Give a car to Steve Sutcliffe and he’s bound to flog it within an inch of its life. He extracts every iota of performance from the car, and in addition to giving a good thrashing, gives it a fair judgement. For that reason, he’s one of the best. How many journalists can run times similar to an F1 test driver in that test driver’s regular F1 car?
Of course, he prefaces his critique of the 992 Carrera S with the acknowledgement that it’s first and foremost a road car, and not a racing car. That said, it does wear an S on its rear hatch, which holds it to certain expectations.
It has to be said that, as a car optimized for road usage, it’s a success. More power, 391 lb/ft of torque from 1,900 revs, and an exquisite exterior make it a hit. However, its added heft make it a less involving car. Add a small amount of girth, and it’s immediately noticeable on road or track; the car is just not as placeable.
Still, it managed a 1:16.00 around Anglesey, which is nothing to sniff at. Considerably quicker than the 991 Carrera S, and even faster than a Nissan GT-R, there’s no denying its pace. Only being 0.8 of a second off a 991.1 Turbo, especially at a circuit that rewards the punchier motors, speaks to the power this mid-tier 911 offers. It’s a staggering amount of performance for a car that isn’t truly made with the track in mind, and as civil as any two-door Porsche on the market.
Still, Sutcliffe is underwhelmed. Noticeable heft, a less incisive front, and a less characterful motor make it “quick with a lower-case q.” While his standards for track performance probably exceed most owners’, it’s still refreshing to hear a blunt, reasoned, and fair take on a car that will undoubtedly stretch a smile across the face of 95% of its users.