The 2016 Porsche 911 is a big break from tradition. For the first time, the mainstay of the Porsche line-up foregoes normally aspirated power in favour of a contemporary turbocharged engine – one that endows the volume-selling Carrera and Carrera S models with greater reserves than ever before, along with better fuel economy.
For aficionados of the fabled German manufacturer, its adoption symbolises a seismic shift in priorities for one of the world’s most sought-after sports cars, overturning a convention that began with the original 911 more than 40 years ago.
Known under the internal codename 9A2, the new engine adheres to the customary horizontally opposed layout, in which the individual cylinder banks are set 180 deg apart. However, the new induction process and the associated changes it has necessitated to the cooling system are a significant departure from anything that has gone before.
The new six-cylinder engine boasts a considerably smaller swept volume than the naturally aspirated mill it replaces. However, the inclusion of two turbochargers, which spool up incredibly quickly to enhance combustion, see it deliver greater levels of power and torque than any naturally breathing powerplant used by the 911 through the years.
In its mildest form, running a nominal 0.9 bar of boost pressure in the 911 Carrera, the new rear-mounted powerplant delivers 365bhp and 332lb ft.
With a larger turbocharger and 1.2 bar of boost, it also provides the 911 Carrera S driven here with 414 bhp at 6500 rpm – 20 bhp more and some 900 rpm earlier in the range than with the earlier naturally aspirated 3.8-litre unit. With 369lb ft, the new forced-induction unit also offers 45lb ft more than the old engine, and it’s developed 3900 rpm earlier, at just 1700 rpm.
The new 911 Carrera S is differentiated from its predecessor by a series of subtle exterior styling changes. They include a revised front bumper with active air ducts that close at speeds above 10 mph and then open again at 106 mph. The shape of the headlights remains the same, but revised internal lenses and standard Xenon projectors now provide a more distinctive four-point daytime running light graphic.