyder and brushed aluminum detailing for the 718 Cayman GT4, while Porsche has no shortage of optional décor upgrades like usual. You can also choose a set of full bucket seats or the 18-way powered Adaptive Sport Seats Plus package, but you won’t need to pay more for air conditioning or the latest Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system featuring Sound Package Plus. This said, navigation and Porsche Connect with Apple CarPlay are on the options menu.
Also of interest, the 718 Spyder can be ordered with a Spyder Classic Interior Package including two-tone Bordeaux Red and Black leather, extended Alcantara upholstery, GT silver metallic interior accents, and best of all a two-tone black and red cloth top, the latter especially “reminiscent of historic Porsche racing cars,” said Porsche. Instead, you can order either model with red, silver, or yellow contrast stitching.
No matter how you want to dress one of these cars up, expect Canada’s allotment to be spoken for soon as they’re already available to order, with pricing starting at $110,500 for the 718 Spyder and $113,800 for the 718 Cayman GT, and while you’re waiting for your personal ride to arrive, be sure to check out our comprehensive photo gallery above (we’ve got all the images and pictographs that Porsche provided), while take a look below for all four videos available at the time of publishing:
The new Porsche 718 Spyder. Perfectly irrational. (1:03):
The new Porsche 718 Spyder. Product highlights. (2:25):
The new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4. Product highlights. (2:13):
The new Porsche 718 GT4. Perfectly irrational. (1:01):
Mini is one of those brands that I almost completely forget exists until one of their cars is parked in my driveway, and then all of a sudden I can’t get any work done because I’m thinking about little…
Mini is one of those brands that I almost completely forget exists until one of their cars is parked in my driveway, and then all of a sudden I can’t get any work done because I’m thinking about little else. It’s not really a brand. Mini is a driving obsession… literally.
Fortunately I don’t get many Minis each year, or I’d get nothing done. Truly, their cars are so much fun they’re addictive, especially when the one loaned out is tuned to “S” trim and its roof has been chopped off to make way for a power-retractable soft top.
The car before you is the 2019 Mini Cooper S Convertible, upgraded with this year’s special $2,900 Starlight Blue Edition Package. This means it gets an exclusive and eye-arresting coat of Starlight Blue Metallic paint, plus a unique set of 17-inch machine-finished Rail Spoke alloy wheels with black painted pockets on 205/45 all-season runflat tires, and piano Black Line exterior trim replacing much of the chrome, including the grille surround and the headlamp/taillight surrounds, plus the side mirror caps.
The improvements continue with rain-sensing auto on/off LED headlamps boasting dynamic cornering capability, plus LED fog lights, piano black lacquered interior trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, a really accurate Connected Navigation Plus system within the already excellent infotainment system, great sounding Harman Kardon audio, satellite radio, attractive Carbon Black leatherette upholstery, and heatable front seats, while my tester’s only standalone option was its $1,400 automatic transmission, all of which brings the Mini Cooper S Convertible base price of $33,990 up to $38,290, plus of course freight and fees.
To clarify, you can get into a new 2019 Mini Cooper Convertible for as little as $29,640, or you can spend the just noted higher price for my test model’s “S” trim. Then again, you can also acquire a base 3-Door hardtop for as little as $23,090. Of note, the Mini 5-Door starts at $24,390, a six-door Clubman can be had for $28,690, and the Countryman crossover starts at $31,090, again plus a destination charge and other fees.
All 2019 Mini Cooper prices, including trims, options and standalone features, were sourced from CarCostCanada, where you can also get otherwise hard to find manufacturer rebate info as well as dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands.
Before delving into all the fun I teased at the beginning of this review, I’ve got to mention how well made Mini models are. Whether or not you’re willing to call Mini a premium brand, and it’s difficult to do so when you can get into one for just over $23k, the level of quality going into each and every Mini model is way above par, unless of course we’re comparing one to a premium subcompact or compact competitor.
This said, mainstream compact models have been improving in recent years, with the new Mazda3 a real standout, but like its compact sedan and hatchback rivals the 3 is significantly larger than all Minis but the Clubman and Countryman, and when comparing a regular Cooper to any mainstream subcompact rival, its build quality and drivability stands heads and shoulders higher.
This little Cooper S Convertible, for instance, is extremely well put together, from its exterior fit to its interior finishings. The paintwork is superb and detailing fabulous, from my tester’s intricately designed LED headlights and Union Jack-imprinted taillights to its high-quality leather-wrapped steering wheel and stitched leather shift knob, not to mention the pod of primary instruments hovering over the steering column, the ever-changing ring of colour encircling the high-definition 8.8-inch infotainment display, the row of dazzling chromed toggles (and red ignition switch) on the centre stack, and the similar set of switches on the overhead console, these latter two eccentricities happily gracing every Mini model. If you’re into retrospective design and wonderful attention to detail, even to an artistic level, you’re going to love a modern-day Mini.
As good as all of this is, I need to go back to that one Mini attribute that’s probably most agreeable, its on-road character. In S trim it starts with a wonderfully high-revving 16-valve twin-scroll turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine making 189 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque, which is a considerable 55 horsepower and 45 lb-ft more than the entry-level Mini’s three-cylinder turbo mill. This helps the S shave 1.6 seconds from the base car’s zero to 100km/h sprint time, reducing it from 8.8 seconds to 7.2 in six-speed manual form, or 8.7 to 7.1 with its as-tested six-speed automatic.
If you still need more speed, you can opt for a John Cooper Works (JCW) Convertible, which drops the sprint time down to 6.5 seconds via a more potent 228 horsepower version of the 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, featuring a sizeable 236 lb-ft of torque. That will set you back a cool $41,490, but thanks to suspension upgrades including larger rims and rubber, plus additional styling and convenience features, it’s well worth it for Mini performance purists.
I know, that’s not the type of fire-breathing performance to cause Honda Civic Type R owners to quake in their snug fitting Recaro race seats, but drop the top and clutch of the JCW or Cooper S Convertible consecutively and you’ll soon be having more fun than the numbers suggest, not to mention very livable fuel-efficiency thanks to a claimed 10.2 L/100km in the city, 7.4 on the highway and 9.0 combined with the manual, or 9.4 city, 7.2 highway and 8.4 combined with the as-tested autobox in upgraded S trim. If economy matters more to you than performance, the base Cooper Convertible is good for an 8.4 city, 6.3 highway and 7.5 combined rating with the manual, or 8.8, 6.8 and 7.9 with its auto.
Along with the power upgrade, the move from base to Cooper S trim also means that some performance-oriented features get added, such as selectable driving modes that include default “MID”, eco “GREEN” and self-explained “SPORT”, the latter for enhanced acceleration and steering response, plus Mini improves the front seats to a more heavily bolstered sport design with heatable cushions, while hardtop versions get a panoramic sunroof, just in case going totally topless isn’t your thing.
Sport mode does a good job of upping the Cooper S Convertible’s straight-line acceleration and improving the quick-shifting experience thereof, while torque never overpowers the front wheels, even when taking off from a corner. While I’d prefer the manual with this little wonder—a gearbox that I really enjoying rowing from cog to cog—the automatic performs well with just-noted speedy gear swapping increments and shift lever-actuated manual mode.
Oddly there are no steering wheel mounted paddles, however (Mini will be adding paddle-shifters to a new eight-speed automatic in the Clubman and Countryman JCWs next year, with a reported 301-hp and 331 lb-ft of torque plus AWD, so hopefully we’ll eventually see them in the S as well), so I left the autobox to its own devices more often than not, being that it shifts smoothly and was therefore ideal for congested city streets. Still, when the road opened up and consecutive curves arrived I found manual mode significantly increased the fun factor, while helping to increase control.
As with all Mini models, the Cooper S Convertible seen here gets a fully independent front strut and rear multi-link suspension system that’s capable of out-manoeuvring most front-drive challengers (previously noted Civic Type R exempted), whether taking it to the streets of a busy metropolitan area, or flinging it through the types of undulating, spiraling twists and turns performance fans love as if it’s some sort of front-wheel drive BMW.
It is, of course. Most that follow the auto industry already know that the latest second-gen Minis share their UKL platform architectures with a handful of today’s smaller BMW models. In actual fact, UKL underpinnings are divided between UKL1 and UKL2 platforms, the first only used for the Mini brand so far, including its 3- and 5-door (F56) Hatch plus the Cooper Convertible line (F57), while the second architecture is used for bigger Minis including the Clubman (F54) and Countryman (F60) as well as the global-market BMW 1 Series Sedan (F52), 1 Series 5-door hatchback (F40), 2 Series Active Tourer (F45) MPV-style hatchback, slightly longer 2 Series Gran Tourer (F46), X1 (F48) crossover, sportier X2 (F39) crossover, and the Brilliance-BMW Zinoro (60H), a re-skinned Chinese-market crossover SUV based on the X1.
Being that we don’t have the 1 Series or 2 Series Active Tourer models in Canada, and I haven’t yet been able to get behind the wheel of these in my second home of Manila, Philippines, I can’t comment on the driving dynamics of these BMW models compared to their Mini counterparts, but I can’t see them being much better than anything wearing the winged badge. I can say, however, that all Countryman S models tested so far (including the new Countryman S E ALL4 plug-in hybrid) have been more capable at the limit than the current-gen BMW X1 xDrive28i I recently tested.
Of course, the Cooper S Convertible is hardly large, its interior smallest within the Mini lineup, especially in back where its seats are best left to abbreviated adults and/or kids, not to mention the trunk that measures just 160 to 215 litres (the larger number if the top is upright and movable divider positioned higher) and can only be accessed via a narrow opening, albeit aided by a cool wagon-like fold-down tailgate that holds items before loading in, plus expandability for longer gear such as skis/snowboards via 50/50-split rear seatbacks. Small yes, but pretty flexible for passengers and cargo when compared to most drop-top challengers.
Speaking of the convertible top, its “3-in-1” fabric roof design is ultra-quiet and quick to retract or put up via full automation in just 18 seconds, only requiring a tug or push (and hold) on one of the aforementioned overhead toggle switches. It first opens into a large sunroof, which can be left that way if you don’t want to go completely al fresco, or with a second push completely folds down. Repeating the process in reverse closes the top. You can open or close while driving at speeds of up to 30 km/h, so you never have to worry about not having enough time at the stoplight to start the process. You can also put the top up or down via your key fob.
Unlike some of the other models in the Mini lineup (like the Clubman S or JCW that could arguably go up against other sport compacts like the VW GTI), this Cooper S Convertible really doesn’t have many direct competitors. Certainly some might choose a Mazda MX-5 or its Fiat 124 Spider variant over this British-German entry, both being sporty yet affordable options, a description that also includes Ford’s Mustang Convertible and Chevy’s Camaro Convertible, but the first pairing are two-seat roadsters and latter duo much larger, heavier vehicles rooted in American muscle car heritage, and therefore wholly different than the wee Mini.
Therefore, only the VW Beetle Convertible and Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio are true rivals, but the Beetle is not as sporty (only making 174 hp) and due to slow sales (2,077 in both coupe and convertible body styles last year) and an aging architecture has been cancelled for 2020, whereas the Italian offering is fun to drive due to its great exhaust note and lightweight city car size (it only has 160 hp, but doesn’t need more), but it takes the word “slow” to new levels when sales are factored in (269 units for all 500 trims last year, excluding the 500X), making me wonder just how long the entire Fiat brand will be sustainable in Canada or the U.S. at all (there were only 5,370 unit sales of the 500 line in the U.S. through 2018, not including the 500L or 500X).
By comparison, the Mini Cooper line (made up of the 3-Door Hatch, 5-Door Hatch, Convertible and Clubman) sold 4,466 units in Canada and 26,119 in the U.S. These numbers are by no means large (VW Golf/Jetta/GTI sold 36,606 units in Canada and 133,065 in the U.S., while the Honda Civic sold 69,005 units in Canada and 325,760 in the U.S.), but they’re definitely higher than Fiat’s. Mini, a brand filled with models that should allow for good profits once options are added on, backed by the much more powerful BMW group that now utilizes the same platform architectures and engines throughout its global small car/crossover lineup, should be able to weather any future financial storms just fine (fingers crossed).
So there you have it, a fabulous four-seat convertible with reasonable cargo capacity, premium levels of build quality, very good infotainment, great economy, and brilliantly fun performance, not to mention a certain classic retrospective British coolness, all for a pretty decent price when factoring in all the positives. For those who want to enjoy each and every moment behind the wheel, it’s hard not to recommend the Mini Cooper S Convertible.
I’m not going to lie to you. As curious as I am to spend a given week with seriously important big market cars like the recently redesigned Toyota Corolla, and as interested as I am to find out how…
I’m not going to lie to you. As curious as I am to spend a given week with seriously important big market cars like the recently redesigned Toyota Corolla, and as interested as I am to find out how far I can go on a single charge with Kia’s latest Soul EV, nothing gets me out of my editor’s chair as quickly or as enthusiastically as a hopped up muscle car, a high-revving super-exotic, or something along the lines of Jaguar’s F-Type SVR, which might be the perfect combination of both.
Regular readers will remember that I spent a blissful week with this very same car last year in its more eye-arresting Ultra Blue paintwork, so having this 2019 model gifted to me for yet another seven heavenly days was a welcome surprise made better due to its stealth Santorini Black bodywork that thankfully doesn’t attract quite as much attention.
It’s not that I was embarrassed to be seen in it, quite the opposite of course, but rather that this car coaxes my most juvenile impulses from their hardly deep recesses all too easily, which can quickly get a person deep into trouble.
How quickly? Well that depends on whether you’re thrown into a stupor or moved into action when first laying eyes on the F-Type SVR, as well as which sense moves you most. If you’re visually stimulated first and foremost, you might be stopped dead in your tracks as soon as it comes into view, but then again if your receptors respond more to an auditory trigger you’ll move right past first sight to initial startup, resulting in the rasp of one of the more sensational exhaust notes in autodom, which will either send you to the moon in a momentary daze or turn you toward the street to put some of that wound up energy to good use.
I’m jaded, or maybe it’s just that experience tells me not to waste a moment gawking inanely at something I can relive later in pictures. Certainly one can recall memories of moments well spent, but the more one collects such moments makes recalling them a helluvalot easier. A quick glance of appreciation, out of respect, immediately followed by a quicker descent into a familiar body hug, the SVR’s performance seats are as wholly enveloping as they’re sinfully comfortable. Foot on brake pedal, finger on start button, mechanical machinations ignited and ahhh… glory hallelujah! What a sound!
Nothing roadworthy this side of an XJR-15 sounds as brutally raw, as purely visceral as an F-Type SVR being brought to life, that is until you’ve given the throttle a few more blips after opening up its two-mode titanium and Inconel active exhaust system via a wee little console-mounted button that makes a great big noise. Any sort of right foot twitch capable of spinning the crank above 4,000 revolutions per minute lets loose a cacophony of crackling barks and blats, the kind of song that’ll have gearheads singing along in dissonant unity, and zero emissions folks sneering.
Allowing spent gases to exit more freely isn’t exactly the Tesla mantra, and to think the minds behind this wondrous high-test glutton are the very crew responsible for the Model X-beating I-Pace (well, it beats the entry-level Tesla crossover, at least). We’ve all got to love the bizarre dichotomy running rampant in today’s automotive market, where the cars we all lust after are paying for the ones that government mandates are forcing down our throats.
Of course, thanks to companies like Jaguar and Tesla we’re all beginning to realize that going electric isn’t the end of motorized fun, but potentially a new beginning. Could there be an electrified F-Type in our future? Likely, and it’ll be the quickest Jaguar sports car ever. Still, the good folks at Castle Bromwich will need to expend terahertz levels of energy in their artificial sound lab to recreate the auditory ecstasy this SVR composes. Let’s hope they succeed, because we all know that as sensational as this 5.0-litre supercharged V8 sounds, and as fabulously fast as this Jaguar becomes when powered by it, the still impressive yet nevertheless 23-year-old AJ-8 power unit’s days are numbered.
As it is, this 575 horsepower beast catapults from naught to 100km/h in just 3.7 seconds before attaining the seemingly unattainable terminal velocity of 322 km/h (200 mph)—that’s 1.1 seconds quicker and 122 km/h (75.8 mph) faster than the I-Pace, in case you were wondering. Certainly a driver’s license would be unobtainable for the remainder of my sorry life if I were so foolish as to attempt the former speed on public roads, and being that no such track is long enough within close proximity of my home we’ll all just need to take Jaguar’s word for it. Suffice to say that zero to all other cars at the stoplight looking like tiny coloured dots happens all of a shockingly sudden, so you’d better gather your stunned thoughts, get into the game and prepare for upcoming corners or you’ll fast be shuffled off this mortal coil.
Fortunately the F-Type SVR manages all roads serpentine as easily as it’s guided down the straight and narrow, its brilliantly quick-shifting eight-speed automatic as ideally suited to flicking up through the gears as for rev-matched downshifts. Remember when I mentioned muscle car credentials earlier? That was strictly referencing the engine, its prowess over undulating, curving backroads the stuff of mid-engine exotica. Just look at the meaty 305-section Pirelli P-Zero rubber at back and plentiful 265/35s up front, both ends supported by the lightweight aluminum chassis and riveted, bonded body shell noted earlier, and then factor in that suspension’s Adaptive Dynamics system, the electronic active rear differential, and the brake-sourced torque vectoring. Tap the carbon ceramic brakes to load up the front tires, enter the apex, add throttle and enjoy as the SVR’s backside locks into place while catapulting this leather-lined beast toward the next bend, a process I repeated over and over, as often as opportunity would allow.
All said, you’d think something as fabulously fast as the F-Type SVR would be a handful around town, but that’s where its exotic nature ends and more upright practicality enters. It’s actually a very comfortable coupe to spend time in, while visibility is quite good considering its sleek greenhouse and thick C pillars. The 12-way powered driver’s seat and steering column fit my long-legged, short torso five-foot-eight frame well, and due to much more movement in all directions should provide good adjustability for all sorts of body types, and I certainly had no complaints from my various co-drivers.
On the practicality question, Jaguar provides a large hatch opening for loading in all kinds of gear, with up to 408 litres (14.4 cubic feet) in total and about half that below the removable hard cargo cover. It’s beautifully finished, as one would expect in this class, but remember that unlike the old XK the F-Type is strictly a two-seater with no rear seats to fold, so there’s no way you’ll be able to fit skis or any other long items aboard, unless you slot them down the middle between driver and front passenger.
I remember stuffing my significant other and kids into an XKR coupe years ago, and while its 2+2 grand touring profile wasn’t carried forward into the F-Type’s design, the interior’s fine workmanship and beautiful attention to detail continues. In fact, I’d say this SVR’s cabin is even better, with rich red stitching and piping providing colour to the otherwise black Suedecloth and quilted leather surfaces, while its electronic interfaces are beyond comparison.
Classic analogue dials flank a large 5.0-inch colour TFT multi-information display at centre, unchanged from past years, albeit the Touch Pro infotainment touchscreen on the centre stack is all new for 2019, growing from 8.0 to 10.0 inches in diameter and now flush-mounted without buttons down each side. It’s properly outfitted with navigation, a backup camera with active guidelines, Pro Services, InControl Apps, 770-watt 12- speaker Meridian surround audio, satellite and HD radio, and the list goes on, while Jaguar also added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for $300.
You can get into a 2019 F-Type Coupe SVR for just $140,500, or go topless for an extra $3,000, either of which is a bargain when compared to the Porsche 911 Turbo that will set you back $43,700 more for the hardtop or an additional $54,700 for the drop-top. That easily pays for the aforementioned $13,260 Carbon Ceramic Brake Pack with plenty left over, which includes 398 millimetre rotors up front and 380 mm discs at back, plus massive yellow calipers encircled by a stunning set of 10-spoke 20-inch diamond-turned alloys. Plenty of options were included with my test car and a yet more, like LED headlights, a heated steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming centre and side mirrors, auto climate control, front and rear parking sensors, autonomous emergency braking, and lane keeping assist, comes standard, so make sure to check out all the 2019 F-Type trims, packages and options at CarCostCanada, not to mention rebate info and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands.
It’s difficult not to write an epic for such a phenomenal sports car, but instead of running on at the mouth I recommend you head to your local Jaguar retailer and ask them to start one up in the showroom or on the lot, turn on the switchable active exhaust, rev the throttle and then listen to the snap, crackle and pop of the exhaust. If you’re not raring to go for a drive after that, you might be better off moseying down the road to the Lexus store for a smooth, comfortable ride in ES 300 hybrid.
The 911 Cabriolet has been with us so long it seems as if it’s always been part of Porsche’s lineup, but it took almost 20 years of 911 production before the completely exposed model arrived in 1982.…
The 911 Cabriolet has been with us so long it seems as if it’s always been part of Porsche’s lineup, but it took almost 20 years of 911 production before the completely exposed model arrived in 1982. Ahead of this, going topless required the complete removal of a metal roof panel, the 911 Targa having arrived on the scene in 1966 with either a fixed glass or foldaway plastic rear window.
Brief history lesson completed, Porsche introduced its all-new 2020 911 Cabriolet on Monday, January 8, with a promised arrival in the third quarter of this year and the ability to place your order now, the latter point being the same as with the new 911 coupe that was introduced last month and is slated to go on sale this summer.
Also like the new coupe, the first new 2020 Cabriolets we’ll be able to get our hands on will be in rear-wheel drive Carrera S (C2S) and all-wheel drive Carrera 4S (C4S) guise, featuring a more formidable redesigned 3.0-litre turbocharged boxer engine that’s good for 443 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 23 horsepower and 22 lb-ft of torque respectively, and fitted with Porsche’s all-new eight-speed automated dual-clutch PDK gearbox. Once again, seven-speed manual variants will show up later, as will less potent Carrera and Carrera 4 models sporting a revised 385 horsepower 3.0-litre turbo six behind the rear axle, this engine 15 horsepower more capable. Likewise, Turbo versions will enter the fray later, although Porsche has yet to provide a time frame for these.
Porsche has only provided performance specs for the C2S and C4S shown, with standstill to 100km/h achieved in just 3.9 and 3.8 seconds apiece, while those numbers improve to 3.7 and 3.6 seconds respectively when the Sport Chrono Package is added, the greater traction of the all-wheel drive model allowing for a slight advantage at takeoff.
Amazingly, thanks to magnesium surface elements dubbed “bows” that are integrated within the redesigned fabric roof’s structure and prevent “ballooning” at high speeds, new 911 drop-top models are only 2 km/h slower than their hardtop siblings when factoring in terminal velocities, their top speeds set to 306 km/h (190 mph) for the C2S and 304 km/h (189 mph) for the C4S.
Additionally, that soft top, which is now larger to fit over the more accommodating cabin, can open and close on the fly at speeds of up to 50 km/h (30 mph), and takes a scant 12 seconds to fully perform this function due to revised hydraulics, a process that also powers an electrically extendable wind deflector to keep gusts of air from discomforting the driver and front passenger.
As you might expect, the 2020 911’s interior is much the same as the new coupe’s, highlighted by a new horizontal design theme inspired by early ‘60s through ‘90s models, but now the primary gauge cluster is mostly digital with twin LCD panels surrounding the usual mechanical centre tachometer, while above a completely reworked centre stack and console is a 10.9-inch Porsche Communication Management (PCM) infotainment touchscreen, literally a big improvement over its 7.0-inch predecessor.
Back in front of the driver, a new steering wheel incorporates an adaptation of the same rotating steering wheel-mounted driving mode selector found in the outgoing 911 Cabriolet, but now a standard Wet mode gets added to the mix, capable of maintaining better control over water-soaked road surfaces when activated. Safety in mind, the new 911 Cab will also get standard autonomous emergency braking with moving object detection, while a backup camera and rear parking sensors will also be standard.
Porsche promises increased comfort and support from its new available 18-way powered front seats, while other options include adaptive cruise control with stop and go, a 360-degree surround parking camera that should be extremely helpful 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.
On a more mechanical note, for the first time 911 Cabriolet customers will be able to choose the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) adaptive sport suspension from the options list, which provides stiffer, shorter spring sets for a 10-mm lower ride height, and more rigid anti-roll bars, allowing improved weight distribution for a more neutral feel.
As for style, the new 911 Cabriolet pulls over most of the coupe’s new design cues below the waistline, including an all-new rectangular lower front grille/fascia that creates a wider more planted appearance, a completely reshaped hood that squares off near the front and incorporates a classic tapering indentation at centre, wider front and rear fenders that flow over larger 20- and 21-inch front to rear staggered alloy wheels, new side mirrors and new flush door handles that pop out when touched, and a new body-wide LED taillight hovering over a 718-style 3D “PORSCHE” graphic bookended with totally unique corner lights, while its bulging rear deck lid panels are similar to the outgoing model yet redesigned for a smoother, more fluid result, the latter incorporating a new integrated dynamic spoiler that’s completely hidden when retracted yet much wider and more capable than the rear spoiler on the outgoing model when open. Likewise, no one should complain about the new larger fabric roof’s shape and fitment, as it’s once again beautifully contoured and ideally proportioned.
Also like the 2020 911 coupe, the redesigned Cabriolet makes greater use of lightweight aluminum both outside and within, its new front fenders eliminating steel from the body panel equation altogether, and its suspension now much more aluminum-intensive.
The new 2020 Porsche Carrera S Cabriolet will arrive this fall for a base price of $143,700, along with the 2020 Carrera 4S Cabriolet that starts at $152,100.
Remember to contact your local Porsche dealer if you want to put one on order, and after you’ve done that make sure to check out our photo gallery above and these two Porsche-supplied videos below:
The new 911 Cabriolet: First Driving Footage (1:08):
The new Porsche 911 Cabriolet – All set for open-top season (1:09):
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):