2017 Porsche 911 Carrera S Test Drive: Newest 911 Breaks from Tradition [Review]

2017 Porsche 911 Carrera S

When driving mode is set to Normal, the car performs admirably, even on rough road surfaces, delivering a smooth and controlled experience.

As mentioned above, Porsche has moved the Sport and Sport+ settings even farther over to the firm side of the equation for improved handling. There is definitely no confusing the Normal and Sport suspension settings in the new turbocharged entry level Porsches. Ride quality is adjustable, but even in the firmest setting, comfort never disappears.

A new PSM Sport mode, with a higher intervention threshold allows for greater yaw and wheelspin while retaining the PSM function if required, with residual “PSM support” under extreme scenarios for all friction coefficients, with a considerably more noticeable differentiation between functionalities from PSM Active to PSM Sport and, it’s no longer necessary for PSM to be fully deactivated during spirited driving, however, it’s still possible.

Despite the change from hydraulic to electric power steering, the car delivers a satisfying on-center feeling and instant responsiveness with enough legitimate feedback to provide a lofty level of confidence and control. The newly optional active rear-axle steering on the Carrera S (previously only available on the 911 Turbo and GT3 models) delivers stability and maneuverability that are dramatically enhanced by adding up to 2.8 degrees of rear-wheel steering angle in either the same or opposite direction as the front wheels, dependent upon speed. The turning circle is reduced by nearly one and a half feet, yielding much improved maneuverability. Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV Plus) further elevates driving dynamics, with increased stability in cornering.

2017 Porsche 911 Carrera S

Braking benefits from upgrades such as larger discs and pads on the Carrera S, which are now shared those of the 911 Turbo. The optionally available carbon-ceramic brake system (PCCB) adds even greater “whoa” power to compensate for the additional go power.

Moving into the cabin, the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system has been revised and is now standard on every 911, along with what was the previously an optional rearview camera.

The PCM’s new 7-inch touchscreen now reacts to swiping and pinching motions along with recognizing finger-written number and letter actions in the standard navigation system, which has been upgraded featuring better search capability. Wi-Fi connectivity is also now standard. PCM is Apple CarPlay compatible while Android Auto is not yet available. There are several connectivity features for infotainment and communication with ports and interfaces, as well as a connect plus module that includes the Porsche Vehicle Tracking System allowing access to vehicle data via a smartphone app for remotely controlling certain vehicle functions.

A lot of button controls are still positioned beneath the PCM screen and running down the center console, but familiarity will readily allow for the quick accomplishment of desired tasks.

Interior fit and finish are typically stellar in true Porsche fashion and the optimum seating position may be achieved through the optional 14-way power front seats.

During a Napa Valley and Mendocino wine country press introduction, my driving partner and I were treated to experiencing first a 911 Carrera S Cabriolet with the PDK transmission and a gorgeous Sapphire Blue metallic exterior finish with a Black top and interior. The base price was set at $115,700 while the addition of optional features and equipment along with the delivery and handling charge boosted the final count and amount to $144,805.

Next up came piloting the 911 Carrera 4S coupe, also with the PDK automatic gearbox, but with the exterior finished in Night Blue metallic and the interior executed in Saddle Brown. Its base price tag read $110,300, which grew to a final tally of $142,255 with its inventory of optional fare and destination fee.

SUMMARY: The 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera S in either the Coupe or Cabriolet configuration represents the pinnacle of fine, high-performance sports cars. Yes, the Turbo and GT badged models do cost more and may go faster, but the new turbocharged entry level Carrera and Carrera S examples deliver exemplary acceleration with the increased torque available over a broad range with the steering approaching effortless, especially with either all-wheel drive or with active rear axle steering.

As a fan of open vehicles, the 911 Carrera S Cabriolet was my ride of choice, and as the owner of a restored 1957 Porsche Speedster, I have to admit that selling it and replacing it with the new Cabriolet dangerously heightens the level of temptation. The ultimate scenario would be to keep the Speedster and to be able to afford the new Cabriolet as an additional asset, but you can’t have everything, and I’ve grown attached to “Speedy” as a member of the family. I must admit, the Cabriolet’s top is a breeze to open and close, and it is equally gorgeous with the top up or down.

2017 Porsche 911 Carrera S

The 911 Carrera 4S Coupe is almost equally desirable, and to many, it would be the favored choice for those who don’t enjoy the elements. Both are extremely well balanced, totally stable, and a pure joy to drive in either a completely docile manner or in an all-out, “pedal-to-the metal” spirited fashion. Canyon carving becomes child’s play and is as natural as cruising in Beverly Hills.

In the final analysis, if you possess the financial wherewithal, the purchase of even the base Porsche 911 Carrera represents an ideal way to go for a most rewarding motoring experience — and its 370 horsepower with 331 pound-feet of torque is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Ferdinand’s legacy not only lives on – it continues to prosper and to grow ever better.

In this TFLcar video, we bring together four Porsches for an open drag race on the track – a 1986 Porsche 911 Turbo, a 1981 911 SC, a 1997 Boxster, and the 996 911 TFL test car. Watch episode 5 of Project Porsche to find out which is the better car on the road course and in a flat-out, straight line drag race.

Porsche 2017 911 Carrera 2017 911 Carrera S 2017 Carrera Cabriolet 2017 Carrera S Cabriolet
Base price $90,395* $104,395* $102,695* $116,695*
Engine 3.0L twin-turbo flat 6-cylinder (Boxer)
Power 370 hp @ 6,500 rpm 420 hp @ 6,500 rpm 370 hp @ 6,500 rpm 420 hp @ 6,500 rpm
Torque 331 lb-ft @ 1,700-5,000 rpm 368 lb-ft @ 1,700-5,000 rpm 331 lb-ft @ 1,700-5,000 rpm 368 lb-ft @ 1,700-5,000 rpm
Transmission 7-speed manual or 7-speed PDK automatic
Drivetrain Layout rear engine / rear-wheel drive
Curb Weight 3,153 lbs (man) / 3,197 lbs (PDK) 3,175 lbs (man) / 3,219 lbs (PDK) 3,307 lbs (man) / 3,351 (PDK) 3,329 lbs (man) / 3,373 lbs (PDK)
EPA-estimated fuel economy – manual 20/29/23 mpg 20/29/23 mpg 20/29/23 mpg 20/28/23 mpg
EPA-estimated fuel economy – PDK 22/30/25 mpg 22/28/24 mpg 22/28/24 mpg 22/28/24 mpg
Top track speed – manual 183 mph 191 mph 181 mph 190 mph
Top track speed – PDK 182 mph 190 mph 180 mph 189 mph
Acceleration 0-60 mph manual 4.4 sec 4.1 sec 4.6 sec 4.3 sec
Acceleration 0-60 mph PDK 4.2 sec 3.9 sec 4.4 sec 4.1 sec
Quarter mile time manual 12.8 sec 12.5 sec 13.0 sec 12.7 sec
Quarter mile time PDK 12.6 sec 12.3 sec 12.8 sec 12.5 sec
Quarter mile time PDK w/launch control 12.4 sec 12.0 sec 12.5 sec 12.2 sec

* Includes $995 destination and handling fee

Add $6,900 for the all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 and 4S. 911 Carrera and 911 Carrera S models are on sale now.