Review: Porsche 911 C4S

Is it a sign of the times that Porsche Australia reckons the typical 911 Carrera 4 buyer is motivated by its fatter stance and greater presence, not necessarily its extra grip? Yep, it’s all in those J.Lo hips.

Just like the old Carrera 4, the all-wheel-drive 991’s rear haunches are 44mm wider than standard.

And as with its predecessor, the philosophy behind the new Carrera 4 surrounds enhancing the 911’s mechanical grip, rather than relying on electronics to disguise any lack of it.

For the Carrera 4’s Australian launch, Porsche let us loose on the Phillip Island race circuit (it's been busy there) in a rare opportunity to compare both a rear-drive Carrera S coupe and all-paw Carrera 4S coupe and cabriolet – each with seven-speed PDK. And the comparison proved illuminating.

First up, we’re in a Carrera 4S coupe with sports exhaust and sports chrono package.

As with any new-gen 991, the benefits of a 100mm-longer wheelbase and less weight than the old 997 is felt immediately in the car’s more planted stance and the huge levels of confidence it inspires. Through the banking turn one after the main straight, followed by a double-apex left hander, the Carrera 4S feels just like a regular 911, only with its claws dug deeper into the tarmac.

Several more laps around the phenomenal PI circuit merely enhance that impression.

You can drive the Carrera 4S incredibly hard, yet it barely ever flickers its PSM stability-control light (they wanted us to leave it on), and the feeling that you’re in a rear-engined 911 remains. But somehow, there’s mechanical superglue injected into the mix.

It’s the everyman’s 911, but despite the enormous reserves of grip, the C4S is still a brilliant driver’s car.

Flat out in the Carrera 2S, the differences are noticeable but minor. The rear-driver is more throttle adjustable, in that it responds quicker to a lifted right pedal, tucking its nose in with more eagerness, tweaking its balance more readily.

But there’s really not a great deal between the two – at least not on a fast circuit like Phillip Island. Punt the two through the twisty new section at Eastern Creek and things might be different, but without doing that, it’s hard to say.

Visually, besides the voluptuous hips, you can pick the new Carrera 4 from its red tail-light strip, which runs between the rear lights, and its tweaked front air-intake grilles with parking-sensors built into the design, rather than tacked on.

A running change sees rev-matching on downchanges in Sport mode for all MY13 991 manuals (think 370Z ‘synchrorev’).

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