How fast, then, is an entry-level Porsche 911 in 2019? The honest truth is we don’t know, because Porsche will eventually introduce a basic Carrera that sits beneath our Carrera S test subject and we have yet to get behind the wheel of that car.

However, once all the Turbo and GTS models have arrived, and Porsche’s GT department has subsequently given us several hardcore varieties of the 911 each with a distinct motorsport flavour, the Carrera S will certainly feel like an entry-level offering. And so we can, with reasonable confidence, answer our original question in one word: very.

Simon Davis

Simon Davis

Road tester
Grippy, well-balanced and agile – if not as playful as might be hoped – our ultra-composed test car flowed in concert with driver inputs and the contours of winding B-roads

On a dry but not particularly warm day, 444bhp and 391lb ft saw the car accelerate to 60mph in 3.4sec and on to 100mph in 7.7sec. These times are quick enough for the 911 to show a clean set of exhaust tips to the more powerful Aston Martin Vantage we recently tested in near-identical conditions. Amazingly, they’re also almost an exact match for the GT3 RS of the previous generation, which goes to show the considerable benefits of turbocharging.

Indeed, arriving in totality at 2300rpm, the torque from this twin-turbo 3.0-litre flat six imbues the new 911 with muscular in-gear performance, though once up and running the V8-engined Vantage does generally put in the stronger showing of the pair. The Porsche’s principal advantage remains almost limitless traction when pulling away from either a standstill or low speeds.

Top 5 Sports cars

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

But perhaps, with a car as iconic as this, more important than the scale of the performance is the nature and character of its delivery. In this regard, the new 911 can take a while to warm to. Improved cabin isolation and new exhaust particulate filters have subdued the car’s aural character and give proceedings a mellower quality than with previous 911s. There is some wastegate flutter and burbling on the overrun, but this highly efficient engine isn’t quite one to put your neck hairs on standby.

However, with familiarity you begin to fully appreciate the sensational alacrity of this quick-shifting eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox, the almost immediate response of this improved engine to throttle inputs, and the manner in which it enthusiastically spins to its 7500rpm redline as if it were normally aspirated. It is remarkably linear, in fact, wonderfully flexible and arguably the best forced-induction performance engine built anywhere outside of Maranello at the moment.

When the time comes to shed speed, the Carrera S puts in a typically phenomenal effort from Porsche, pulling up from 70mph in 39.9m in the dry – identical to a McLaren 720S wearing Pirelli P Zero Corsa track-day tyres, and well ahead of the 43.4m achieved by the Vantage.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week