New-generation 911 arrives with vintage-inspired looks and high-tech features

Just like its predecessor, the 2020 Porsche 911 992 is a mix of old an new. While it rides on new underpinnings and features state-of-the-art technology, its design harks back to previous generations, including the original 911. The new sports car brings a few innovations to the market, but its most notable feature remains the fact that it’s the first 911 to not have a naturally aspirated engine.

  • 2020 Porsche 911
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    boxer 6
  • Transmission:
    PDK
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    443 @ 6500
  • Torque @ RPM:
    390 @ 5000
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.5 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    191 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    9/10

2020 Porsche 911 Exterior

  • Redesigned bumpers
  • Vintage-design trunk and engine lid
  • Slim taillights with full-width light bar
  • New exhaust layout
  • Sporty rear diffuser
  • New retractable spoiler
  • Aluminum body
2020 Porsche 911
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The sports car has wider track and thus needs wider fenders to cover the wheels

Not surprisingly, the new 911 retains the shape and proportions of its predecessor, a strategy that Porsche has been using since the 1960s. But there are a few notable changes to talk about, starting with a wider body.

While wider bodies were previously reserved for Carrera 4, GTS, and GT3 models, the base 911 now features a similar design. This is mostly because the sports car has wider track and thus needs wider fenders to cover the wheels. In numbers, the new 911 is 1.8 wider in the front and 1.7 inches wider in the rear.

2020 Porsche 911
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The retractable spoiler is larger and wider than before and extends just above the taillights

The front section is also a bit longer than the old model, mostly because Porsche added a front hood with a distinctive recess in front of the windshield, a tribute to earlier generations of the 911.

The headlamps were redesigned as well. While they retain the four-point layout, the LED lights were repositioned. The same goes for the main light in the center. The revised bumper now features new surrounds for the side vents, which have a rectangular shape. These are finished in black and feature thin horizontal slats. They also include very slim daytime running lights seamlessly integrated into the upper trim.

The center section is different too, being narrower than on the previous model. It also has a rectangular shape, which makes the bumper look more aggressive. The trunk lid is now narrower and more angular toward the nose, a design inspired from the original 911.

2020 Porsche 911
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The entire body, except for the front and rear fascias, is now made from aluminum

Onto the sides, there are minimal changes to talk about besides the slightly longer, but barely noticeable front end and the beefed-up fenders. The 911 now features flush door handles, while the mirror caps have been reshaped in order to reduce wind noise. The profile is rounded out by new wheel designs with rims measuring 20 inches up front and 21 inches to the rear.

There are more changes to talk about around back though. For starters, the retractable spoiler (or variable-position spoiler, as Porsche likes to call it) is larger and wider than before and extends just above the taillights. The way it moves is also unique, as it’s fully integrated into the bodywork when not in use. The hood grille has also been changed, now looking similar to the original 911. The new design also includes a red stop light in the center. The vertical louvers are finished in black on rear-wheel drive models and in silver on the AWD Carrera 4S.

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The taillights are thinner than ever and the extremely slim red light bar extends over the entire width of the fascia. Paired with the "Porsche" lettering below, it reminds of 911s from 1980s and 1990s.

The rear bumper is also new, integrating a big, trapezoidal license plate recess and big exhaust pipes that sit closer to the center section.

The black-painted apron, the vents on the corners, and the way the exhaust outlets are integrated into the bumper remind me of the Porsche 959.

While it’s not noticeable under the paint, the entire body, except for the front and rear fascias, is now made from aluminum.

Like the current model, the next-gen car will also become available in convertible and targa body styles. Naturally, the Carrera, Turbo, and GTS models will have their own unique features on the outside.

2020 Porsche 911 Exterior Dimensions

Length 177.9 in
Width w/ mirrors folded 72.9 in
Width 79.7 in
Height 51.2 in
Wheelbase 96.5 in
Front track 62.5 in
Rear track 61.2 in
Drag coefficient (Cd) 0.31 Cd
Turning circle 36.8 ft
Curb weight 3,382 lb
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) 4,376 lb
Maximum load 994 lb

2020 Porsche 911 Interior

  • Redesigned dashboard
  • 10.9-inch infotainment
  • Digital instrument cluster
  • Vintage-looking center stack
  • Loweredm revised seats
  • Premium materials
2020 Porsche 911
- image 806600

While the exterior remains familiar, the interior marks a significant departure from the 991 model.

Granted, Porsche kept the two-tier layout of the dashboard, but the horizontal separation now extends across the entire width of the panel.

Previously, it ran only across the passenger side, being blocked by the center stack, but Porsche redesigned the latter and the lower dash flows uninterrupted toward the instrument cluster. This design is a throwback to the first-generation 911.

As a result, the infotainment display sits higher in the dashboard now. Placed just above the separation area between the two levels, the screen is notably wider, now measuring 10.9 inches. The A/C vents were lowered as well, now positioned just above the center console. Right below the screen there’s a thin control panel with five buttons shaped like toggle switches for a vintage look.

2020 Porsche 911
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The door panels look cleaner and appear to offer more storage room in their lower areas

The revised center console is shorter and look cleaner now, with just a few buttons and knobs placed above the below the gear selector.

The instrument cluster retains the center-mounted rev counter flanked by a pair of clocks on each side, but they’re digital now and the entire unit is wider. The steering wheel retains the design of its predecessor, but Porsche designed thinner spokes and new controls on each side. The door panels look cleaner as well and appear to offer more storage room in their lower areas.

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The seats are positioned 0.2 inches lower and feature a thinner seat cushion

The 911 features new seats as well. The big news here is that they’re positioned 0.2 inches lower and feature a thinner seat cushion, which means the driving position is very much similar to that of a full-fledged supercar. However, Porsche stresses that despite the sporty position, seating comfort is better than ever, as is lateral support in the shoulder areas.

The German firm didn’t have much to say about the tech behind the new infotainment system, but it did mention that it features the latest Porsche Connect Plus with online traffic traffic information. I will come back with an update as soon as Porsche spills the beans.

2020 Porsche 911 Drivetrain

  • Turbo 3.0-liter engine
  • 443 horsepower
  • 390 pound-feet
  • 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds
  • Top speed at 191 mph
  • PDK transmission
  • Manual coming soon
  • Optional AWD
  • Hybrid model possible
2020 Porsche 911
- image 807693
As expected, the 992-generation 911 features a revised version of the twin-turbo, 3.0-liter flat-six engine introduced with the 991.2 facelift.

This means that the 992 is the first-ever 911 to not feature a naturally aspirated engine.

The twin-turbo mill sports an important amount of upgrades, starting with new, larger turbochargers with a symmetrical layout and electrically controlled wastegate valves. It also features a completely redesigned charge air cooling system, and, for the first time, piezo fuel injectors. All these improvements enhance the responsiveness, endurance, and the free-revving nature of the engine.

Of course, the new internals also improve power and torque rating.

The flat-six unit cranks out 443 horsepower and 390 pound-feet in the Carrera S, figures that account for 23-horsepower and 22-pound-foot improvements over the old model.
2020 Porsche 911
- image 806764

Although not significantly more powerful, the new Carrera S is notably quicker, needing 3.5 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start, which makes it almost a half-second quicker than its predecessor. Add the Sport Chrono option and the benchmark drops to 3.3 clicks. Top speed is the only number that carried over, remaining locked at 191 mph.

The AWD-equipped Carrera 4S model is even quicker. It needs 3.4 seconds to reach 60 mph in base form and 3.2 clicks to get there with Sport Chrono.

Again, it’s almost a half-second quicker than the old model. Top speed increased from 188 to 190 mph for this model.

All the figures above are for 911s equipped with the automatic PDK transmission. A manual gearbox is not yet available, but will be added in 2019.

2020 Porsche 911
- image 807694

Moving over to the 911 Turbo and Turbo S, which have yet to be unveiled, things are a bit more complicated. The current versions use turbocharged, 3.8-liter flat-six mills that crank out 540 horsepower in the Turbo and 580 horses in the Turbo S. Porsche is likely to update these units for the new-generation models, but a brand-new engine design is possible as well. Whatever the case, the next Turbo should get a significant power update. Look for a 570-horsepower Turbo and a 610-horsepower Turbo S.

Although Porsche has yet to confirm it, a hybrid model is also rumored to be in the works.

However, there’s no information as to what gasoline engine the Germans might combine with one or more electric motors. The V-6 in the Cayenne and Panamera hybrid models is an option, as the 918’s V-8 system is probably too large for the 911, but Porsche will definitely use the valuable lessons it learned while developing the supercar. One option would be the 919 race car’s hybrid drivetrain that includes a flat-four, but Porsche could also create a brand-new combo for the 911.

August Achleitner, the director of the 911 model line, actually confirmed that Porsche is indeed considering electrification, assuming that it will fit the specific character of the sports car. "I drove the prototype of our coming electric sports car, the Mission E, and it was a very compelling experience. And the performance of the Porsche LMP race cars with hybrid drive systems is quite simply sensational,” he said in a statement, adding that he can imagine an electric motor in the 911.

2020 Porsche 911 Drivetrain Specifications

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S
Cylinder layout / number of cylinders Boxer 6 Twin-Turbo Boxer 6 Twin-Turbo
Displacement 3.0 l 3.0 l
Engine layout Rear engine Rear engine
Max. Power 443 HP @ 6,500 RPM 443 HP @ 6,500 RPM
Torque 390 LB-FT @ 2,300-5,000 RPM 390 LB-FT @ 2,300-5,000 RPM
Top Track Speed 191 mph PDK 190 mph PDK
Acceleration 0 - 60 mph 3.5 sec PDK / 3.3 sec (PDK with Sport Chrono) 3.4 sec PDK / 3.2 sec (PDK with Sport Chrono)

2020 Porsche 911 Safety

2020 Porsche 911
- image 806795

Porsche didn’t elaborate much in this department, but there’s big news in the form of a brand-new driving mode. It’s called Wet Mode, it’s an industry-first, and detects water on the road.

Once the 911 hits wet tarmac, Wet Mode kicks in and adjusts the stability control and anti-lock brake systems to wet conditions and warns the driver.

There’s also a camera-based warning and brake assist system, fitted as standard as well, which detects the risk of collisions with moving vehicles and initiates emergency braking if necessary. A Night Vision Assist system with a thermal imaging camera is optionally available for the first time, while the Adaptive Cruise Control, also optional, includes automatic distance control, stop-and-go, and an Emergency Assist function.

2020 Porsche 911 Prices

2020 Porsche 911
- image 807666

The new 911 Carrera S starts from $113,200. That’s a significant premium over the outgoing model, which retails from $105,100. Go for the Carrera 4S and the sticker jumps to $120,600, up from the previous $112,000. These prices do not include the delivery, processing and handling fee of $1,050.

Expect the base 911 Carrera model to retail from just under the $100,000 mark when it arrives in 2019. The upcoming 911 Turbo will cost at least $165,000, while the Turbo S could retail from nearly $200,000.

The new Porsche 911 will reach U.S. dealers in Summer 2019.

2020 Porsche 911 Competition

Jaguar F-Type

2017 Jaguar F-Type High Resolution Exterior
- image 655252

The F-Type might come in a different engine layout that the 911, but it’s available with an array of engines and comes in both coupe and convertible guises. The fact that it’s gorgeous and powerful also makes it a proper competitor for the Porsche. In basic trim, the F-Type is offered with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Next up is the supercharged, 3.0-liter V-6 engine delivering either 340, 380, or 400 horsepower. More power can be had with the F-Type R, which uses a supercharged, 5.0-liter V-8 rated at 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque. Transmission choices include the eight-speed automatic and the newer six-speed manual. Jaguar also offers an AWD system. Though it’s not as quick as the 911 Turbo with a 0-to-60 mph sprint of 3.9 seconds, the F-Type has the advantage of being significantly more affordable thanks to its $59,900 sticker.

Find out more about the Jaguar F-Type.

Mclaren 570S

2016 McLaren 570S Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 651280

McLaren’s first venture into this niche, the 570S was developed as a competitor for the 911 Turbo. Using a mid-mounted V-8 engine in the form of a turbocharged, 3.8-liter unit, the 570S benefits from 562 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. However, the 570S is a bit slower in a straight line, needing 3.2 seconds to hit 60 mph before topping out at 204 mph. But it’s definitely the quicker option when compared to the Carrera S. On the flipside, the British sports car is no fewer than 642 pounds lighter than the Turbo S at 2,895 pounds. Pricing starts from $184,900, notably more expensive than the 911.

Read more about the McLaren 570S.

Conclusion

2020 Porsche 911
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Needless to say, the new 911 was crafted using the same old recipe. It looks familiar but fresh, it’s faster, and even more powerful. It also has more tech than ever and a few innovations, but it remains the pure, iconic sports car we’ve seen on the road for more than 50 years. Specs are still thin and Porsche has yet to unveil the base and Turbo models, but rest assured, the new generation will be at least as diverse as the outgoing 911.

  • Leave it
    • The naturally aspirated flat-six is long gone
    • Hybrid drivetrain might alter the 911’s heritage
    • Expensive Turbo models

Further Reading

2017 Porsche 911 High Resolution Exterior
- image 644898

Read our full review of the base, 2017 Porsche 911

2020 Porsche 911 Cabriolet Spyshots Exterior
- image 755378

Read our full speculative reveiw on the 2020 Porsche 911 Cabrio

2020 Porsche 911 Turbo Convertible
- image 780644

Read our full specuatlive review on the 2020 Porsche 911 Turbo Convertible

2020 Porsche 911 Turbo Spyshots Exterior
- image 720875

Read our speculative review on the 2020 Porsche 911 Turbo

2017 Porsche 911 Turbo High Resolution Exterior
- image 658184

Read our in-depth review of the 2017 Porsche 911 Turbo

2005 Porsche 911 Carrera (997)
- image 27215

Read our full review on the 2005 Porsche 911 Carrera (997).

1998 - 2004 Porsche 911 Carrera (996) High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 378657

Read our full review on the 1998 - 2004 Porsche 911 Carrera (996).

1993 - 1998 Porsche 911 (993) High Resolution Exterior
- image 609673

Read our full review on the 1993 - 1998 Porsche 911 (993).

1975 - 1989 Porsche 911 (930)
- image 70593
porsche 911 (930)

Read our full review on the 1975 - 1989 Porsche 911 (930).

Update History

Updated 03/14/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Porsche 911 out for a new testing session. This time the car was caught with the spoiler down giving us the chance to have a good look at the 911´s classic profile in its new modern interpretation.

Updated 02/01/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Porsche 911 out for a new testing session, this time during cold winter conditions.

Updated 11/09/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Porsche 911 out for a new testing session, this time around Nurburgring.

Spy Shots

March 28, 2017 - Next Porsche 911 caught testing at Nurburgring

2020 Porsche 911 Exterior Spyshots
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2020 Porsche 911 Exterior Spyshots
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2020 Porsche 911 Exterior Spyshots
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2020 Porsche 911 Exterior Spyshots
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March 14, 2017 - Next Porsche 911 caught with the spoiler down

2020 Porsche 911 Exterior Spyshots
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2020 Porsche 911 Exterior Spyshots
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2020 Porsche 911 Exterior Spyshots
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2020 Porsche 911 Exterior Spyshots
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February 1st, 2017 - Next Porsche 911 caught playing in the snow

2020 Porsche 911 Exterior Spyshots
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2020 Porsche 911 Exterior Spyshots
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2020 Porsche 911 Exterior Spyshots
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2020 Porsche 911 Exterior Spyshots
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November 9, 2016 - Next Porsche 911 goes testing at Nurburgring

2020 Porsche 911 Exterior Spyshots
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2020 Porsche 911 Exterior Spyshots
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2020 Porsche 911 Exterior Spyshots
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2020 Porsche 911 Exterior Spyshots
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November 25, 2015 - First testing session

2020 Porsche 911 Exterior Spyshots
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2020 Porsche 911 Exterior Spyshots
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Press release

There’s an oft-repeated anecdote from 1990: the setting is a technical seminar in Berlin for engineers in the automotive industry. During a break, two participants are talking about the Porsche 911. One of them, a leading engineer for a major carmaker from southern Germany, says: “If I had to improve that car, I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea. I think it would be incredibly difficult.” The other, a leading engineer at Porsche, regards his counterpart with incredulity—and says nothing. It still elicits a chuckle from August Achleitner today when he thinks of his befuddlement back then in Berlin. Further developing the Porsche 911 has been his job for almost twenty years. Achleitner is the director of the 911 model line and is thus something like the keeper of the Porsche grail. “The heart of the company,” he calls the 911. If one were to strip down everything that bears a Porsche logo, that exemplifies and drives the company, to reveal the core of the brand, it would look like a 911. With its unmistakable flyline—the typical roof line—the 911’s style-defining basic form retains its freshness and trailblazing spirit even today.
It’s all about that sporty note

The next 911, generation 992, will carry on that proud tradition. “We know where we’re from and where we want to go,” says Achleitner. “The decisive factor is that the 911 generates a driving feeling that no other car can impart.” That’s not meant in an arrogant way, it’s really just the nature of things: the specific seat position, the flat-six engine in the rear, its inimitable sound, the astonishing amount of space, the perfect feedback from the brakes, steering, and pedal system together with the striking suspension, the powerfully dynamic but always easily controllable burst of power, and the one-of-a-kind design that ties it all together, making this car the epitome of what it has meant to be a sports car—for fifty-five years.

Achleitner: “We know where we’re from and where we want to go.”

The riveting question is how the 911 needs to develop in the future to continue to define the brand as the gravitational core of Porsche. Automotive industry megatrends—including digitalization, electrification, and connectivity—will play a role, as well as the question of how these trends should be evaluated. “With each innovation, the decisive factor for me is whether it suits the character of the 911,” explains Achleitner. “We don’t necessarily have to be the first in this regard with the 911. What’s crucial, rather, is that every innovation be offered in a typical Porsche manifestation.” Here, it’s the designers, above all, who are called on to work their magic, according to the 911 chief. The 996, for example, was the first to feature a navigation system. When Achleitner looks at this model today, he still finds it beautiful and elegant, although he has to admit that some elements strike him as a bit outdated now. It pains him, “because the car suffers for it.” It’s therefore important, he feels, to design digital interfaces between people and machines that are as timeless as possible. “Anything but contrived,” is Achleitner’s creed. He’s convinced: “Even where the public might be expecting a bigger ‘wow factor,’ in the long run a certain aesthetic reserve pays dividends.”
The joy of driving always has to be in the foreground

But the visual packaging of new technologies is just one aspect. The other aspects involve the capabilities that they enable. “Even when it comes to the individual assistance systems, they have to fit with the 911,” underscores Achleitner. After all, no one buys a sports car because it offers adaptive cruise control or a lane-keeping assist function. “Those are convenient and useful things. But the customer has to make the choice to use them and, above all, be able to switch them off when they’re not desired.”

One thing is especially important to him: the joy of driving always has to be in the foreground. “That’s why a 911 will always have a steering wheel.” And if autonomously driving cars break through more quickly than expected? “Then the 911 will be one of the last cars to drive autonomously.”

“The decisive factor is that the 911 generates a driving feeling that no other car can impart.”

In all discussions of autonomous driving, Achleitner hews to his line: Porsche and the 911 are a bastion of stability amid the hype, which heretofore has primarily consisted of mere announcements and statements. The 911 will not change radically—and yet it does evolve. It was 1997 when the era of air-cooled engines came to an end and the age of water-cooled flat-six engines began. It was 2015 when the last naturally aspirated engine in the rear of the Carrera was completely replaced by a turbo engine. “Some fans rushed the barricades; it was all gloom and doom for many,” recalls Achleitner. “And then the same thing happened as always: nothing.” The new models have always received even more rave reviews than their predecessors. “That encourages us to think about fundamental innovations in the future as well.”
Electric drive technology? Why not?

Electric drive technology is a good example. “Two years ago I’d have said no way. Today I wouldn’t categorically rule it out,” concedes the head of the model line. Just to preclude any misunderstandings: the Porsche 911, Type 992 is not an electric sports car. But it could be an option somewhere down the line. Achleitner describes his ongoing change of heart: “I drove the prototype of our coming electric sports car, the Mission E, and it was a very compelling experience. And the performance of the Porsche LMP race cars with hybrid drive systems is quite simply sensational.” Achleitner is certain that no car with a combustion engine alone could beat them around the corner. Although he admittedly clings to the flat-six engine, he can, nowadays, imagine an electric motor in the 911. So there will be a next step in terms of drive technology—if it fits Porsche and the specific character of the 911.

The secret of the Porsche 911 could perhaps be described as follows: it’s the sportiest and most dynamic car in the company’s line-up, but also its bastion of stability. A point of orientation for which Achleitner has found a very simple development principle—which may have something to do with that short talk back in Berlin in 1990. In contrast to his counterpart that day, he does have an idea: “The new 911, too, will be the best 911 of all time.”

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