Let’s first get this out of the way: as with any new generation of 911, I’m hating the redesign now but will grow to love it later. Yes, I did so even with the much maligned 996.
But for now, my initial reaction to the new 992 is decidedly mixed. So designated as the 8th generation of the iconic 911, the 992 received its world premiership a few nights ago in Los Angeles. The car was only shown in S and 4S guise, with vanilla Carrera and slew of other variants to follow (much) later. I’ll leave you to peruse the countless automotive media outlets out there to have the stats and figures from the press release regurgitated to you.
The first problem that strikes me is the enormity of the wheels. Porsche have trickled down the staggered setup found in the 991 GT RS cars to the 992 Carrera, with the S trim featuring 20-inch up front and 21-inch wheels at the rear. Remember back when 20-inch wheels were the lone province of customized cars and trucks owned by rappers? Those days are long gone. When even a comparatively lowly Honda Civic Type R has 20-inch wheels, no surprise the latest plain 911 does as well.
Automotive design is starting to creep ever closer to looking like Matchbox or Hot Wheels models with these enormous wheel sizings. Give me a smaller rim with more tire sidewall anytime.
The second immediately problem with the 992 is at the back. Porsche for whatever reason have fitted a singular light-strip spanning the length of the rear-end, a familial design element seen in the latest 718, Panamera, Macan, and Cayenne models. I think it looks utterly out of place on the 992, and it renders the back of the car more bulbous than it really is. The 911 shape is timeless and recognizable the world over so I’m not sure why Porsche felt the need to implement a shared design cue from the rest of their lineup.
I do rather like the two slats on the rear intake deck functioning as the third brake light, so that when it’s activated it spells out “11” (as in 911). It’s a brilliant design detail.
Giant wheels and unwieldy looking rear-end aside, the rest of 992 exterior looks fantastic, especially from the front quarter view as seen in the main picture above. The flat hood-line and wrap-around front wings harken back to earlier air-cooled 911s, and I think it’s executed perfectly. The 992 is wide-body only for all trims, which is a shame because I quite prefer the more lithe and delicate stance of the narrow body. It’ll be weird indeed seeing a non S Carrera with the smaller wheels and the hulking fenders.
As for the interior, Porsche have done what’s en vogue these days and replaced analog items with digital screens as much as possible. I’m not as against the encroachment of digital displays in cars (thanks, Tesla) as others; at least Porsche kept the central tachometer an actual needle and number part, though the unit in the 992 looks like it belongs more on a Ford Mustang. Where’s the black face, white numbers, and red dial of old?
The starkest change in the new interior is the PDK shifter knob being replaced with a tiny rectangular nub. The driver won’t be able to toggle gears up and down like the lever of old; the nub is only used for selecting drive modes. Porsche restricts gear changing to the wheel paddles, which on one hand is the correct most fastest way to do it, but on the other I quite enjoy rowing through the gears using the center knob. I hope a proper PDK shift lever is brought back in the GT variants of the 992. There’s certainly room for one.
As ever, this world premier of the 992 is only the first salvo in what is to come numerous other models. Petrol-heads will be eagerly awaiting a new GT3, and whether or not it will still have an atmospheric engine. The regular 992 Carrera looks to be a proper sports car worth its steep entry price (it’s as fast as a 997 Turbo), but for me and many others, it’s the GT cars that most captures our attention, and money.
I really do hope I will grow to like the new rear-end design.