Now back to our story and the new 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S and 4S, which the folks at Porsche Cars North America say is "More powerful  more dynamic, unmistakably a 911." Nice talk, but what's it all mean? Well, the new S engine has more grunt than the current S powerplant, developing 443 bhp in U.S trim or 23 horsepower more than its predecessor. Its larger twin turbochargers with electrically controlled wastegates now turn symmetrically (i.e. in the same direction) and deliver less boost pressure than the current S powerplant. Not to worry, because thanks to piezo-electric fuel injectors and a new intercooler (with new air filter) located above the engine, the 992 powerplant is not only more powerful, but also more fuel efficient than its predecessor. An 8-speed, dual-clutch PDK "automatic" transmission replaces the current 7-speed PDK gearbox, while a 7-speed manual is due later next year.

Acceleration is improved; top speed, not so much. The rear-wheel-drive Carrera S goes from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, while the all-wheel-drive model does so in 3.4 seconds. Porsche's Sport Chrono Package knocks another 0.2 sec. of those times. Both cars are 0.4 sec. quicker than their predecessors, so there's that. But the 992's top speed is the same as the 991's -- 191 mph for the 2wd version and 190 mph for the awd C4. I'm no engineer, but I suspect it's because the new 911 is broader than its predecessor or as Porsche says, "more muscular."

Smoke and mirrors, minus the mirrors: Porsche's 992 pre-debut at its So Cal Experience Center.

They also serve...

One interesting touch that's standard on the new 911 is Porsche's so-called Wet Mode, a function that senses water on the road and presets the stability control and anti-lock braking systems to suit conditions while warning the driver. Other safety-related niceties include a collision-warning and brake-assist system that detects impending disaster and initiates emergency braking, if needed. There's also an optional $2,540 nicety called Night Vision Assist, which helps you spot Bambi in the headlights in time to keep you from turning her into venison, not to mention, rearranging the face of your pretty Porsche. And how could I possibly forget Adaptive Cruise Control, a $2,000 option that includes automatic distance control, a stop-and-go function, which freaks me out whenever I'm walking and encounter a car at a traffic light that appears to be dead in the water, but isn't, and an Emergency Assist function. Gosh, seeing all of these safety-related assists makes me wonder what the driver does anymore. Oh, I forgot. Gab or text.

             All of these features and more can be yours come summer of 2019 when the 2020 911 Carrera S and C4 S go on sale at the proverbial "dealer near you." For a paltry $113,300 and $120,600, respectively, less $1,050 shipping. Hmph! Amazon Prime throws that in for free.

Meet Porsche's nemesis on road and track, the race- car-bred Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro.

Although the 96.5-inch wheelbase is the same, the new 911 Carrera S is 0.8 inches longer than the current model, mostly because of changes to the front and rear. And while the rear track and width of the 992 is the same as that of the 2019 Carrera 4, the front fenders and the front track of the new car are 1.77 inches wider than its predecessor's, unlike the rear fenders and track, which are the same as the current Carrera S. In fact, for 2020, both the normal Carrera and the C4 share the same dimensions front and rear as Porsche seemingly tries to reduce the number of chassis variants. By the way, except for the front and rear lower bodywork, the entire outer skin is aluminum.

            Despite the increase in the new Carrera's front track, the wheel and tire sizes remain the same. And while the new 911's rear wheels and tires are the same width as those of the current Carrera S, they are an inch taller -- 21 inches versus 20, which is the diameter of the front rims on all Carreras old and new.


One last thing about Porsche before we look at the rest of the show. In order to help visitors trace the evolution of the 911, those clever folks in Weissach concocted a sort-of timeline of all eight scale-model versions of the coupe, rendered in what looked like clay, which is what all new cars are done in before an actual prototype is built. By sliding a viewing screen over each variant, one could toggle through colors, trim levels and such, as each clay model appeared before you. Pretty cool! By the way, that red F-Body 911 looks a lot like my own '67.

It didn't exacly steal the show, but in its own way, Porsche's 911 GT2 RS Clubsport was a show stopper, mostly because it was parked right inside the main entrance to Petree Hall, Zuffenhausen's home away from home, and was hard to miss. With its striking red-on-black racing car paint scheme, the Clubsport was an eye-catcher because it's based on the sensational road car of the same lineage, which until just recently held the production car lap record at the Nurburgring. I've written about the road car before, so I'll cut to the chase and say that the Clubsport is the track version of the 700-horsepower, road-legal GT2 RS that's been gutted and equipped for racing. Weissach/Flacht will build only 200 of these cars, which like the neo 935 introduced at Rennsport Reunion VI, are not street legal and can be driven only in closed-circuit events such as those staged by the Porsche Club of America, unless Porsche and the Stefan Ratel Organization (SRO), the force behind GT racing world wide, strike a deal and launch a series for the cars. Interested parties with $478,000 to spare should contact Porsche Motorsport. Tell them Joe Rusz sent you.

When I wasn't hanging around the Porsche mothership, Petree Hall, I'd venture into the outer spaces of the L.A. Convention Center to see what else was new. For an enthusiast and a sport car guy like me, not much. The Big Three have pretty much given up on cars and are all-in on SUVs and trucks. Heck, even Mercedes is about to build a pickup, which is my cue to talk about that other automobile maker from Stuttgart. Actually, Mercedes headquarters are located in Sindelfingen, which is across town from Porsche's home base in Zuffenhausen, but never mind. Point is, M-B had some cool stuff like the limited-edition Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro (now there's a catchy moniker) that's the road-going version of the GT3 car that's been giving the Porsche 911 GT3 R fits in IMSA's WeatherTech Series. The "Pro" is a beast, bro, and not just because it's, er, beefy looking. 

                 Despite its size, the GT R Pro is no heavyweight. It seems like AMG used up the world's supply of carbon fiber to build this baby. Powered by a throroughly massaged version of M-B's (or is it now AMG's?) venerable V-8, the coupe's 4-liter, twin-turbo V-8 puts out 577 bhp, which translates to a 0 to 60 mph time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 198. That's right in Porsche's wheelhouse, so to speak. Like the coupe from Zuffenhausen, the Merc is crammed with the same devices you find in a Porsche and are too numerous to mention. It is expensive and somewhat unattainable (i.e. sold out) although lesser variants, namely the AMG GT and AMG GT C, are within reach of mere mortals. And by the way, you should know that as AMGs, they're built in Affalterbach, not Sindelfingen.

                  Like I said, there wasn't much more to excite me, so rather than continue shoveling out prose, I'll conclude with a slide show accompanied by captions. Enjoy the viewing.

Evocative of 911s of the 70s, the new Carrera's interior features recessed instruments.

Red means hot or, in this case, GTS versions of the Boxster and Panamera.

Clay model timeline with viewing screen depicting all eight 911 versions shows how the car evolved.

Sell on Monday, race on Sunday: Porsche's most powerful 911 road car goes racing.

Porsche debuts the 992

Other than the GT2 RS Clubsport, Porsche showed no other 911s at the LA Auto Show, I'm guessing because the 991 will be phased out, although that'll take a while. Expect the next 992 to be a Cabrio, followed by a Turbo, etc. Curiously, Porsche showed no 2019 Cayman, which makes me wonder what's afoot. A Clubsport version of the 718 coupe, maybe even powered by a variant of the GT3's normally aspirated flat-6, was rumored some time ago, but nothing's been said since. Still, the Geneva Auto Show is coming in March 2019 and Porsche has surprised us there before. So...

         Although the exhibit lacked a Cayman, Porsche did display a 2019 Boxster GTS, which is essentially a carryover from this year's model, unlike the Panamera GTS and GTS Sport Turismo, debutants celebrating their coming out party at the LA Auto Show. Refreshed versions of their 2018 predecessors, the 2019 Panamera GTS duo are powered by 453 bhp, twin-turbo V-8s that make 13 horsepower more than their normally aspirated predecessors. An eight-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission just like the new 911a s, sends power to all four wheels through the standard-equipment Porsche Traction Management system. Top speed, for those who need to know, is 181 mph for the sedan and 180 for the Sport Turismo.

              Last but not least, Porsche's 2019 Macan made a somewhat inauspicious (almost inconspicuous) debut in L.A. I mean, a white car! Who notices white when seemingly every vehicle in the world is painted white? Anyway, the 2019 Macan features a 3D LED light panel at the rear, standard LED headlights and a remodeled interior. Oh, and lest I forget, a new Traffic Jam Assist function that's part of the optional adaptive cruise control system. With TJA (my initialization, not theirs), the Macan can accelerate, brake and stay in its lane at speeds up to 40 mph. I'll spare you the Tesla comparisons and the jokes, but I will say that with a name like Traffic Jam Assist, I expected the thing to actually get you out of a traffic jam by somehow plucking your Mah-Cahn out of the mess that is the 405 freeway and onto some uncrowded surface-street alternate route. Like Waze does, only more hands on. 

More muscular looking, the Carrera 4S now shares its wide body with the 2wd Carrera S.

Distinctive lightbar with Porsche lettering, restyled grillegive the new 911a heftier look.

No more spy shots, no more rumors. The new 911 is here, having made its world-wide public debut at the 2018 LA Auto show where the Porsche brass pulled the metaphorical covers off three Carrera S coupes lined up behind a pre-production 901 to underscore the new car's slogan: "Timeless Machine." And timeless it is. The latest incarnation of Ferdinand "Butzi" Porsche's iconic design, the 992, as it's know internally and to Porsche cognoscenti, marks the sixth time Porsche stylists have had to reimagine the unique shape of the 911, which premiered at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1963. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves and help you decide if Chief Designer Michael Mauer and his minions did a good job. But first, this brief digression about show biz, or in this case, the car show business as Porsche sees it.

             Traditionally, automobile manufacturers unveil their latest products on press day at an international auto show such as Geneva, Frankfurt and Paris, which just happen to be on the continent of origin for European builders such as Porsche. At the appointed hour the media descend on the company's display stand to ogle -- and paw -- at the product and to grill the firm's executives, before said reporters scurry off to disseminate the breaking news to an anxious public. Unfortunately, while the LA Auto Show is an international affair, it's in the United States, which is six to nine time zones behind Europe. News cycles being what they are, breaking news at 10:25 a.m. in Los Angeles, is old news at 7:25 p.m. in Germany and thereabouts. Nobody knows this more than those crafty folks in Zuffenhausen who staged a pre-debut of the new 911 at the Porsche Experience Center in Carson, California, at 8 p.m. on the eve of the LA show's opening press day. As a select group of international and domestic media watched, the 992's first unveiling took place in front TV cameras beaming their satellite signal to Europe where the broadcast aired at 5 a.m., just in time for, say,  "Guten Morgen Deutschland," or whatever they call morning television over there. Take that, Mercedes! You've been scooped.​ 

A wider front track and front fenders give the new 911 a sportier stance.

Adventures in outer space (or other spaces)

Worth more than a passing glance, the interior of the new 911 is truly "all new." Set off by a dashboard with recessed instruments featuring that all important centrally located tachometer emblematic of Porsches, the cockpits design was inspired by 911s of the '70s and is characterized by clean, straight lines. Two frameless free-form displays that essentially serve the instrument panel provide information to the driver, while a 10.9 inch center screen positioned above the console serves as the portal to the car's Porsche Communication Management system that can be operated easily and "can be operated quickly and without distraction," says Porsche. Umm, I'm not so sure about the last part of their claim.

LA Auto Show 2018