Road test: 2019 Porsche 911 review

Moving Well | Greg Hill | Posted on 12 December 2019

Greg Hill takes the new 2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S (AWD) for a drive.

  • Thumbs up

    Modern take on a timeless classic. Awesome performance and on-road ability delivered in a civilised manner.

  • Thumbs down

    Partially restricted view of instrumentation, only three-year warranty and no spare wheel.

  • Perfect for

    The fortunate few who can afford and appreciate the iconic appearance, superb engineering and outstanding ability of the 911 Carrera 4S.

  • Verdict

    Porsche has taken the legendary 911 up another rung with an impressive array of improvements for the eighth-generation model.


When it comes to aspirational super-cars that sell in large enough numbers to be seen around town, the Porsche 911 is among the front runners. In total, Porsche has built well over a million 911s since its debut in 1963. (More: Porsche Macan 2019 review)

The manufacturer’s list price for the new 911 Carrera 4S is a hefty $281,000, and our car had a long list of extra-cost options which brought the as-tested price up to $326,020 plus on-road costs. 

Even stopped at traffic lights or parked in the driveway, its iconic look and the melodious deep-sounding note from the exhaust turns heads and gets people talking –from a group of schoolboys giving it a big thumbs up, to envy from work colleagues and inquisitive neighbours wanting to know more. And that’s all before we get to the awesome performance and on-road ability.

The new eighth generation is bolder looking, and boasts more tech and greater power. It employs a new-generation 3.0-litre flat-six engine, featuring upgraded twin-turbochargers, more advanced controls and new piezo injectors to improve responsiveness, power and torque characteristics. 

Rear view of silver Porsche 911
Front view of silver Porsche 911


Maximum power has increased 22kW to an impressive 331kW at 6500rpm, while the peak torque is up 30Nm to 530Nm from 2300rpm to 5000rpm. Putting the power to the road, a new slick-shifting, fully electronically controlled eight-speed dual-clutch (PDK) is used for the first time, while the AWD system and the Porsche ‘traction management’ system (in the 4S variant) have been beefed up. (More: Australia's Best Sports Cars $62k-125k)

Unless you have access to a racetrack, the ultimate ability of this car is way beyond legal speed restrictions, but even driving below the posted speed limits on the road, the throttle response, steering feel and surefooted cornering grip provide a sporting feel that’s enough to generate a real adrenaline rush.

For such a potent sports car the ride is surprisingly civilised and comfortable around town. Official fuel consumption for the 911 Carrera 4S is a respectable 9.6L/100km on 98 RON petrol. Cruising around the suburbs and through the Yarra Valley, our test averaged a better-than-expected 11.4L/100km. (More: Fuel myths, busted

The 911 quickly racks up enough credits to forgive or overlook its minor flaws. It is not the easiest vehicle to get in and out of, rear seat space is minimal and the luggage compartment won’t hold much more than a couple of overnight bags – but these are characteristics of almost every two-door four-seat sports coupe. Reality is, these cars are all about the driving experience.   

Close up of silver Porsche 911 badge
Close up of silver Porsche 911 rear grill


The level of comfort and support provided by the front seats (the optional adaptive sport seats in our test car) is exceptional. The revamped interior layout retains a traditional feel, while cleverly incorporating modern technology. Highlights include the addition of an innovative ‘wet mode’ to the range of selectable drive modes. This makes driving on wet roads safer, while the optional ‘night vision assist’ uses a thermal-imaging camera to help detect pedestrians and animals. A great driving position, however, was let down a little by the partially restricted view of the instrument panel on both sides, caused by hands on the steering wheel.  

We were surprised to find a few features such as adaptive cruise control and LED matrix headlights, which are standard on some much cheaper mainstream vehicles, popping up on the 911’s extra-cost option list. 

Porsche, like a few other premium European brands, still only has a three-year warranty. 

Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

PRICING

List price: $249,900 plus on-road costs ($18,579).

Model range: $229,500 to $302,200 plus on-road costs.

DRIVETRAIN

3.0-litre (rear mounted), eight-speed auto, all-wheel drive.

Power: 331kW@6500rpm

Torque: 530Nm@2300 to 5000rpm

Wheels: Alloys: 20-inch front/21-inch rear. Repair kit, no spare wheel. 

FUEL

98 RON petrol, 67-litre tank.

Consumption: 11.4L/100km (RACV test), 9.6L/100km (government test).

CO2 emissions: 219g/km

STANDARD SAFETY

Not yet ANCAP tested, front, side and head airbags for front-seat occupants, autonomous emergency braking, Porsche ‘wet mode’, blind-spot monitoring, tyre pressure monitoring.

STANDARD FEATURES

Digital radio and Bose surround system, LED headlights, rear-view camera, tyre sealing compound and electric compressor.

WARRANTY/SERVICING

Three-year warranty, 12-month /15,000-kilometre service intervals.