Often described as the poor man's Porsche, the Porsche 911 Carrera sits at the bottom of the 911 lineup, and it's available in different trim levels, the Carrera S being among them. However, the 2023 Porsche 911 Carrera S is not a car you should undermine, especially since it's a level up from several Carrera trims below it. The 2023 Porsche 911 Carrera S is a favorite among most as it balances performance and affordability in a beautifully crafted body, so you still get the driving thrill the 911 range is known for. It's not that some 911s are boring to drive; the 911 Carrera is better due to its increased power output of 450 horsepower compared to 380 in lower spec 911 Carreras. How much is a 2023 911 Carrera S. One should set you back around 125,000 MSRP, and thankfully, the 911 Carrera S is not the type of Porsche that dealerships will set crazy prices for like the 911 Dakar, GT3, and GT3 RS. Before we take a deeper look into the 2023 911 Carrera S specifications, let's delve into its roots.
In 1973, Porsche introduced the 911 Carrera RS using the Carrera name from the 356 Carrera that had dominated the Porsche class at the Carrera Panamericana race in Mexico in the 1950s. Even though the Current Carrera models are not precisely track-inspired, the Carrera RS was made to meet FIA group 4 class homologation requirements and thus had extensive upgrades from the standard 911. Some of these upgrades include lower ride height, revised and stiffened suspension, larger brakes, and a ducktail spoiler. It also had wider rear fenders to accommodate wider rear wheels, a design Porsche still uses today. The 911 Carreras, not only the Carrera RS, dominated various races, such as the Carrera RSR that came fourth at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1974.
As the 911 evolved, different Carrera models were made, some exclusive to specific foreign markets. But all had one thing in common: they were meant to showcase new engineering and design technology advancements. Some even got extra treatment, such as the 1988 Carrera CS, which was a mental track-inspired road car. The Carrera S, as we know it today, was unveiled in 1997 as a rear-wheel-drive version of the 993 911 Carrera 4S. Both cars shared the same naturally aspirated 3.6-liter engine, but the Carrera S was lighter, quicker, and had a higher top speed than the Carrera 4S due to the rear-wheel-drive layout. Porsche continued to make the 911 Carrera S with a rear-wheel-drive platform but with more power than other Carrera models, and this also applies to the 2023 Porsche 911 Carrera S.
The 2023 Porsche 911 Carrera might not have much under its nose, but it's undoubtedly one of the best sports cars you can buy. It's among the few cars made new with a manual transmission, and Porsche added something to it that we'll tell you about in a bit. Technology is the main highlight of the 911 Carrera S as it comes with loads of tech features in the form of driver aids unseen in any of its competition. It's among the first Porsche 911 models that got the upgraded Porsche Stability Management (PSM), Porsche Traction Management (PTM), and Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV). Once activated, these features and the improved adaptive aerodynamics enhance the car's drivability, thus boosting driver confidence.
Being rear-wheel-drive, Porsche introduced wet mode in the 911 Carrera models, including the Carrera S, to detect damp driving conditions and regulate traction as needed. Other tech features in the 911 Carrera S include night vision assist and Porsche's track precision app that improves your track times. Do you still think that the 911 Carrera is a poor man's Porsche?
Porsche nomenclature insinuates that any model with an S prefix denotes increased power output, and it's not any different in the 2023 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S. The 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged flat-six engine, with increased turbocharger boost pressure, makes around 450 horsepower in the 911 Carrera S. This is a 70 horsepower increase from the standard 380 horsepower in the lower spec Carrera models, meaning the Carrera 6 is no slouch. 0-60 takes 3.5 seconds in the 8-speed dual clutch PDD automatic transmission variant, while the 7-speed manual transmission variant does it in around 4 seconds. If you thought we said that wrongly, yes, the 911 Carrera S has a 7-speed manual transmission, which is optional at no extra cost when you spec a 2023 Porsche 911 Carrera S. Save the manuals!
As standard, you get the suspension with Porsche's Active Suspension Management (PASM) system in the 2023 Porsche 911 Carrera S. It's an electronic dampening system that can change the suspension's firmness depending on the driver's preferences. Porsche's Active Suspension Management has three settings: Normal mode for everyday driving, Sport mode for extra rigidity, and Sport Plus for track or extremely demanding driving conditions. All modes are activated via the chassis setting accessible through the infotainment or the driver's display. Handing is greatly improved in the 911 Carrera S, primarily by the wider front track, which is almost as wide as the GT3'S. This helps balance the traction on the front wheels, increases stability, and helps turn in. Also, it gives the 911 Carrera S a more muscular look.
On the exterior, the 911 Carrera S is just another beautifully crafted Porsche. However, it's slightly wider than lower-spec Carrera models due to the wider front track and bulkier rear fenders, giving the car a more muscular look. The lack of vents on the rear fender gives the 911 Carrera S a smoother finish, complementing its side profile perfectly. Despite the model, Porsche aims to make their cars as aerodynamic as possible, and the 2023 911 Carrera S has some aerodynamic elements even though they are unnoticeable. The front air openings are wider to direct airflow to the radiators and brakes, the front fenders bulge up a bit, and the unnoticeable front splitter is very much functional. What color options are available in the 2023 Porsche 911 Carrera S. You still get similar color options as other 911 models, including the highly coveted special colors such as Ruby Star neo and Paint to Sample color options that you can spec from your local dealership. Apart from the paint, you can also change the wheels with the 911 Carrera, getting five wheel options to choose from, and each wheel is available in 20 or 21 inches.
The 2023 Porsche Carrera S interior comfortably accommodates four, but tall rear seat occupants might have issues on long-distance road trips as the headroom and legroom could be better. However, the front seats have enough room, and since the floor pan is lower, entering and stepping out of the car is easy. No full-carbon seat option is offered for the 911 Carrera S, but all seat options are draped with leather as standard.
4-way adjustable Sports seats are standard, with an option to upgrade to 14-way adjustable seats with a memory package. Also optional are two types of Porsche's Sport Seats Plus. One has 4-way adjustability, and the other has 18-way adjustability with a memory package. Heated seats are not standard, so each option has an optional seat heating functionality and ventilation but at an extra cost. Porsche has a way of making their buyers unable to resist paying more for some special features. In the 911 Carrera S, they made Exclusive interior Manufaktur packages anyone would love to have. The three packages, Heritage Design Package Classic, Heritage Design Package Pure, and Leather Interior Exclusive Manufaktur, transform the interior with high-end leather in bespoke colors.
To add to the aforementioned tech features that enhance safety and drivability in the 2023 Porsche 911 Carrera S, you get cruise control, driveline traction control, front collision mitigation, and brake assist. Safety belt pre-tensioners on all seats, dual-stage front airbags, front seats side airbags, and first-row curtain airbags are installed in the 2023 Porsche 911 Carrera S. In-cabin entertainment is provided through a 10.9-inch touchscreen display sending sound to 8 loudspeakers with a 150-watt total sound output. Porsche still hasn't added a premium sound system option, so you can't upgrade yet. Also, the infotainment display only comes with Apple CarPlay installed, but Android users can still connect to the vehicle through Bluetooth.
Optional tech features in the 2023 911 Carrera S include a HomeLink garage door transmitter, perimeter alarm, an immobilizer, proximity lock with push-to-start, and cabin air filtration, which might come standard depending on your location.
What the 2023 Porsche 911 Carrera S lacks in high performance, it recoups for in sheer driving pleasure and affordability. After all, it's still a 911, and expecting it to be any different would be absurd. Prices start at roughly $125,000 for a brand-new unit from Porsche, but if you play around with the configurator, you'll definitely find yourself paying more. But we guarantee you won't regret it since Porsche has carefully curated each option feature for the Carrera S to do more than just make a pretty penny for them. If you can't bear the wait, used Carrera S prices start at around the same price as a new 2023 unit, and you can buy one through us!
The 2023 911 Carrera S should be the car you should start your 911 journey with. It's not exactly quick, but it has enough power to make you appreciate Porsche's more than 50 years of making the 911. There are other cars that might be better than the 911 Carrera S at its price point, but it's a 911, for crying out loud, and the 911 has no substitute, all attributes considered.
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