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Porsche 911 C4S — long-term review
As summer rapidly becomes a distant memory, the evenings draw in, leaves separate from the trees and autumn begins to dominate proceedings, what could be described as the perfect sports car for the winter season has arrived in the Top Gear Garage.
Regular readers will have read many words on the rolling automotive controversy that is the 991 Gen 2, the car that finally sees Porsche’s icon resort to turbocharging throughout the range. While this has angered the purists, and while there’s no doubting some of the purity and mechanical connectivity of the normally aspirated car has been lost (as illustrated by the peerless 911R), in the real world, not the road testing one, it could be argued that the Gen 2 offers an even more usable package.
Let’s start with the engine. In place of the 3.8-litre N/A unit sits a 3.0-litre flat-six twin-turbo generating 414bhp and 369lb ft of torque at only 1,700rpm. The old one managed just 325lb ft at 5,600rpm. We opted to couple that to Porsche’s slick seven-speed manual ’box, to keep the road test department happy. Options fitted to this car include LED headlights at an eye-watering £1,764, rear-axle steering (£1,530), sports exhaust (£1,773), 20in RS spider wheels (£1,457), adaptive seats (£2,226), Bose surround sound system (£963), which in combination with some other options including metallic paint, Sports Chrono package, park assist and dimming mirrors takes the total price to £103,999.
Inside, the C4S is trimmed in Saddle brown leather, and from where I’m standing it’s an utterly stunning combination – it has to be one of the greatest-looking cars ever to grace the TG Garage.
But while looks go a long way, the C4S has a lot to prove to silence its critics. First impressions are strong. Having arrived with almost 9,000 miles on the odo, I’ve added just short of 2,500 more in its first month, and each one has revealed more about the car’s abilities and character. Firstly, the noise: the sports exhaust (which is switchable via a button below the gearlever) has already proved it’s a box that you need to tick, with every journey in the C4S being accompanied by a deep metallic bass growl with pops and bangs on downshifts on the overrun. The manual gearbox is an absolute gem, short and accurate and making you feel hardwired into the car’s progress. The interior is a fabulous place to spend time in, and Apple CarPlay’s seamless integration into the infotainment turns the 911 into a rapid mobile office.
In the coming months, the UK winter will be throwing every variable that it can at it – rain, snow and ice – and then there’s also the worst congestion in Europe to deal with. We’ll see if it can silence its critics and make a case for being the ultimate winter sports car.
Good stuff: Honed over decades, this Gen 2 is for my money one of the best looking pieces of automotive design in existence today. Effortless performance is what the 911 delivers on every journey
Bad stuff: Some options are eye-wateringly expensive – £1,764 for LEDs and £1,773 for the sports exhaust. Both are great but shouldn’t they be standard on a £93k car? The ride in the C4S is firm, even in its softest setting