Initial thoughts on the new Porsche 911 (991)

Reading the comments on Twitter, it seems that reaction to the leaked photos of the new Porsche 911 (codenamed Porsche 991) is mixed. That’s not surprising, of course, as Porsche enthusiasts tend to be suspicious of change – maybe that’s why they like 911s because it’s a car that evolves gently.

We’ve only seen a handful of photos and there are no real surprises – after all, images of the 991 in various states of disguise have been circulating for some time so we knew what to expect.

We knew that the wheelbase would be longer, which leads to a shorter rear overhang, and that the body would be more curvaceous – perhaps inspired by the wide-bodied 993 Carrera S.

The headlamps were carefully hidden on the test-mules but it was obvious that they were going to be more upright, in a nod to the classic 911 style. It’s a subtle change – don’t expect to be able to see the wings from the driver’s seat – and appears to have been achieved by bulging out the bodywork surrounding the lights; and maybe even the lights themselves are more shapely, it’s hard to tell.

Also at the front, the intakes are more angular and aggressive with a hint of Audi R8 about them. Indeed, it’s this R8 connection that worries us – it seems too angular to sit naturally on the 911’s shapely body shell. The indicator and driving light units are also aggressively shaped.

We’d already seen that the door mirrors are now mounted to the doors, rather than the window frames, and they’re an interesting shape which makes them at least appear smaller than the current items (they can’t be for legal reasons, though).

It’s the rear of the car where we find the most changes. The light clusters are surprisingly slender and slit-like, and recessed into the bumper. They’re joined by two smaller lights at the base of the bumper, above the exhaust tips – fog lights, perhaps? It seems to work although, in it’s present form, the rear end couldn’t accommodate a full-width rear reflector which is something we’ve always liked to see on 911s.

The engine lid is quite different. It’s much wider and cuts into the rear wings. We’re not sure why – it’s unlikely to be simply for styling, so we have to assume it’s to give improved access to the engine for some reason. Time will tell. Looks-wise, it works from the rear but you can see the gap from the side of the car, which is something we’ll need to get used to.

While at the rear, there’s a proliferation of badging. For years, 911s have just been badged ‘Carrera’ but now we have the word ‘Porsche’ in the usual widely space font (just like on a Panamera) plus ‘911’ plus ‘Carrera’ Add the suffix ‘S’ or ‘4S’ and you suddenly get a very busy rear end. We shudder to think what will happen if there’s a Carrera 4 GTS!

It’s the interior that’s generating the most comment online. As we expected, it’s become more luxurious with a Panamera-style high centre console, which makes the driver and passenger feel more cosseted which is quite different to the open cabin of previous 911s. It’s been called a ‘Panamera coupe’ by more than one person and suggests that Porsche is making the 911 into even more of a GT cruiser. Is that a bad thing? We don’t think so. Most of the time, in today’s traffic, you’re sitting around driving slowly so it makes sense to be in a comfortable, pleasant environment. Besides, there will be a GT3 variant for those who want something more extreme.

At this stage, of course, we can only comment on the new 911’s looks. However, we’re confident that it will be an even better car to drive than the current 997. Why? Because it’s going to be lighter, more powerful and that longer wheelbase while improve ride and handling.

Every new 911 has its critics and that’s understandable – it takes time to get used to something new. However, history has shown that we do all get used to new 911s and you can bet that the 991 will be a superb machine. We can’t wait to drive one!

Comments (2)