Meet the new "entry-level" Porsche 911 Carrera and Cabriolet
The new "entry level" 911s have arrived, lightly detuned from the eighth-generation 911 S models and a handy 15 grand cheaper while keeping most of the fun stuff. They're still pricey, though, especially next to the new, sub-US$60K, mid-engined Corvette Stingray.
Porsche has updated its 911 sports car line with a pair of new gateway drugs to replace the current base model 911 Carrera and Cabriolet. Visually almost identical to the S models, the new 911s also get the same standard Porsche Active Suspension Management package, and the same interior with its 10.9-inch touchscreen. Indeed, the only ways to tell them apart at a glance are by the single exhaust exits (the S has doubles either side) and the lack of an S on the badge.
Naturally, they're not as peppy – they've got 380 hp (283 kW) on tap instead of the S's 444 hp (331 kW) thanks to smaller turbos on the same three-liter boxer six engine. There's no manual transmission here yet, so power is put down through an eight-speed paddle-shift double-clutch PDK unit to the rear wheels.
The 0-60-mph (0-98-km/h) sprint becomes a four-second job for the 3,318-lb (1,505-kg) Carrera coupe, which is two tenths of a second faster than the old model, and six tenths slower than the S model. The slightly heavier Cabriolet convertible, weighing 3,472 lb (1,575 kg), takes 0.2 seconds longer than the Carrera in the sprint. Top speeds are 182 mph (293 km/h) for the hard top, and 180 mph (290 km/h) for the drop-top.
The coupe starts at US$97,400, and the convertible is $110,200. That's around $16k cheaper than the S models cost, and no small saving. Realistically, the vast majority of onlookers won't be able to tell the difference, and from the driver's seat the experience should be just as much fun in the twisty bits, which is really what Porsches are all about.
On the other hand, $100k is going to be a tough ask for a lot of drivers next to something like Corvette's new mid-engined Stingray. Granted, Chevrolet has not one bit of Porsche's reputation for handling, and the new 'Ray's jet-fighter looks tend toward flash more than class, but it's going to be hard for a lot of buyers to ignore two key numbers: 495 hp (369 kW) and $60,000, which is where the prices will start. If Chevy has really taught that thing to go around corners, it'll go down as an absolute game-changer in the sports car segment.