The Porsche 911 is one of the most important models in automotive history, and so one doesn't make changes lightly. For the eighth generation, the 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S is all about evolution. Unveiled the night before the 2018 LA Auto Show, this new Porsche 911 will also be known as the 992. In keeping with the one-digit change from the last-generation 911, the 991, this new car is a marked evolution over the previous model, but far from a revolution.
As before, the new 911 Carrera S relies on a turbocharged, flat-six motor mounted out back. For 2020 it cranks out 443 horsepower, up 23 from before. That drops the zero to 60 acceleration for the 911 Carrera S to 3.5 seconds, 0.4 second faster than before. But, opt for the Sport Chrono package and its launch control and the number drops further, down to 3.3 seconds. Finally, add on all-wheel-drive with the 4S, and that same sprint is covered in just 3.2 seconds.
Power is put to the ground through a new, eight-speed, dual-clutch PDK gearbox, but interestingly, Porsche promises that a proper manual transmission will be available -- eventually. Three-pedal fanatics will need to hold their orders for "a later date."
Porsche's new 911 Carrera S refines, doesn't reinventSee all photos
To help keep that power in check and offer improved performance to match, the 911 Carrera S is now 1.77 inches wider up front. A broader nose wraps around 20-inch wheels up front and 21-inchers at the rear. But, the improved grip isn't just mechanical, with a series of new driver assists helping to make the 992 safer.
A new "Wet Mode" that automatically detects low grip conditions, interestingly by using water sensors inside the fenders that detect the flow of the stuff off the front tires. When a lot of water is detected, the car warns the driver and, once enabled, adjusts both the throttle curve and the differential settings to enable better and more reliable handling in low-grip situations. That all comes standard, as does a new camera-based automatic braking system, while adaptive cruise is an option. You can even get a night-vision camera if you're the sort who makes a habit of bombing across back-country roads after dark.
On the outside, the new Carrera S has revised styling that doesn't exactly break the mold, but again, why would you want to? While the nose is quite similar to what we've seen on the 991, bigger changes are found at the rear, with clean, seamless rear lights running the entire width of the rear of the car. Electric door handles now sit flush and pop out to greet you.
Bigger changes are found after you pull those handles to get inside. Porsche's PCM infotainment system now runs on a 10.1-inch display, while the overall layout has been vastly simplified. Buttons are far fewer than before, and the new, upright shifter is svelte, to say the least.
The 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S and 4S hit dealerships this summer. You're looking at a starting price of $113,200 for the former, while the later will set you back $120,600. That's about an $8,000 increase over the 2019 car, but more importantly, this is just the beginning. We look forward to counting the many, many 911 variants yet to come.