CHANGES to what is unofficially called the 997.5 mean this version of the 911 drives with a little more steering feel and less cornering push.
On the design front, it’s difficult for some to pick the updated Carrera 4 and 4S over the 997 series, but behind the wheel the updated all-wheel-drive 911 coupe and cabriolets are a clear and decisive step forward.
On a 170km drive in the Lowenberger region just outside Berlin, the C4 and C4S were put through smooth top roads, patchwork bitumen, bumpy surfaces and narrow cobblestone lanes.
In retrospect it was a brave move. They were not roads that suited the Active Damping set-up where ride height is lowered by 20mm in conjunction with the Porsche Active Suspension Management feature.
Yet the ride on the super-lowprofile 19-inch rubber on the launch cars was surprisingly not jarring, though at times there was a tendency to pick up every little imperfection and corrugation on the road.
The real story is serious steps ahead in driving dynamics and efficiency.
More weight to the steering and the dialling out of some push through corners, together with a brilliant new electronic all-wheel-drive system, gives the C4 and C4S a sharper edge.
A triple treat awaits those interested in the upgraded cars. Direct injection and the smart PDK transmission in partnership with the electronic AWD combine to give the C4 and C4S coupes and cabriolets even greater precision.
At last a 911 driver can enjoy a truly masterful transmission that finally does justice to one of the sweetest chassis in the business.
Pleasing levels of refinement in low-speed shuffling around car spaces and rolling away from standstill have been dialled into the new doubleclutch PDK. It actually creeps forward from a stop with no throttle.
In the Carrera 4 coupe sampled on this drive, the PDK unit had few faults, though at times the palms of our hands accidentally pushed the button on the wheel to upshift — particularly if any reasonable amount of steering lock was wound on.
With the optional SportChrono system ($2200) you get wildly aggressive shifts when you apply the SportPlus button. The change from third to second is particularly angry: a short, sharp blip sends the 3.6-litre boxer engine into a playful yelp.
It’s not until you can legally open the taps that you comprehend what all the fuss is about when driving a 911.
A comprehensive drive at a former Russian airfield was an environment made to order.
The exercises that the C4 and C4S 911s were put through ranged from slalom skidpan runs to long and short handling tracks using ideal lines at maximum throttle and a top-speed blast down a runway.
On the slalom the C4 was driven with the stability systems functioning and turned off, and the behaviour was worlds apart.
The new electronic all-wheel-drive set-up and the lockable limited-slip rear differential give the C4 tremendous confidence when pushed to the edge.
This 911, with its rear-end spread a further 44mm wider than the outgoing model, is so adaptable and balanced that the driver can entice it to behave any way they desire through a corner.
Acceleration times with the arrival of PDK have leaped ahead: 0-100km/h achieved in the C4 in 4.8sec, 0.8sec quicker than the Tiptronic S transmission, and 4.5sec in the C4S, a similar gain over the previous model. When the optional launch control is applied that cuts the time further to 4.3sec.
The optional ceramic composite brakes (about $20,000) are monstrous in performance. After flying down a V-max run and clocking close to 260km/h, you can punish the brake pedal and the car will pull up with no theatrics.