2020 Porsche 911 Carrera: Base 911 is Still a Good 911

Strong points
  • Timeless looks
  • High levels of performance
  • Excellent handling
  • Sharp, user-friendly infotainment system
Weak points
  • Certainly not cheap
  • Many expensive options
  • Useless rear seats
Full report

The current-generation Porsche 911 Carrera (codename 992) was introduced last year as a 2020 model. First, we got the 443-horsepower Carrera S and Carrera 4S with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre flat-six engine. Now, here is the base 911 Carrera, which starts at $111,000 in Canada.

Many automakers opt to start things off with the regular variants of their new cars before adding higher-performing models. Since Porsche did the opposite, we wondered: is the entry-level 911 still an interesting choice? Should customers simply ignore it and go with an S instead? We spent a full week with the car to find out.

Photo: Gabriel Gélinas

Over $30,000 Worth of Options

Our Gentian Blue Metallic tester wasn’t exactly the cheapest 911 you can buy, mind you. It came with over $30,000 worth of options, pushing the price up to $142,810.

Some of these, like the 20-inch front and 21-inch rear RS Spyder wheels ($4,260), positively enhance both styling and driving dynamics. Others such as the Comfort Access package ($630), Lane Change Assist ($1,200) or illuminated, brushed aluminum door sill plates ($1,030) are admittedly unnecessary on a car that’s supposed to be more affordable. But that’s the way Porsche likes it.

Photo: Gabriel Gélinas

64 Fewer Horses

Compared to the 911 Carrera S, the base 911 is amputated by 64 horsepower and 59 pound-feet of torque. Displacement is the same, but the turbos are smaller and tuning is different.

In terms of acceleration, this 911 is half a second slower than the S from 0-100 km/h. But despite not being as explosive at full throttle, it still delivers quick sprints and passing manoeuvres.

In relaxed driving, the PDK dual-clutch transmission performs lightning-quick shifts for better fuel economy. Press the Sport button, though, and it will hold gears longer in order to fully tap into the engine’s power and torque reserve. Alternatively, you can use the paddle shifters.

Overall, performance meets expectations. The base 911 actually proves more potent than the previous-gen Carrera S, so that alone should put any fears to rest.

Photo: Gabriel Gélinas

Exceptionally Skilled as Always

With the oversized wheels (optional), the car makes a pretty convincing statement as far as driving dynamics go. When attacking a highway off-ramp faster than the recommended speed, just dial the suspension to a firmer setting and the razor-sharp electromechanical steering will allow you to align the 911 with the perfect trajectory.  

The RWD configuration makes certain manoeuvres a bit more complicated—U-turns, for instance—but the reactions of the chassis feel more natural. At higher velocities, the playful 911 Carrera is a willing and spirited partner, yet it becomes extremely laid-back and compliant in normal driving with the suspension set at its softest.

What about the cockpit? The digital instrument cluster and centre touchscreen can be configured as you please, while the new infotainment system is very intuitive to use. Wireless Apple CarPlay integration is now part of the mix.

Photo: Gabriel Gélinas

Best Buy in the Segment

The 2020 Porsche 911 lineup has been carefully planned to meet the specific needs of customers. The base model remains a true 911, although it feels a bit more like a grand touring coupe than an actual sports car.

In our opinion, considering the tough weather conditions and not-so-pristine roads in Canada, the more powerful 911 Carrera 4S with all-wheel drive is a safer, more adequate pick. Also, the price is similar to that of a loaded 911 Carrera… provided you don’t check too many boxes on the options list.

That being said, you can do whatever you want with your money. Whichever 911 you choose, it will be a good buy. Build quality, reliability and residual value remain at the top of the segment. If there is one sports car you can’t go wrong with, it’s this one.

Share on Facebook

More on the subject

NewsThe Car Guide’s 2020 Best Buys: Porsche 911
Every year, The Car Guide publishes its Best Buys in nearly 30 different vehicle categories. Today we finish our review of the 2020 winners with a look at luxury sports cars , the segment with the highest top scores. Completely revised and improved, the next-generation Porsche 911 (MSRP from $113,000) …
NewsYou Can Now Follow Your New Porsche on the Assembly Line
Porsche customers are undoubtedly some of the most passionate sports car enthusiasts out there. In order to provide a more personalized buying and ownership experience, the automaker launched the “My Porsche” web portal a few years ago. Now, it gets even better with the addition of a new feature called …
NewsNew Porsche 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design is the Cherry on Top
Porsche is a sports car manufacturer with plenty of tradition that lives on through a number of special editions. The latest example is the new 2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design, the first of four collector's models from the brand’s Heritage Design strategy. Crafted by the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur …
New Models2021 Porsche 911 Targa Models are Coming
A Targa variant of the next-generation Porsche 911 (992) is being introduced for the 2021 model year. This type of body style—with a removable roof and fixed rear window—is pretty rare nowadays. The only other cars to offer one are the Mazda MX-5 RF and to some extent the Chevrolet …
ElectricThe Porsche Taycan Gets Some Updates for 2021
On the market since the 2020 model year, the Porsche Taycan gets a few improvements for next year. The electric Porsche sedan will now be available with an optional head-up display, which provides the driver with data ranging from navigation to phone calls and powertrain status information, to name a …
NewsPorsche May Have Cheated With Gasoline Engines, Too
The Dieselgate scandal that rocked the Volkswagen Group is still not completely over after five years, and now we’ve learned that Porsche has opened an investigation into possible manipulation of gasoline engines to pass emission tests. Affected models include the 911 and Panamera manufactured between 2008 and 2013. German publication …
New Models2022 Porsche 911 GT3 Debuts With Faster Nürburgring Lap Times
6:58:927 minutes—that’s how long it took test driver Lars Kern to complete a lap of the legendary Nürburgring-Nordschleife with the redesigned and re-engineered 2022 Porsche 911 GT3. For the record, the new model is faster than the previous one by a whopping 17 seconds. It is yet another variant of …
NewsThe Car Guide's Best Buys for 2021: Porsche 911
Every year, The Car Guide unveils a list of Best Buys covering all the different vehicle categories in the industry. Luxury sports cars are high-performance models, and the top ones have legions of die-hard enthusiasts. For 2021, our Best Buy award goes to the quintessential sports car: the Porsche 911 …