Porsche has unveiled a new 911 sports car for the 2020 model year. Redesigning one of the world’s most celebrated performance vehicles – and the best-selling coupe in its segment – was challenging. The company’s stylists had to retain the 911’s iconic shape, engineers had to push the envelope of innovation, and performance could not be compromised. Here’s a look at 10 cool new features that Porsche is utilizing to set the new 911 apart from its competitors. 


1.     Innovative Sensors Detect Water on the Road

In addition to optical sensors that control the windshield wipers, Porsche has installed ultrasonic (acoustic) sensors in the front wheel housings of the new 911 to continuously monitor the sound of the tires hitting the pavement. When the pitch changes — indicating the tires are driving on a wet surface — the driver is visually alerted and encouraged to activate Wet mode. When started, Wet mode changes the rear spoiler position to increase downforce and it recalibrates Porsche Traction Management (PTM) and Porsche Stability Management (PSM) for the slippery conditions. Wet mode, which may be initiated at any time by the driver, also works well in the snow. 

2.     All-Aluminum Body Lowers Weight

Porsche has relied on aluminum alloy to save weight for decades, but its use has never been as extensive in the 911 as it is in the new Type 992. The outgoing Type 991 was about 63 percent steel — the new sports car is only 30 percent steel. The outer skin of the 911 is now completely aluminum sheet, there are extruded aluminum profiles in the bodyshell, and there are more die-cast aluminum parts in the strut mounts, rear tunnel housing, and shock absorber mounts. The extensive use of corrosion-resistant aluminum not only lowers weight (the body is the lightest in 911 history), but it is stiffer than its predecessor. 

3.     Wider Chassis May Accommodate Future Batteries

Late-model 911s have been offered in standard-body, wide-body (all-wheel drive), and Turbo-body widths. Porsche has dropped the standard-body from the Type 992 lineup, instead choosing to have the rear- and all-wheel drive Carrera models share the same wide-body platform. This has several advantages. First, the rear track (the distance between the rear wheels) is greater, which improves lateral grip and cornering performance. The second advantage is that it allows engineers more space in the platform — most suspect that the increased room will be used to house a battery pack for a future hybrid 911 model.

4.     New 8-speed PDK Gearbox Engineered to Fit a Hybrid Motor

Porsche introduced its automated dual-clutch “PDK” 7-speed gearbox in the Type 997 911 just over a decade ago. The Type 992 debuts with an entirely new 8-speed PDK gearbox, which is the first time it has been used in a Porsche sports car. Adding another gear ratio allowed the engineering team to make first gear short (to improve acceleration) and eighth gear taller (to improve efficiency). Not mentioned in the press release is the fact that the 8-speed gearbox is larger, which means it can accommodate a future hybrid module — expect a hybrid gasoline-electric 911 to be announced soon. 

5.     Night Vision Assist Identifies Objects in the Dark

The new 911 is offered with Porsche’s Night View Assist, which uses intelligent thermal imaging cameras to detect objects in the dark. Cameras identify an object’s heat signature up to 900 feet ahead — without any visible light — and on-board electronics quickly decipher whether the item is an animal, human, or object (such as a warm parked vehicle). The in-dash display warns the driver by highlighting the potential hazard in a contrasting color. To reduce the likelihood of false alerts, Night Vision Assist is automatically deactivated in congested urban settings.   

6.     Engine Enhancements Improve Power and Efficiency

Returning for 2020 is Porsche’s twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-6 engine, but it has been significantly upgraded with larger symmetrical turbochargers, piezo injectors, and a completely redesigned charge air cooling system. The symmetrical turbos improve power delivery, piezo injectors allow a more precise (and efficient) fuel delivery, while the revised intake — moving the intercoolers out of the fenders and above the exhaust — improve engine response by reducing the volume of air that must be pressurized by the turbochargers. The result is 443 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. 

7.     Active Aerodynamics Aid Stability and Engine Cooling

The new Porsche 911 Carrera S has a top speed of 191 mph, meaning aerodynamics and drag play an important role. At the nose of the 911 are active shutters for the radiators, to only take in as much as is required for cooling. At the tail, above the rear decklid, is a new full-width motorized spoiler. A full 45 percent larger than the adaptive rear spoiler in the Type 991, the new spoiler is calibrated to sit flush with the rear bodywork, raise partially to reduce drag, or fully extend in performance mode for maximum downforce. Sport, Sport Plus, and Wet modes automatically raise the rear spoiler to its tallest position.

8.     Staggered Wheel Sizes Improve Handling

Performance vehicles have utilized staggered tire sizes — typically the rear tires are wider than the fronts — for decades to tune handling dynamics. This tool has been used extensively throughout the 911’s past, as the rear-engine coupe carries most of its weight over the rear axle. Beginning with the Type 992 in 2020, Porsche will not only stagger wheel widths, but tire diameters. Standard models are fitted with 19-inch alloys in the front, and 20-inch alloys in the rear. Option packages include 20- and 21-inch wheel combinations. Staggering both the tire width and wheel diameter allow the engineers to fine-tune handling to even higher levels. 

9.     Innovative Porsche Track Precision App Helps to Lower Lap Times

An impressive percentage of Porsche owners explore the performance capabilities of their sports cars on racing circuits. To save their experiences, and review the data at a later point, the new 911 is offered with the Porsche Track Precision app. Initiated through the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) interface, the system records GPS-based tracking, acceleration, braking, and lap timing for later review on a smartphone. For those who want even more precise data, the automaker sells a lap trigger that is available through Porsche Tequipment — the company’s accessories department.  

10.     The New 911 is Quicker and Faster than the Vehicle it Replaces

With more power, more grip, and an improved gearbox, it’s no surprise that the new 2020 Porsche 911 is both quicker and faster than its predecessor. According to Porsche’s own conservative numbers, the standard Type 992 Carrera S will accelerate from a rest to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds, while the Type 992 Carrera 4S will do the same run in just 3.6 seconds (both models are 0.4 seconds faster than the Type 991 Carrera and Carrera S). For those seeking even quicker acceleration, the optional Sport Chrono Package shaves another 0.2 seconds off the sprint. Top speed is also up – the new 911 will hit a blistering 191 mph if given the opportunity.

While you're here, be sure to take a look at the new 2020 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

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