Ask the Best and Brightest: Porsche Carrera S or Carrera 4S?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
ask the best and brightest porsche carrera s or carrera 4s

A TTAC reader writes: “Hi Robert I re-read your article on the Porsche Carrera 4. I’m looking for more info to help me decide if I should get a Carrera S or Carrera 4S later this year. I took a 1/2 day Porsche Driving Experience a couple months back with the Carrera S, and the handling was awesome plus the PSM seems to handle a lot of the ‘saving you from yourself’. Do you have any other input that could help me decide if it’s worth the extra $6k? I do not live in an icy part of the country, but down the road I don’t want to regret not getting it.” My take: if you drive like your hair’s on fire, the 4S is well worth the extra money. The only way to kill yourself is to aim at something. If you’re not Mr. 10/10ths, you might as well get a Boxster S or Cayman S. They’re more fun to drive at sane speeds, and a lot less money. Alternatively, why not consider the Panamera? You see how wrong that is? OK, B&B, what’s your advice?

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4 of 58 comments
  • Ronman Ronman on Jan 29, 2009

    Done deal, get the Cayman S with the Chrono Plus Package and Limisted slip diff, cheaper than a 911, and ultimately faster, unless you want those measily back seats.... plus it fits more luggage, i think havent tried though.... go give it a spin and let us know......

  • Stepheda Stepheda on Apr 16, 2009

    I asked the question: "Porsche Carrera S or Carrera 4S?" I have decided to get the 4S. Greed is good, but gluttony is better, and no question: the way this thing handles is a sin. I test-drove both the S and 4S. Whereas the S has PSM step in from time to time to slow the pace and permit me to recover, the 4S has some kinda mind-meld between the AWD and the PSM, putting the driver in an otherworldly video-game reality of point-and-shoot driving: point wheels and mash the Go pedal. What an incredible machine. The mild-mannered driver becomes part of the car. A car-borg. For anyone else out there faced with such a terrible dilemma as mine, I strongly encourage finding out for yourself. I also went with the PDK. A long stick-shift driver, I loved the 6speed Carrera S and Targa 4S I also test-drove. And it felt natural in that I'm used to cranking through corners in second... I can tell I would become really good with it. But - try out the PDK. I was fortunate last Fall to go to a half-day Porsche Driving Experience with Carrera S + PDK cars, and after the first follow-the-leader lap, I began to instinctualize the paddles. The deep and sharp left turn was no problem: right hand was turned around to 10 o'clock and my left hand was left in my lap, but I was still able to pop the gear down twice with my right hand. With a stick, I'd have to pull my left hand up on wheel to free my right to reach the stick. And with the Sport Chrono, even "D" is pretty cool. Say you're driving at 30 mph, and the "D" puts you in (I think) 4th gear. Hit the Sport button and it shifts to 3rd gear. Hit the Sport Plus button and it shifts you into 2nd. That is, the tach set point for shifting raises. None of this business I read on-line about "D" being lethargic. Not with Sport Plus. The first car I tested was actually a Carrera + PDK. I did multiple Launch Controls and was blown away. That's another AWESOME feature of PDK and the Sport Chrono package: Launch Control. Hold the brake down with your left, floor it to redline with your right, and when the "Launch Control Active" message comes on, pop of the brake an ZOOM you go down the road. I cannot begin to describe how cool this is. Anyway, I then tried the Carrera S + PDK, and I tell you what, you can really appreciate the extra power. In the Launch Control, the power sometimes was very sudden, once the static friction caught up and delivered the torque. Not so with the 4S + PDK. The AWD just gobbles up the road. BTW: I perceived none of this ethereal "AWD feels heavier" commentary I've read online, or that the RWD is "more fun, more connected". Maybe the Stig can tell, but not I. And I have a Boxster already so I know. And remember: you cannot have a collection with just one stepheda

  • HSwift HSwift on Jan 04, 2010

    I would definitely go with the 4S. it is all wheel drive and has a sport mode. cant get any better than that.

  • on Aug 25, 2011

    [...] the issue philosophically and generally. I trust the B&B can help out again in my choices, as they did on the question of ”S or 4S?” [Ed: follow-up [...]