The new Porsche 992 is the 911 update for true fans of the iconic car

Porsche has sold more than one million 911 sports cars since the original unassuming model was revealed in 1963.

Since then the formula for the world's most unique fast car – it's the only rear-engined car on the market (with the engine behind the back axle) and it uses a horizontally-opposed six-cylinder engine – has not changed markedly.

So much so that Porsche looked to its past for inspiration with the latest all-new 911, codenamed 992.

'70s style

On first glance some may not pick the 992 as a new 911.

That's partly the point; the 911 is one of the most iconic cars on the road with a unique silhouette and style. No designer would dare muck with it.

There are never huge surprises: Instead it's about small twists and delights, something the 911 nails.

Look at 911s from the '70s and '80s and there are hints of them in the 992.

The recessed bonnet prominent on old 911s has returned, as has squarer leading edges to the bonnet.

Look smart

Inside, it's a similar mix of classic and modern, with a sizeable 10.9-inch touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard taking care of infotainment functions.

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The instrument cluster has a hint of early 911 style, too, bringing back the five circular gauges. The largest one in the centre is a tachometer, while those around cover everything from vehicle speed to how much fuel is remaining.

The retro infusion even includes the outer gauges being partially blocked by the steering wheel, requiring a shift of the head.

A weighty discussion

The 992 is the largest, heaviest 911 ever created. More aluminium was used in the body to try to keep weight down, but a new eight-speed automatic (a manual arrives late 2019) is 20kg heavier, accounting for the additional kilos.

That transmission has been designed with spare space to take an electric motor, part of plans for the first hybrid 911 within a few years.

Increasingly stringent emissions regulations in Europe – including requirements in some cities to emit no CO2 in the CBD – is effectively forcing Porsche into a petrol-electric option.

Powering up

For now Porsche only offers the Carrera S and Carrera 4S (the latter with four-wheel drive), two of the more affordable 911 variants.

But down the track expect about 20 variants, including a race track-focused GT3, convertible, GTS and Turbo.

That Turbo badge – reserved for one of the most powerful models – is misleading, given all but the GT3 (and spinoff Touring) have turbos.

Turn up the volume

In the Carrera S there is a 3.0-litre horizontally-opposed six-cylinder twin turbo. The turbos are bigger and the intercoolers repositioned to allow for better cooling – all in the quest of making more power.

Peak outputs are 331kW and 530Nm, enough to launch it to 100km/h in 3.4 seconds if you opt for the Sport Chrono kit with launch control.

It's a mighty whack of pace, the 4S jolting hard for a brutal take-off.

Those turbos muffle the glorious six-cylinder sound, although there's just enough bark, combined with whooshes and whistles from the turbos, something more pronounced with the windows down.

Corner king

But it's the way the 911 scythes through corners that cements it as a brilliant sports car.

The rear tyres are now one inch larger in diameter – 21 versus 20 – providing masses of grip.

Combined with grippy Pirelli P Zero rubber it means the 911 is wonderfully capable through corners.

In true 911 fashion there's a tendency for the front wheels to run wide, or understeer, because there is not as much weight over the nose.

But brake into faster corners and it temporarily transfers weight over the front, increasing grip in the process.

Rain man

The 911 is also the first car with a dedicated rain mode that can warn the driver when the road is wet.

Microphones tucked up in the front wheel arches listen for a change in frequency on wet roads, then prompting the driver to select Wet Mode, which adjusts turbo boost, throttle sensitivity, braking and stability control calibration.

The most obvious change is when you press the accelerator, the engine more progressive in its power delivery, reducing wheelspin.

Room to move

The most impressive part of the 911 is how comfortable it is day to day.

Porsche has done plenty of work with suspension, including the adjustable dampers that allow things to be stiffened at the push of a button.

There's plenty of space, the 911 growing to accommodate larger humans. Head room up front is generous, as is legroom.

Whereas most rivals have seating for two, the 911 continues its four-seat layout, the rear pews best left to smaller folk.

Price line

It adds up to one of the most convincing and exciting sports cars on the market.

Yes, it's pricey, but the 911 is one of those rare beasts at this level where value really starts to shine.

But… it's not all good news.

The 911 has an extensive list of options, some you could argue should really be included in a car costing upwards $265,000.

Radar cruise control, for example, commonplace on cheaper machines, including the Hyundai Santa Fe, is part of an option pack that brings a more advanced autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system.

Not that it's likely to stop many from jumping aboard the latest in an impressive lineage.