2025 Porsche 911 Carrera First Drive: Digital creep and design tweaks keep things fresh

MÁLAGA, Spain – The 2025 Porsche 911 goes through one of its most significant revolutions in history this year with the addition of the T-Hybrid powertrain in the GTS, but the updates for 2025 and the quasi-next-generation “992.2” 911 don’t end there. The whole car plays host to a wide array of vital changes, and while Porsche will inevitably reveal more versions of the car in time, the Carrera and GTS are coming out of the gate first in coupe, Cabriolet and Targa body styles. You can read our 2025 911 GTS review here, and we’ll be tackling the base Carrera in this review.

Now, we may refer to it as the “base” Carrera for clarity purposes, but that descriptor almost seems unfair. There’s been nothing basic about its performance or how it drives, and for 2025, it becomes even more enticing. The 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged flat-six – still mated to the eight-speed PDK – is mostly the same as before, but its turbos are the upgraded units from the pre-refresh GTS. Additionally, it borrows the charge-air cooler from the Big-T Turbo models. These are notable hardware changes, and output increases to 388 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque – that’s 9 horses up from before, but torque doesn’t budge. That isn’t a lot of power in the grand scheme of things, though Porsche promises small, tangible improvements, as the 0-60 mph time drops by 0.1 second to 3.7, and top speed goes up by 1 mph to 183. None of that should be cause for you to trade your still-new Carrera in for the 992.2 version, but there’s plenty more going on beyond the powertrain that could prove tempting.

Porsche’s tweaked the front end (new shown in top row above, pre-refresh in row below) with new side air intakes in the front bumper. The horizontal bars give it a less choppy overall aesthetic, but that’s contradicted by the little round sensors in the center of air intake that appear when certain driving assistance options are checked (you could end up with one or two). As they are not in fact miniature cannons, they’re a bit of an eyesore.

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The smoothing of the front continues with the integration of the turn indicator LED strips into the headlight fixtures, thereby eliminating the separate strips of light previously found on the car’s leading edge. It makes a big difference when you look at the before and after in person, with the “after” clearly being the cleaner, superior look. A similar level of paring back is present around the new 911’s rear. You’ll notice minor revisions like the license plate raised to a common height regardless of exhaust choice, a now straight-across rear taillight module, the elimination of sculpting in the lower plastic molding, and a reduction of louvers in the rear lid air intake. The original 992 wasn’t exactly “busy,” but there’s no denying it’s even tidier looking now.

Slip inside the new Carrera, and you’re met with the same “upgrades” applied to the GTS and soon to all the various 911 versions. The big one is a new 12.6-inch fully digital instrument cluster that officially does away with the central, analog tachometer that’s stuck around for so long. We mourn the loss of such a pretty tool, but going fully digital has its own customization benefits. There are seven different gauge views, ranging from a full-screen navigation map to an enthusiast-oriented performance look that places that central tachometer right where it belongs – there’s even a view that harkens back to Porsche motorsports of yesteryear with the redline being dead at 12 o’clock on the tach. Going digital also has visibility benefits. Anyone who’s driven the pre-refresh 911 would know the steering wheel partially blocks your view of the two flanking screens, but this new digital unit is positioned such that you can see all the information you want without needing to peer around the rim.

Another tweak that could cause Porsche diehards to hesitate is the replacement of the twist “key” to the left of the steering wheel with a start button. Porsche references its newer racing machines as inspiration, but it’s hard not to be sad that you no longer get to twist something to start your 911. On the plus side, this means that Porsche can finally offer remote start, allowing you to cool down or heat up the interior in advance.

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A new drive mode system arrives for 2025 that makes the steering wheel drive mode knob standard equipment no matter if you select the Sport Chrono package or not. That said, you’re still going to want to tick that box, as it adds Sport Plus mode, Launch Control and the familiar Sport Response button. Individual mode is killed, but that’s only because Porsche now allows you to tweak every drive mode (except for Normal) to whatever settings you so choose, effectively making all the modes potential “Individual” setups.

Driving the Carrera is naturally quite similar to driving the pre-refresh Carrera. It’s more than quick enough to hustle around both a winding mountain road and a racetrack – specifically, in our case, a few laps on Ascari. You hear those bigger turbos spooling up behind you with the windows down, though the exhaust is notably less aggressive on the overrun, in large part thanks to our test cars being Euro-spec 911s with the particulate filter fitted.

Its chassis, brakes and accelerative abilities are obviously outclassed by the GTS, but don’t be deterred by the lower limits. Porsche sent us out in groups of three on Ascari with one Carrera and two GTS models, leaving the poor sap in the base Carrera trying extra hard to simply keep the others in sight. Chasing after Porsche’s more serious performance 911s highlighted just how stupendous the standard model drives. It also underlines what a spectacular engine the 3.0-liter is. The T-Hybrid’s 3.6-liter does its work with less outward freneticism, while the 3.0-liter begs you to keep it near redline, forcing the driver to work that little bit harder to achieve speed. It creates a distinct powertrain character change in the lineup that previously required you to step up to the Turbo, Turbo S or GT3 models to find.

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Again, though, the base Carrera drives very similar to the way it did before. Its ride and handling balance will keep you comfortable on poor roads, but there isn’t a mountain pass that it doesn’t eagerly attack with the competence you expect out of a 911. Europe’s narrow roads will really make you notice how wide the 911 is these days, but that hardly cuts in on the fun, especially when its curb weight is still a friendly 3,342 pounds. Just keep in mind that if you want rear seats, you must now check an options box as the 2025 911 comes standard with just two front seats to keep that official curb weight number lower. It’s a strange choice, but at least the option is $0.

That’s the only moment of generosity from Porsche, though, as the overall price is now a shocking $122,095, or $9,345 more than the 2024 model. Porsche gives you a lot more for your extra coin at least, as $3,440 worth of options are now standard equipment, including a couple big ones like the LED Matrix headlights and lane-keeping assist. Porsche’s list of available extras has never been more extensive, of course, and while the Paint-To-Sample catalog is seemingly endless, we’ll call out the available-on-the-configurator Lugano Blue pictured in this post as particularly attractive. Combined with the Carrera Classic Wheels and $7,000(!) Basalt Black/Classic Cognac Club Leather interior that’s also pictured, it’s a combination we’d never tire of looking at.

The only option we wish the standard Carrera offered is a box to check for transmission. You actually couldn’t get it before – it showed up for the Carrera S – but now that the GTS doesn’t have it either, it seems like a bigger omission. At least we’ve been told to expect the seven-speed manual will reappear in future “enthusiast-oriented trims,” with Carrera T and GT3 seeming like the most obvious choices. Should you be happy with the PDK, though, don’t underestimate the base Carrera. The refresh represents a step improvement in nearly every direction, and it’s a car we’d be beaming to see in the garage every single day.

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