The New Porsche 911, Which Isn’t New At All

‘Change is easy, improvement is far more difficult.’

It would have been wrong to expect a complete revolution for the latest Porsche 911, but when the camouflage finally came off this week (after months of not very subtle public testing) it did feel anti-climactic.

Perhaps this was due to the aforementioned testing phase, which feels like it has been happening for years (perhaps they’ve taken a leaf out of the new Supra’s book?) or simply because we know that huge changes simply aren’t Porsche’s thing when it comes to their most precious model.


In over 50 years there’s only been eight comprehensive revisions to the 911 lineup. From the original air-cooled 911 in 1963 to the introduction of the turbocharged 930 in the 1970s, followed by the 964 and 993 and eventually into the water-cooled era with the 996, 997 and 991.

From the outside at least, it seems the 992 is more 991.3 than an all new Porsche, but perhaps that’s to be commended?


I wrote my thesis in college about planned obsolescence in the motoring industry, and how manufacturers were already working on the next car to tempt you out of your current one, so my senses on this subject are heightened. It’s something which is evident in almost every facet of today’s consumer driven world, where companies want you to ditch your current (and usually perfectly fine) product for the latest and greatest model, only to attempt to do the same again next year.

There are two main approaches to this. The first is when a manufacturer engineers a failure point into a product, so you need to buy a new one (i.e. lightbulbs). The other is when they make the current product seem obsolete by introducing a new design, with the inference that ‘new’ is always ‘better’. At one stage or another, we’ve all fallen for it.

It’s been a driving force in the automotive world since the 1920s, but perhaps became most apparent in the 1950s when Harley Earl’s tail-fins swept across the motoring world. The 1960s, when this craze was at its peak, was when the first 911 was introduced.

The Porsche should also have followed this then proven recipe for success, but it didn’t. It went its own way.


Even 55 years later, the 911 still refuses to follow convention with the 992. Sure, it’s a little bit better here and there than the outgoing 991, but it doesn’t feel like a cynical cash grab or a new model for the sake of a new model.

Current owners of previous generation Porsches won’t feel like they must upgrade, and for the most part will probably remain content by owning a 911 which is part of a clear lineage.


In keeping with almost six decades of tradition, and not attempting to re-invent itself, the 992 is refreshing in an age where ‘new’ feels old.

One has to wonder what Porsche envisions for the future of the 911 and what they themselves would consider to be the perfect 911? It’s telling then, that there won’t be a manual transmission option available for the 992 at launch, although a traditional 7-speed gearbox will be offered later on.

That, however, is a whole other conversation. As is the recent influx of collector orientated models which serve to inflate prices. I’m looking at you, GT2 RS Clubsport.

Well, I guess no one’s perfect after all.

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos

Photography by Porsche



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

funny thing is these cars are so capable now about 95% of owners never even get near 7/10, but think they are at 9/10. If you were to look at "obsolete" in terms of lap times then most consumers are incapable of driving, period. All these upgrades are just selling people shit they think they are capable of using which in reality they can't.


That can be said about a lot of modern cars, to be fair.




because customers want the motorsport feeling. remember: what wins on sunday, sells on monday


The reason why they don’t dramatically change the 911 is because buyers perpetually want the older, “purer” versions.

Porsche just pacifies the nostalgic, vocal minority enough to keep it familiar...while strategically cultivating new converts with the generational refreshes.

Then you have Singer who builds what everyone ACTUALLY wants, but the demand greatly exceeds the they’re priced accordingly.


Question: killer clown or punk band?


There's a Porsche-documentary on Netflix where, at the end, they ask Walter Röhrl what he thinks about the possibility of an all-electric 911 coming one day.
He says that that thought makes him happy about his old age, since he won't have to witness that "tragedy".
So maybe that's where Porsche will draw the line.


By the time the inevitable electric 911 is released there won't be a manual to compare to and the powerplant will better a combustion unit in every area. I love EV tech but petrol engines too. My favourite drives have always been light, manual and solid but a bit shitty so normal streets are entertaining without doubling the speed limit.


I don’t know... I always think that if a car is going to perform better then it doesn’t matter if it runs on fossil fuels or electric. I’m sure it will be a VERY long time before there is no ICE 911


While I enjoyed that Tesla powered example at SEMA, I think I would be prepared to draw the same line in the sand. There's talk that the 992 range will feature the first hybrid 911, too.


i like it. the shape, the performance, the feeling. so why change a winning horse?

i can't afford it. but who cares. i still like it :D

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Majority of Porsche-philes are very resistant to changes in design. Just like how the 996 was disliked because Porsche wanted to change the headlights shape a bit. It's easy to lose customers and sales just by shaking up the design a little, so yeah, this shape will be like this for the rest of the 911's existence.


I don't see Porsche-philes getting mad over this one, usually people say "Uh it's again the same car"... but his time they have actually done nothing to it!


But isn't it just the non-Porsche-philes (and Clarkson nut-huggers) that are annoyed with the car not changing its shape in a million years?


I think the difference between Porsche and any other car company is that a lot of Porsche owners will feel the need to upgrade to the latest one specifically because there isnt that much change. Porsche is a unique car manufacturer in the extent that they manufacture such high value vehicles in such large numbers that they cater to a market where there is a lot of discresionary spending. The collector models (like the GT2 RS and even the GT3 to some extent) will be purchased by people who will own multiple P-cars at one time, those are the owners who will always upgrade to the latest version as well. Then you have the group of customers who lease and will be upgrading when their lease is up. So i think that there are a bunch of 911 drivers who will feel the need to upgrade to the latest model specifically because there aren't that many changes as those customers would be sticking with the 991 if there were. After the whole 996 fiasco you wont see Porsche make large changes to the 911 any time soon, it is a double edged sword, it is their flagship and any attempt to dethrone or change it will be met with lost sales but it keeps them from truly breaking into new formats. Case in point: the Cayman, its a better layout (MR) but they neuter it with the lower powered engines because they dont want to cut into their 911 sales from the customers looking for all out performance or anger the traditionalist customers who believe that the 911 should be the top dog in the stable. Yet their Le-Mans 911's (GT# RSR) are mid engine and their cup cars are rear engine which i dont see changing any time soon.


Porsche is kind of like Apple in terms of their cars...they are new per-say but its actully just a small improvement. Anyways, this new model with the 1 piece rear taillight looks incredible!


It's 911, not a honda civic or other crap. No need to change drastically something that is not just ordinary metal can with wheels, but an icon. It's technical layout is iconic, it's design is iconic and it's heritage is iconic. And from generation to generation Porsche designers make it even better.

That's what you buy paying for 911. Technical perfection, timeless design and heritage. Nothing to discuss about.


I am glad that the new 992 got a manual transmission
This is why Porsche still makes the best sports car


I’m with you 100% on this article - head on the nail and you could’ve written about performance increases or design tweaks or whatever.
Compared to the 991’s latest designs, this 992 feels “stale” in a strange “desirable” way for the technophiles (technophobes on the other hand have Singer and the used car market). That “Bugatti” body-width tail light design (actually originates from Italian design houses in the 70’s, tho), the “blacked-aero inside frame” front, the stacked interior, and the ever dropping body line aren’t timeless and make the “re”design stale compared to the design jumps between the 993 versus the egglighted 911’s versus the 991 911’s.
Then there’s the tech: the powertrains must hybridize/EV because in order to “go faster” we’ll need to plug in and let AI help with our “human-ness”. Lots love to think superhuman talent racer that started in the womb in a uber-horsepower, manual car can beat an automomous EV when that tech arrives sooner than you think, but it is total BS for b1tchs that can’t deal with real. The difference between a sports car and a race car will continue to chasm and the sacrifice of the human driver will inevitably be among the differences: the sports car caters to the human driver and the race car exists solely to smash records.
Also, buy real manuals if your car isn’t used to compete on tracks. So Porsche/etc can keep making MT’s, morons - you aren’t fast, but you can definitely enjoy the drive!




i like in porshe too


I like in porshe


Porsche 911 is just one of those cars that I could never imagine a different look for it. The shape of the 911 to me defines what a 911 should look like. It's just a car that most likely can not change that much as far as looks go because if it had a big change then all of a sudden it is not a 911.

In a way like how the 80's mustangs weren't mustangs. Lol


Ehhhhhh... Regardless of shape, the Fox bodies came back in a huge way, though. They get the respect these days because people realized the performance potential is so great. People are building those for all manner of motorsport disciplines, and to pretty good result. Did you perhaps mean '70s?


Actually yes you are right. It was the mid to late 70's that were really bad. The 70's ones are more accurate to the point I was making.


The most amazing IMSA GTP car ever built


This is what Porsche has always done. Refine not redesign. Then they listen to customer feedback and start pumping out the "special/track" versions. Those models help keep interest in the old chassis right up until the new one launches. Jeep does exactly the same thing with Wranglers. As long as it's a good car who cares what percentage of it is new?

From what I see, choosing between a used 991.2 and a new 992 comes down to how refined the new cup holders are, and how much you're willing to pay for them.


Planned obsolescence is what consumers think is happening. Engineers aren't making parts/products fail, they're trying to make things last as long as they possibly can, with the resources and components they have.