Modest upgrades for a modest price

The current Porsche 911 received its first official facelift in 2015 when the 991.2 was unveiled at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. The 991.2 received a handful of updates, the most notable of which was Porsche’s decision to drop the naturally aspirated engines in favor of a turbocharged version that came with modified compressor wheels, a specific exhaust system, and a revised engine management system. Needless to say, the updated 911 immediately became the apple of the eye of aftermarket companies.

One tuner that has taken a particular interest in the updated 911 Carrera S is McChip, the same tuning company that has developed programs for BMW, Audi, and Porsche sports cars. The obvious popularity of the new 911 made it a no-brainer for McChip to develop this kit, which puts on enough power to compete against similarly tuned versions of the BMW M4.

Granted, it’s not the most powerful upgrade in the market for the 911 Carrera S, but it still packs enough punch to be taken seriously. Plus, it’s cheap as heck, and ultimately, that’s the kind of thing that can trump whatever perceived misgivings customers may have for the program.

Continue after the jump to read the full review.

Exterior

2016 Porsche 911 Carrera S by McChip High Resolution Exterior
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It’s still the standard Porsche 911 Carrera S and you’ll notice that immediately by the absence of any aerodynamic components. That said, there are a few exterior upgrades on the body of the 911, most notably the black and white vinyl wraps that were used throughout the car. Not one to waste an opportunity to toot its horn, McChip also dressed up the 911 Carrera S with similar wraps bearing the company’s official website. Other than these wraps, there’s little to nothing in the way of exterior modifications. Even the wheels are standard-issue.

Interior

2016 Porsche 911 Carrera S by McChip High Resolution Interior
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The interior modifications on the 911 Carrera S are, oh wait, there aren’t any. Yep. McChip’s tuning program for the Porsche sports car revolves around the engine upgrades it gave to the Carrera’s 3.0-liter turbocharged flat-six engine. But don’t fret, even if the tuner pretty much ignored the interior, there are other ways to get that cabin upgrade. The easiest would be to let Porsche itself do it since it already offers a number of extra options like the Sport Chrono Package. Owners can take that route or they can take the next step and let Porsche Exclusive do all the customization. The latter comes with all sorts of special trims and colors that’ll definitely make any 911 Carrera S cabin stand out.

Drivetrain

2016 Porsche 911 Carrera S by McChip High Resolution Drivetrain
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This is where it gets really interesting because McChip’s tuning program completely revolves around what the tuner is able to accomplish with the Carrera S’s turbocharged flat-six engine. In truth, McChip prepared two different upgrades for the 911 Carrera S. The first one, appropriately called the Stage 1 kit, only has a software upgrade on the sports car’s engine control unit. It doesn’t really do much in the way of significant improvements, but it’s still good enough to add 55 horsepower and 70 pound-feet of torque. That brings the total output up to 475 horsepower and 579 pound-feet of torque.

The Stage 1 kit has already done and adds a valve exhaust system with a sport catalytic converter, bringing the output up to 485 horsepower and 585 pound-feet of torque.

If a customer wants the full McChip tuning experience, the Stage 2 kit is a better choice. This upgrade takes what the Stage 1 kit has already done and adds a valve exhaust system with a sport catalytic converter, bringing the output up to 485 horsepower and 585 pound-feet of torque. It’s admittedly not much – 10 ponies and 15 pound-feet of twist – but for those who are meticulous about the tuning program they’d want on their 911 Carrera S, that extra power is a big difference. In the event that’s the case, McChip is also offering a a PDK transmission software upgrade that helps provide quicker shifting between gears.

No mention was made on the kind of performance improvements these upgrades will give the Carrera S, but seeing as the extra output isn’t that much, I don’t see it posting a 0 to 60 mph sprint time that’s quicker than 3.7 seconds to go with a top speed of around 191 mph.

Pricing

There are only three pricing figures that interested customers need to worry about. The first is €2,499 ($2,900). That’s the cost of getting the Stage 1 kit. It’s actually cheap compared to what other tuners are offering. The other is €8,349 ($9,600), which is the price of the Stage 2 kit. The last one is €1,490 ($1,710), the price of the optional PDK transmission software upgrade.

As for the price of the vinyl wraps, McChip didn’t disclose that so, as always, the best way to find out is to contact the tuner directly.

Competition

BMW M4 by McChip

2016 BMW M4 by Mcchip-DKR
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Yes, I’m comparing a McChip-tuned Porsche 911 Carrera S with a McChip-tuned BMW M4. If you think about it, this is the kind of comparison that really paints a picture on the capabilities of the tuner. In the case of the Bimmer, the German tuner followed a similar blueprint in leaving exterior and interior upgrades to the manufacturer. This one in particular received BMW’s M Performance kit, hence the wider and more pronounced look of the M4.

Under the hood, McChip used a specially developed power kit that was able to add 87 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque to the M4’s 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine. The result is 517 horses and 405 pound-feet of torque of cool beans, which translates to a 0 to 60 mph time of around 3.9 seconds. The differences aren’t that drastic, but if you’re putting money between these two cars, the safer bet is still the 911 Carrera S.

Read our full review here.

Mercedes-AMG C 63 by Vath

2016 Mercedes-AMG C 63 by VATH
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The Mercedes-AMG C 63 is another note-worthy rival to the 911 Carrera S, but the Merc does have the advantage of having a 4.0-liter biturbo V-8 engine. Having a V-8 gives tuners more options on what they’d like to do with it and that’s exactly what Vath did with its program for the AMG C 63. Before diving into that part of the program, let’s look at the exterior upgrades first. Oh, wait. Vath only added a set of 20-inch wheels. Moving on then.

Here’s where the AMG C 63 has the advantage compared to the M4 and the 911 Carrera S. That V-8 engine allowed Vath to increase the output to 609 horsepower and 598 pound-feet of torque, much higher than what McChip was able to do with the Bimmer and the Porsche. Vath was able to do that by remapping the car’s ECU and installing a new oil cooling system. The tuner didn’t release a 0-to-60-mph time but it did say that the AMG C 63 would be able to hit a top speed of 199 mph.

Read our full review here.

Conclusion

2016 Porsche 911 Carrera S by McChip High Resolution Exterior
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This is the kind of tuning kit that should bring a lot of smiles in the faces of those who own a Porsche 911 Carrera S. So the upgrades aren’t that over-the-top. That’s not what’s important. What matters is that McChip was able to develop a kit that not only improves the output of the sports car, but also comes at affordable prices. The ability to develop a quality product at a price that won’t burn holes in your pockets is what you want from a tuning firm. Kudos to McChip for hitting both on the nose.

  • Leave it
    • Vinyl wraps look tacky
    • No interior upgrades
    • Why not just get a 911 GT3?
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