LOADING ...

Here's How to Tell the New Porsche 911 From the Old One

Kristen Lee Jan 24, 2019. 17 comments

The most-asked question I got about the new 2020 Porsche 911 was how it’s different from the outgoing 991.2-generation car. Because it sure looks the same, except for a few aesthetic cues. I spent a decent chunk of time poking around it last week.

To help you out, here are photos of the two generations of cars back-to-back for reference.

Got it? OK, good. Onward!

Exterior Differences

Obviously, from the outside, there are a few key changes between the 992 and the 991.1 and 991.2 generation.

The 992’s front bumper has a much larger expanse of black grille detailing. The thin blades that extended downward on either side of the license plate cover are no longer painted in the body color. The result is a much more gaping mouth. The hood lines are also much sharper and more geometric.

Side indicators now ride above the front bumper line and have been lengthened slightly. And the car also comes exclusively with LED headlights now. Door handles are flush against the body and are only slightly annoying to use .

Most dramatically, however, is the addition of a single, horizontal light blade in the rear and a new vertical center brake light. I like the new brake light. I like the 90-degree contrast it makes with the rest of the rear, which is comprised of a series of lengthy, sideways slashes.

Unfortunately, I think that’s where my goodwill towards the rear ends. The new design doesn’t flow very well. There’s a lot of empty space and there’s also a lot of contrasting black venting, too. It’s almost like there are just a few too many flat and tall planes of nothingness.

The lettering that spells out “Porsche” has also been set slightly into the body, which is neat. I am having mild nightmares when I imagine trying to buff and wax in those little spaces, however.

Font used on the rear trunk lid is a modern and vintage combination. “Carrera” is scrawled in the contemporary font, while “911” is slightly offset and written in the blockier, ’60s-era font that’s found on the very first Porsche 911.

Another first for the Carrera are staggered wheel sizes: 19 inches in the front and 20 in the back on the standard car, 20 inches in the front and 21 inches in the back for the S models. This supposedly is to help improve grip and handling without making the tires too wide for fear of worsened hydroplaning. Plus, there are new wheel designs from the 992.

Driver Assists

The new 911 also has more driver assistance features than ever, including an infrared night vision sensor, a 360-degree bird’s-eye camera and a Wet Mode . This is a safety system that monitors the slickness of the road and affects the traction control accordingly. Physically putting the car into Wet Mode almost guarantees you won’t oversteer when you’re driving.

There’s also an on-board ionizer, another new feature, that will undoubtedly help you drive your 911 safely through the inevitable nuclear winter.

Hardware Upgrades

Also touched upon in our first drive is the new, eight-speed PDK, which we learned has been packaged with enough spare room for a potential hybrid system , if Porsche ever wanted to head in that direction. This new transmission now adds about 44 pounds to the overall weight of the car.

Then there’s the all-aluminum body, another first for a Carrera. Porsche cut down dramatically on the use of steel, which the automaker says helps save the car about 26.5 pounds.

The engine has been updated with larger-diameter turbocharges and an electronic wastegate, thus improving the efficiency and cold-start functions. The engineers have also transitioned from using solenoid injectors to piezo injectors.

The intercooler has also been moved up higher on the engine.

The engine mounts, too, have been moved up further, making them closer to the longitudinal beams for more stiffness and reduction of engine movement. At the same time, the new Carrera apparently has vastly improved NVH qualities. I did notice that it rode a lot more quietly on the highway than the previous generation did.

Interior Touches

On the inside, the design has shifted from the vertical-heavy layout that 911s took on during the 996 generation to a more ’60s-style horizontal layout. A slim shelf-line does wonders for splitting the dash into a “top” and “bottom” section.

Gone are the T-rex-arm cupholders; they have been replaced with ones that look like real cupholders. And there’s a slot in the center console that can be fitted with an additional cupholder.

Mercifully, the center console gets rid of with the chunky, button-heavy layout that plagued the last generation of 911s. The result is a clean, empty and minimalist design. Two of the five tactile switches located below the infotainment screen can be programmed for specific settings.

Most of the iconic five-gauge cluster is now digital, save for the middle gauge, which remains analog. I wasn’t too pleased about this. I like physical gauges and these digital ones don’t do it for me. But this does mean that you can alter what each gauge shows.

The gear selector is the smallest it’s ever been, about the size of a big flash drive. It’s unobtrusive and adds to the overall minimalism of the cabin, but it also doesn’t really look much like a gear selector anymore, either.

And, sadly, the 992 911 finally does away with the key fob, replacing it with a proximity key, just like the rest of the cars out there. Yet, in lieu of a start button, there’s a switch built into the left-hand side, which you turn like you would a normal fob or key to start the car up. I think I prefer this to a start button.

All in all, the 992 will not be spared from jokes about how it looks the same as the last 911. And the next one will probably look just as similar. But I guess that’s how evolution works: It’s a series of small changes that happen over the course of multiple generations.

Because when you line the first 911 up with the latest one—that’s when the differences are stark.

17 Comments

Other Kristen Lee's posts

This Is the Only Chevrolet C8 Corvette Interior Any of You Should Be Getting This Is the Only Chevrolet C8 Corvette Interior Any of You Should Be Getting

Now that the 2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette is real, we can spend the next few days and weeks poring over the specs, engaging in debates and looking at pictures of it. I spent most of last night looking at the pictures and I can confidently return to you and say there is only one interior scheme any of you...

Read Nixon's Never-Delivered Speech in the Event the Moon Landing Failed Read Nixon's Never-Delivered Speech in the Event the Moon Landing Failed

It’s been 50 years since American astronauts landed on the moon, and it remains one of the single greatest achievements of modern human history. The moon, as it turns out, is really, really difficult to get to , and the fact that we pulled it off at all in 1969 is incredible. So incredible, in fact, that the very...

2020 Chevrolet C8 Mid-Engine Corvette: Everything We Know Officially 2020 Chevrolet C8 Mid-Engine Corvette: Everything We Know Officially

Rumored since approximately the Taft Administration, the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette, the mystical mid-engine Corvette, has finally transcended myth and arrived in reality. It’s finally here (well, after a leak from earlier tonight ). Time to run down everything we know. Here Is the 2020 Mid-Engine Corvette Before You’re Supposed to See It As the world patiently waits for the...

Where on Earth Did All the Lexus RX300s Vanish To? Where on Earth Did All the Lexus RX300s Vanish To?

In the year 2000, my mother traded in the family’s much-despised Audi A6 wagon (the thing was in the shop every month for some electrical gremlin or another) for a Lexus RX300. Ours was white, not champagne, and today I found myself thinking about where the hell they all went. That RX300 was the first time I’d experienced an...

Suggested posts

Porsche Only Produces Two Identical 911s Per Year: Report Porsche Only Produces Two Identical 911s Per Year: Report

Did your two “best friends” just get matching, brand new Porsche 911 Targa 4s in Night Blue Metallic and mysteriously leave you out of the bonding ritual? Maybe you’ll go out and get the exact same car! That’ll show them. Except, you won’t, because when Porsche sees your vehicle order, it will already be so over it. Been there,...

So It’s Come To This: Porsche 944s Are Expensive Now Too So It’s Come To This: Porsche 944s Are Expensive Now Too

Part of me knows I shouldn’t be shocked that someone paid $61,000 for a 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo S today, but I feel like I can’t be the only one who became acquainted with these cars when they all seemed to be dilapidated cast-offs. And this feels like as good an excuse as any to shake our fists at...

No Car Tells The Story of Design vs. Performance Like The Audi TT No Car Tells The Story of Design vs. Performance Like The Audi TT

The original Audi TT was one of the most un-altered, un-compromised designs to reach showrooms in the modern era. Then it killed five people. Why The Audi TT Is The Next Great Future Classic Welcome to Future Classics, a new, semi-regular feature where we identify amazing and unappreciated …Read more Read (Welcome back to Carspotting! It’s been a while but...

The Upcoming Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid Could Make Over 670 HP The Upcoming Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid Could Make Over 670 HP

It wasn’t that long ago that the Lamborghini Urus was crowned crossover king of Volkswagen Group. But it appears that reign will be short-lived, because when the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid comes out, it’ll be the most powerful big car of the VAG lineup.The powertrain that currently lives in Porsche’s Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid (a 4.0-liter twin turbocharged...

Your Ridiculously Awesome Safari Porsche 911 Wallpapers Are Here Your Ridiculously Awesome Safari Porsche 911 Wallpapers Are Here

Weekend WallpaperPut these on your desktop to look cool and awesome.  Safari 911s are a modern trend in a similar way that slant-nose conversions were a distinctly ‘80s trend. There are a ton of shops out there building these jacked up Germans, and some of them don’t do a very good job of it. Only a handful of shops are...

Show Us the F1 Engine, Porsche Show Us the F1 Engine, Porsche

Porsche stands as one of the winningest producers of Formula 1 engines in the history of the sport from its TAG-branded McLaren days, but also one of the most secretive. In the 1990s, a failed V10 program was stashed away, re-engineered for a Le Mans challenge that was also never realized, before becoming the Carrera GT engine . What...

Mazda Once Built a Concept Car Called Secret Hideout  Mazda Once Built a Concept Car Called Secret Hideout 

There was a brief, glorious period in the mid-2000s when you actually had a choice of vehicles in what I’m going to call the Friendly Box segment: the original Scion xB, the Nissan Cube, the Kia Soul, and, I suppose the Honda Element. Of these, only the Soul survives to this day in the U.S., and I think that’s...

The Porsche Taycan Was Designed With Something Called 'Foot Garages' The Porsche Taycan Was Designed With Something Called 'Foot Garages'

Automakers always try to highlight specific features of a new car as some sort of revolutionary innovation. It’s the process that gave us “dynamism .” Now there’s a new one; a designer just called the passenger footwell of the upcoming electric Porsche Taycan a “foot garage” with a straight face.Last week, Porsche released a likely-scripted interview with Michael Mauer,...

Comment of the Day: Same as it Ever Was Edition Comment of the Day: Same as it Ever Was Edition

Comment Of The DayYour good comments.  Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Say it however you want, but humans have a way of repeating history. Back in 1999, this Porsche 911 was purchased for a whopping $6900. But the thing is, nobody thought this car would ever...

What's The Most Hilariously Expensive Air-Cooled Porsche 911 You Can Find? What's The Most Hilariously Expensive Air-Cooled Porsche 911 You Can Find?

CountersteerYour true stories of good and bad things that happen in cars.  We all know air-cooled 911s command obscene prices these days. But we also know that they happen to be fantastic to own and drive , if you’re hard enough to handle what comes up. So what’s the most expensive old 911 you can find right now? What It's...

Language