February 01, 2016 By Inigo S. Roces

2016 Porsche 911 Carrera S

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Waking the devil

By Iñigo S. Roces

Off the west coast of Africa are a chain of volcanic islands abruptly rising out of the sea. Among them is Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, a colony of Spain. Built up by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago, it is watched over by the towering Mount Teide. Legend has it, the devil himself lives in the volcano, with the barren and rocky landscape surrounding it serving as a warning to those that dare go near.

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Yet there we found ourselves, near the peak, taunting the demon himself and the island’s numerous narrow and winding roads. We were undaunted, being armed with a weapon the world would soon behold —the 2016 911 Carrera.

The familiar shape

Though still a type 991, the 2016 model features some radical changes underneath, from the new, smaller twin-turbo engine to the optional rear wheel steering system. With these improvements, it begins to dawn on us why Porsche had chosen such an unusual place to exhibit the new vehicle. The narrow roads, barely wide enough for one vehicle and a squeeze for two side by side would be the perfect test for the rear wheel steering system. Tenerife’s radical elevation changes, from sea level all the way up to nearly 2,400 meters would try the new forced induction engine’s ability to continually inhale air, even higher up in the atmosphere.

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The new 911 can be identified by its new headlights with stacked projectors inside the conventional oval housing. Lower on the front, the LED daytime running lights are housed in a smaller strip, serving as both park lights and indicators. Vents sit just under it with active flaps to adjust aerodynamics as the car accelerates.

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Behind, the rear vents have been adjusted to improve airflow to the engine. Tail lamps have been redesigned, while the reflectors have been pushed further outward to the corners. Exhaust pipes have been repositioned toward the center in the Carrera. They become quad pipes in the Carrera S. Finally, another vent has been added on the corner for better engine ventilation.

Best of all, the changes apply not only to the Carrera and Carrera S model, but to the Cabriolet models as well. As such, there was a veritable menu of vehicles to choose from to take on the terrain of Tenerife.

Inside the machine

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Getting inside is an affair of its own. Though the interior has received few changes, it’s nonetheless a welcoming cabin. The deep, well-bolstered seats and sculpted steering wheel provided a wide range of adjustment, power assisted if so desired, too.

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The most evident change is in the entertainment system, now equipped with Apple Car Play. This turns the home menu into the much more familiar rounded square icons of the average iPhone. It also connects more readily to mobile phones, allowing streaming of music through the vehicle’s Bose sound system. Traffic and navigation is done through Google Earth and Google Street View, with a choice of the usual map or more photorealistic photos of the area. Finally, a downloadable app allows the owner to connect to his car through the phone and determine matters like its mileage, fuel level, tire pressure, or even forward directions for its navigation system.


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Yet comfort aside, it was the vehicle’s dynamics we were here to test. The new 911 is powered by a smaller 3.0-liter flat six, as opposed to the 3.8-liter of its predecessor. Though smaller, it’s armed with a turbo charger for each bank, providing 370 bhp in the Carrera and 420 bhp Carrera S, both 20 bhp more than their predecessors. Paired with a 7-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) dual-clutch automatic, the car can rocket to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds, and 3.9 seconds in the S-model.

Banana republic

It’s all quite impressive on paper yet it’s in the drive where it begins to deliver its spades. Turn the Porsche-shaped key fob and the engine comes to life with a gentle rumble. At low speeds, there’s already plenty of grunt to move the vehicle forward. Step harder on the accelerator and it seems even more eager to climb rev.


Purists will cry foul over the inclusion of turbos in the Carrera models, yet the move manifests nothing but brilliance. The turbos have made the engine livelier, giving it life well below the 4,000 rpm mark where its predecessor had only begun to get excited. There’s a subtle turbo whine in the engine note too, but it’s barely heard over the increased aggression. Turbo lag is down to just milliseconds. Of course, that too is easily remedied by twisting the dial on the lower right of the wheel, changing the driving mode from Normal to Sport or Sport Plus. The result is sheer locomotive power on command, making any new Carrera feel like the predecessor Turbo model.

There must be a few Knight Rider fans in Porsche as a new “Sport Response Button” in the drive mode selector behaves much in the same way like the fictional turbo boost button. Pressing it pre-conditions the engine management and transmission for spontaneous response and maximum acceleration for 20 seconds, ideal for overtaking.

Devil’s playground

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As much as we were enjoying the thrust, the route wasn’t all long straights. Tenerife was peppered with winding back roads, squeezing in between banana plantations and tracing paths round rocky cliffs. In the afternoon, we found ourselves climbing up the slopes of Mt. Teide, up to the plateau and through Tedie National Park. Though much of the route was blessed with smooth asphalt, higher up, with fewer cars, the humidity and rocky road base had taken its toll on the lesser traveled roads.

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Nonetheless, the chassis returned a relatively comfortable ride. Even more admirable was the way it maintained its composure over the bumpy curves at speed. This is thanks to PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) now being a standard feature on all Carrera models. Buttons on the center console can change damping to a more comfortable setting or stiffen it for better response and lower ride height by as much as ten millimeters. The Philippine’s steep driveways and humps can be tamed too, with an optional lift system that can raise the front to avoid any scraping.

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Back to the sea

After our brief excursion to the peak, we found ourselves heading back to sea level to a custom track laid out by the organizers. This setup was to showcase the optional rear wheel steering system. Though available as an option only for the Carrera S, it allows the rear wheels to turn opposite the front at speeds below 50 km/h, and with the front at speeds above. This makes for sharper U-turns and parking maneuvers. At higher speeds, it significantly increases the speed of weight transfer and lessens the risk of the dreaded hammerhead effect (snap oversteer). It results in a vehicle that’s more eager to turn, totally surprising when felt for the first time, but more confidence inspiring over time.


We capped our tour of Tenerife with a cruise on the island’s highways, in none other than a 911 Carrera S cabriolet. Having hooned the car to heart’s content earlier in the day, it was a welcome change to experience the Carrera at a more leisurely pace, governed by the adaptive cruise control.

While the Porsche 911 may not be the first car for many of its buyers, it’s easy to see why it’s easily the favorite. The vehicle is a delight to drive leisurely and even more so at a faster pace and when the roads oblige. It’s all thanks to the sheer customizability of the car, granted by the drive mode selector and the active suspension management. Best of all, these changes in the power and chassis make any 911, be it the humble Carrera or Carrera S, a weapon all on its own. Let the devil in Mt. Teide awaken. I’m ready.




Engine: Flat-6, 2981 cc, dohc 24 valve, direct injection, twin turbo, 7-speed DCT

Max Power: 420 bhp @ 6500 rpm
Max Torque: 368 lb ft @ 1700 rpm
0-100 km/h (0-62 mph): 4 sec.
Top Speed: 307 km/h
Fuel Mileage: 7 km/L city, 12 km/L Highway
Price as tested: TBA
+ Acceleration like 911 Turbo, as sure footed as a 4S
– Rear wheel steering is costly option
C! Editor’s Rating: 10/10

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