Let’s face it: the 911 Carrera has never been far away from a controversy or two. Right from launch as a nonRennsport model in 1974, the Carrera headlined a sizeable shake-up for Porsche’s darling 911, as the adoption of impact bumpers changed the car’s silhouette for the first time after more than a decade of design perpetuance. It was an episode that would go on to become something of a trend for the model.
Fifteen years later, it was the Carrera that introduced all-wheel drive to the 911 legend, a full year before Porsche’s traditional sports car setup was then revealed in 964 C2 form. Then, just before the turn of the century, the 996 Carrera heralded a change from air-cooled to water-cooled flat six engines in the biggest and most disputed change to the 911’s DNA ever seen before. That is, until now. This is because the Carrera has once again significantly moved the goalposts, scrapping the naturally aspirated flat six engine that the 911 has been known for since its very beginning. In its place is a flat six now boosted, quite literally, by two turbochargers, one for each cylinder bank.
Thanks to this new Carrera, the 911 experience has changed forever – but to its credit, the new 991.2 has by and large found favour with critics, as exemplified by the sentiments of our own road tester, Kyle Fortune. At the world launch of the 991.2 Carrera in issue 134, Kyle was relieved to find elements of that traditional 911 heritage still apparent with the new engine, borne out of evolutionary necessity, adding: “transformational as it is, there’s huge appeal to the diferences it brings, yet joy too in the similarities it retains.” So, the new, turbocharged Carrera has found favour with journalists and sections of the public in isolation, but how does it compare in an test’ against the first-generation 991, the last such bastion of the quintessential, naturally aspirated entry-level 911 as we know it?
It is in searching for the answer to this question that around 6,000 miles north of Kyalami Race Circuit, South Africa, where Kyle Fortune is putting both the 991.2 Turbo and C4S through their paces for the first time, I find myself standing in the middle of the bucolic Yorkshire Dales. Temperatures are hovering just above freezing as both generations of 991 Carrera sit before me, the steamy waves from their respective tailpipes rising up and into the atmosphere as both engines begin to warm up. It’s just after sunrise and photographer Ali, Features Editor Josh and I have awoken the Carreras from their nightly slumber as we prepare for a day’s adventure up to the Buttertubs Pass. This lofty, twisty mountainside route connects Hawes to Thwaite and is so called because of 20-metre deep limestone potholes stationed along the route which, according to local legend, were used by farmers when travelling between the towns on market day. In hot weather, the farmers would stop at the cavernous limestone fissures and lower the butter they had produced into them to keep the produce cool. Today, the Buttertubs Pass will have a diferent kind of legend grace its terra firma, as both generations of contemporary Porsche 911 Carrera do battle.