What are you driving?
This is the 2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, the second of the 992-generation 911 derivatives at launch (alongside the 911 Carrera S we've already reviewed). Other than '4S' badging at the back and slightly different air intake louvres over the engine, there's no easy way to tell the two cars apart, as the 992 comes in a single width body for now (the four-wheel-drive versions of its predecessor had wider rear bodywork). They share the same flat-six engine of course and the new eight-speed PDK transmission, but, as the same suggests, the 4S sends power to all four wheels.
Porsche calls the system PTM (Porsche Traction Management) and it's an active all-wheel-drive setup with electronic control of a multi-plate clutch that varies the engine output between the front and rear axles according to reams of data received from the car's sensors, the driving mode selected and how the car is being driven. At the back (as in the rear-wheel-drive version) is an electronically controlled differential lock as part of the Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus system.
The additional all-wheel-drive hardware adds 50kg to the car, but even so, Porsche quotes a 0.1-second faster 0-100km/h time for the Carrera 4S thanks to its extra traction off the line. The gap is expected to be considerably bigger in the wet or in slippery conditions.
Name its best bits
Everything that we love about the new 911 Carrera S is present and correct here for the most part. So, you get the lovely new interior, a vast amount of new technology (even if some of it is optional), the menacing new appearance and an improvement in refinement and performance. To all that, the 4S adds all-weather surefootedness that is probably better suited to a country like Ireland than the rear-drive S is. The four-wheel-drive system allows more enjoyment of the 911 without relying on the stability control and traction control systems to maintain progress and safety.
Anything that bugs you?
In return for the extra traction afforded by the PTM system, a sliver of excitement is removed from the 911 formula, though only for those that will push the car anywhere near its limits from time to time. Do that and the delicious rear-lead stance of the Carrera S is neutralised a fraction. Not by massive amounts, obviously, but it was noticeable when driving the two cars on the same road back-to-back in the dry.
And why have you given it this rating?
By any measure, the 992-generation Porsche 911 is off to a great start. Whether you go for the S or 4S is down to personal preference and the type of driving you're likely to do. They're both sensational sports cars, mixing long-distance civility, lots of technology, a deep sense of engineering expertise and, of course, a thrilling driving experience.