So you're saying this is a cut-price GT3?
Not exactly, but there is an element of truth to that. The Powerkit is a genuine factory-fitted Porsche tuning package offered only on the Carrera S that lifts power from 350bhp to 376bhp. You can order it on any two- or four-wheel drive Carrera S with the coupé, targa or cabrio bodies.
Chip and exhaust job is it?
It better not be for £8241. In fact it's a pretty comprehensive affair and includes modified cylinder heads and exhaust manifolds, a carbon fibre air cleaner housing, aluminium intake and, yes, a sports exhaust system and revised ECU. As well as that 26bhp power hike there's a gain in torque too, from 295lb ft to 306lb ft although the torque peak now moves up 900rpm to 5500rpm.
And how does it go?
The differences aren't colossal on paper or on the road. Porsche's own figures say that the kit chops the 0-62mph figure down 0.2sec to 4.6sec and adds 4mph at the top end allowing the kitted car to touch 186mph. The 0-100mph times show a more noticable improvement, the kitted car knocking nearly a second from the standard model's 10.7sec effort but the in-gear flexibility numbers don't show any improvement at all. That's mostly how it feels, too: noticably peppier, harder edged and a slightly more vocal, but not hugely different from the standard car. If you've got the Sport button depressed to take advantage of the sharper throttle response, the sonic bellow kicks in at around 3500rpm. If not you'll have to wait 1500rpm longer. Either way the real grunt doesn't arrive until the needle is half way round the centrally mounted 8000rpm tacho although it actually feels fractionally stronger low down than before too, allowing you to lazily surf the low rev torque when you're not in the mood for a thrash. And when you do wind it up, it kicks even harder. Our came without the optional PCCB carbon brakes. The steelies are still great (nice firm pedal, loads of stopping power, stacks of feel) but the PCCB definitely has the edge in every area, though probably not enough to justify the £5349 option price.
How much more does the GT3 cost?
Smart thinking. A basic GT3 with the C2's comfort seats rather than the more radical buckets that come with the Club Sport package would set you back £80,660, just £3669 more than a powerkitted C2S. Okay, so that's still £3669, but it is buying you an extra 33bhp again over the Powerkit (409bhp in total) and an engine that zings to 8200rpm and can trace its ancestry to Porsche's '98 Le Mans winner. For the number junkies the GT3 hits 60mph in 4.3sec and manages 192mph all out. On top of that you've got the peachy chassis (with brilliant two stage dampers making it genuinely usable on road) and various bits of GT3 jewellery like the front splitter, rear wing, yellow marked instruments and Alcantara wheel.
Sounds like you're less than impressed with the Powerkit.
Not so. We think the C2S is brilliant and the extra performance offered by the Powerkit makes a great car even better. But it's not worth over £8000, not when the GT3 is within reach. Now that the GT3 has evolved into such a civilsed road car, there's simply no reason for those wanting a more powerful 911 than the Carrera S not to go for it - unless they really need rear seats. And we're sure some do want those back seats because the 911 is an incredibly practical car. Young children fit snugly in the rear or you can fold down the backrests and use the rear of the cabin as an extra luggage compartment. The 911's compact dimensions and the great visibility mean its no liability in town, the control weights are perfectly matched, the body control excellent (keep the dampers in normal mode for road use) and it still steers like nothing else in its class.
Great fun but too expensive. If the only GT3 available was the £96k RS, the Powerkit for the C2S would make more sense and this would be a five star car. You couldn't accuse the standard CS2 of being affordable but it's not horrendous value at £65k either and is one of our favourite cars. But if we wanted more go and could stretch to £80k we'd go for the the GT3 which is even more fun and barely less practical. Which makes the powerkit a very likeable option for the C2S that just doesn't make financial sense.