Porsche, for some a simple German surname. For others, it’s a byword for precision driving, exceptional road handling, a signature styling and unparalleled reliability. Here’s a review about the facelifted 997 “Carrera 4S”.
History of the car
The Porsche 997 model generation was launched in 2004 and was on sale till the end of 2012. In July 2008, starting with the 2009 model year designation, it was given a major overhaul and not just a facelift. Aside from the usual tweaks on the front and rear fascias with LED day time running lights in the front and full LED taillight, the 2009 and following models came with slightly bigger side mirrors.
However, the biggest changes were to find under the skin: a brand new Direct Fuel Injection 3.6 L six cylinder rear mounted boxer engine that produces 345 hp (390 Nm) in the standard Carrera, Carrera 4 and Targa 4 versions. The sportier versions – the Carrera S, 4S and Targa 4S were given an 3.8 L DFI engine that produces 385 hp and delivers 420 Nm of torque. These engines could either be coupled to a manual 6 speed transmission or to the second major improvement this generation: the now much acclaimed 7 speed double-clutch automatic transmission called PDK for Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (Porsche double-clutch transmission).
This particular one is painted in Porsche Racing Green metallic, the official paint you would get on your 1/1 size car. As every Porsche, it comes with the Porsche crest on the front of the trunk. The front air intakes are painted grey, indicating that it is a four-wheel drive version, hence the “4” in “Carrera 4S”. None of the lights are actually functioning on this car. Nevertheless, the turn signal and day time running lights are clearly distinguishable. Clean job. This being the German or simply the European version, it’s wearing the mandatory front and rear German license plate “S XO 911”, with “S” for “Stuttgart”. They even integrated the hexagonal insurance sticker on it – solid! In typical Porsche fashion, the fuel filler cap is located on the right front fender. This one doesn’t open, though.
The wheels on this model are a beautiful replica of the 19” “Carrera IV” items. Not only do they have tire profile on them, they even have all the markings on the wall: “Michelin Pilot Sport” with the traditional Michelin logo and the tire size inscription: 235/35 ZR 19 for the front tires and 295/30 ZR 19 for the rear tires. Sadly, this is a little mistake, considering that it’s a 4S model and therefore should have the larger 305/30 ZR 19 sized tires in the back. Nevertheless, the rear tires are effectively larger than the front ones.
Looking behind the wheels we can admire the sport brakes consisting of ventilated brake disks and red brake calipers with “Porsche” written on them. All of the wheels are turning and the front ones are directional and connected to the steering wheel. The lower body protection lip that follows the entire side of the car is accurately replicated as well. The door handles are accurately modelled. Being “pull-out” handles, it would have been nice to be able to grab the handle completely, but since it forms a single piece with the door, it’s understandable that Norev just gave it the overall shape molded into the door.
One noticeable change compared to the previous model year are the side mirrors. They are slightly bigger. First of all, Norev did a good job replicating the mirrors as such and not make them look detached as some lower budget manufacturers do. Secondly, if you compare it to a previous model 997, you can clearly see the difference: it’s actually a bit taller than the previous one. As we get to the back of the car, we can see the newly shaped LED taillights. Compared to the previous model year, they have been redesigned in the front and back, giving them a sharper look. We can clearly distinguish between the red outer part for tail and brake light, as well as the white & yellow inner part for the turn signal and reverse light.
Another new or should I say re-introduced trademark of the all-wheel-drive “4” and “4S” models is the horizontal red bar connecting both taillights. It is glued to the trunk so be careful when opening it. Moreover, the model letterings “Carrera 4S” are nicely put just above the bar. We can also see the rear retractable spoiler that would come up automatically at 75 mph / 120 km/h. Obviously, this one is just engraved in the body and doesn’t come up at all. Nevertheless, the attention to details is very high, they even thought of integrating the center brake light, as well as the Porsche lettering on the lower part of the rear window. The exhaust pipes are accurately replicated: Two twin exhaust mufflers, another indicator for the more powerful “S” variant.
Before we take a look at the power plant, I just wanted to show you the windscreen wipers. They are really well replicated – showing even the holes in the frame that holds the rubber.
As mentioned before, like any 911 ever made, this one has the engine in the back. Thus, the hood is in the back and the trunk in the front. There is actually not a huge amount of things we can see from above, but what’s there is very detailed. Aside from the coolant reservoir we can see the oil cap and the entire air intake system. Notice how it says “Porsche Direct Fuel Injection” – very accurate. On the hood, Norev went as far to reproduce the ventilator. So far this car is complete – that’s what we like to see!
For those who wonder what’s in the front, let’s just open it up. As you can see it’s just the front trunk or frunk as some tend to say. Under the front cover is where you would find the windshield washer fluid tank and under the “Porsche” cover is where the battery would be. Nicely replicated though, even the inner side of the trunk lid shows the original frame shape.
At first glance you might think that it’s quite cheaply made with that completely covered undercarriage. But you’d be wrong. As a matter of fact, the 997 came with a completely covered undercarriage for better protection and enhanced aerodynamics. Only the engine is clearly visible. Although they are hardly visible, the suspensions do actually work – excellent! The chassis is bolted to the body with 10 screws – four in the front, two in the middle and four in the back. The Porsche brand and model designations are clearly visible in the middle, as well as the Norev logo between the front wheels. The most interesting part is without a doubt the rear, showing the transmission in all black, the flat six engine in grey, as well as the entire exhaust system in chrome. At last, we get a proper view of the 3.8 L flat 6 engine.
Right on the door sill we are greeted will the “Carrera 4S” lettering. The all sand beige interior comes complete with a three spoke sport steering wheel. In front of the steering wheel we find the chrome accented instrument cluster with the rev counter in the middle, of course and the ignition on the left side of the steering wheel, just next to the light switch.
The steering wheel has the compulsory Porsche crest in the middle, multifunction buttons for the hands free phone system, as well as the push and pull buttons to change the gears of the aforementioned 7 speed PDK double-clutch transmission. Further proof of that are the gas and brake pedals only, as well as the signature PDK gear selector.
The seats are meant to replicate the fully adjustable sports seats. However, they do no move, nor can you tilt them forward. With the visible stitching, they are supposed to imitate the leather wrap, but everything in here is plastic, obviously. The attention to details is just amazing and for once, we do get seatbelts! The doors have the exact shape and colors of the real car. It’s nice to see Norev integrated the window switches for both driver and passenger side.
The center console does integrate the new Porsche Communication Management system (PCM), which introduced the touch screen at Porsche. There is the slot to put the SD card in and all the buttons are visible and painted separately. The glove compartment does not open, but the handle is painted and does include a lock. Even the leather stitching on the dashboard has been replicated to perfection. Looking up, we can spot both sun visors, the rear view mirror, as well as the little compartment for the sun glasses – magnificent!
The special thing about any packaging of official licensed Porsche model cars is the fact that every model gets a distinctive VIN number. Unfortunately, I do not have the original box of this car anymore, so all I can do is give you a glimpse of this 2008 Porsche 997 “Turbo”’s packaging. Check out that car’s review and you’ll get to find out about the packaging as well!
Back on the road
This is an officially Porsche licensed model car. Norev basically had no choice making it right. The only thing they could have made better are the front seats. It would have been nice to have a tiltable backrest. This Porsche 997 “Carrera 4S” is a beautiful collectors item to own and I can recommend it to anyone.