The new Porsche 911: everything you need to know
Call 911, quick
In case it has escaped your attention, there's a brand new Porsche 911 in town, recently unveiled a day or so ago (timezones are complicated, don't ask us how they work) at the LA Motor Show.
But it looks just like any other 911, you might be screaming. How is anyone who isn't a rabid 911-phile supposed to tell them apart, you might be going.
In all fairness, the new 911 is difficult to tell apart from its predecessors, even for committed car nerds.
But never fear, we're here to give you the lowdown on everything you need to know about the latest generation (the eighth, if you must know) of what is quite possibly the world's most recognisable sports car.
Apologies (but not really) for the clickbait header here, but what we mean to say is look at the new 911's rear end. Because, uh, "heck" in German translates to "rear".
We certainly don't need you to look at the front, because the biggest change to its nose is a set of all-LED headlights enclosed in more rounded housings. Plus, there's a new bonnet that features a more prominent indent and is now more square, both details that Porsche says evokes the look of 911s from the 1970s. All that should give you an idea as to how slowly Porsche evolves the design of the 911.
Anyway, much of the action happens in the back section. There's a new LED light bar connecting the all-new three-dimensional LED taillights. The latter is tinted, of course, but knowing Porsche and the way nearly everything is optional, we wouldn't be surprised if you had to pay extra for the tinting.
The black slats over the engine (yes, it's still in the 'wrong' place) are carried over from before, though they now seem to be more prominent. Located in the centre and between the slats is the third brake light, now vertically oriented, versus the slat-spanning one used in its predecessor.
Most prominent of all, perhaps, is the pair of massive oval exhaust pipes, which if history is any measure, should make a fantastic noise.
The 911 may be stubbornly resistant to change on the outside, and its basic shape has changed little since it made its debut 55 years ago, but when it comes to its interior, Porsche has really gone to town.
Almost the entire centre console is covered in black glass, though that's not just cosmetic. It lights up when the car is on to double as a touch-sensitive panel with controls for various functions. How much of said panel lights up is a surefire way to tell if someone has cheaped out on their 911, because more buttons means more features have been checked off the options list.
One oddity in the centre console is its new gearlever, which takes the form of a stubby monolith topped with diamond-textured metal. It looks like Porsche rammed a keyfob into the space where the gearlever should be and went sehr gut.
Now, we've seen some extremely odd gearlevers in recent times, but the one in the new 911 has just trumped them all for sheer weirdness. Oh well, we can at least be thankful the new 911 still has a gearlever, and not PRND buttons.
Another standout interior feature is its dashboard, which Porsche says is inspired by 911s from the 1970s. Its design may be retro, but its functions are on the bleeding edge of modernity. The central rev counter is analogue, but that's a deliberate move, a link to Porsches of the past.
The two panels flanking it, however, are a pair of high-resolution digital displays, configurable to display all the driving/vehicle information you could ever want or need.
Getting a handle on it
We've saved the best for last. Our favourite thing about the new 911 is its new exterior door handles that retract and sit flush with the body when not in use. That is to say when the doors are closed, the car is locked or the car is in motion.
No, we haven't taken leave of our senses (not completely, anyway). An engineer will tell you Porsche has done this in the interest of aerodynamic efficiency, but as people who appreciate nice design, we'll tell you this is just dead cool.
The flush-fitted door handles allow the 911 to look remarkably clean from the side, all the better to admire the swoop of its distinctive roofline, elegantly protruding chin and the hump on its rear where the engine is.
AND OH MY GOD, THOSE NEW WHEELS.