2019 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe First Review
- Last year of the successful "Type 991" platform
- 911 Carrera Coupe is the entry-level model
- A lightweight, driver-focused sports car
- Continues to be a segment best-seller
When it comes to single-model sports car variety, Porsche invariably has everyone beat. The company’s venerable 911 Carrera, launched more than a half-century ago, is offered in dozens of configurations that range from all-wheel-drive 370-horsepower convertibles to track-ready 700-hp supercars.
We recently spent some time with the standard 2019 911 Carrera — the model positioned at the entry point on the pricing scale. While there is no denying that the most affordable 911 isn’t gussied-up with as many go-fast components as its more powerful siblings, it’s fun-to-drive factor isn’t sacrificed one single drop.
Rear-Engine Architecture Offers Benefits
Porsche famously puts the engine in the rear of the 911 – physically hanging behind the rear axle. Although having the bulk of its mass on the tail of the vehicle presents some idiosyncrasies in terms of driving dynamics, eight generations of improvement have refined the 911 into one of the most polished driving machines on the road – thanks to the weight over its driven wheels, the Porsche accelerates and brakes better than most in its class.
There are other benefits to the rear-engine architecture, too. Moving the engine allows the automaker to put a roomy front trunk, or frunk, in the nose – it will easily hold a pair of 22-inch roller suitcases (the cabin will hold four more of those travel bags with the second row of seats folded flat), making it the perfect companion for a weekend get-away.
A Comfortable 2+2 Cabin Balances Luxury and Function
Technically, the 911 Carrera has four seatbelts within its cabin. However, as is often the case with 2+2 passenger configurations, adults will only want to occupy the two front seats as the rears are too small for anyone out of elementary school. Nonetheless, the driver and front passenger sport bucket seats are anything but cramped, and there is a startling amount of front legroom – the 911 is one of the only sports cars that comfortably accommodates very tall drivers. And, thanks to an upright seating position and thin roof pillars, vision outward is excellent.
Primary instrumentation is analog dials (a traditional tachometer takes center stage), with a configurable digital display integrated into the cluster. The infotainment screen is touch-sensitive, easily within reach of both front passengers, and the unit is offered with the latest smartphone connectivity (Apple CarPlay is standard). Its operation is intuitive, and the response time is fast.
Porsche isn’t one to load up the 911 with a laundry list of standard features – as a result, the company’s options list is exhaustively long. Even so, leather upholstery and full power equipment is standard. Apart from auto-dimming mirrors, which are a must-have upgrade on the standard model, most options are simply for customization (be careful, as it is easy to drive the price stratospheric).
Twin-Turbocharged 6-Cylinder Power
The classic air-cooled flat-6, an iconic Porsche engine, is ancient history. Today’s 911 Carrera Coupe boasts a thoroughly modern version of that compact engine that is more efficient, cleaner running, and more powerful than ever before. Displacing 3.0 liters, the twin-turbocharged flat-6 is rated at 370 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque.
Mated to our test vehicle’s 7-speed manual gearbox, the 3,150-pound 911 Carrera (with an aluminum-intensive construction, its curb weight is several hundred pounds lighter than its competitors) accelerates to 60 mph in about four seconds flat. Its top speed, only legally attained on the German Autobahn, is more than 180 mph.
Driving Dynamics Tuned for the Enthusiast
The 911 remains the company’s flagship racer – race versions of the Carrera, called the 911 Cup Car, literally roll down the same assembly line mixed with their standard siblings – making it easy to appreciate that driving performance is the 911’s forte. A powerful engine, sophisticated suspension design, and rear-engine architecture within a lightweight chassis fuse into an emotive sports car for the enthusiast.
Acceleration with the turbocharged flat-6 is strong, and there is minimal turbo lag. In contrast to most turbocharged engines, which prefer to shift at lower speeds on the tachometer, the 3.0-liter eagerly pulls to a surprisingly high redline of 7,500 rpm. At speed, there’s a fair amount of tire noise permeating the cabin – blame wide tires and minimal insulation to keep the weight down – but it never drowns out conversation. With just 40 percent of the vehicle’s mass on the front wheels, and a low curb weight, the Porsche 911 dances through corners with ease – it doesn’t take a lot of skill to drive fast. And it almost goes without saying, Porsche’s standard multi-caliper brakes (painted in black on the standard Carrera) are strong and fade-free.
The Standard Porsche 911 – A Sports Car Benchmark
With countless spy shots of the next-generation 911 being spotted undergoing testing, it’s no secret that this will be the last model year for the "Type 991" platform (this vehicle is technically a refreshed "Type 991.2" variant). Yet despite the platform maturity, the 911 Carrera continues to outperform, outsell, and deliver stronger resale value than its rivals year-after-year.
While the competition boldly attempts to one-up the Porsche with more cylinders or flashy styling, the 911 has stubbornly refused to sway from its original formula – mount a 6-cylinder engine in the rear of a lightweight sports car and focus primarily on driving dynamics. The standard 2019 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe remains the embodiment of that recipe.