On any normal car, the very clever Wet Mode just launched on the new 992 Porsche 911 would be seen as a very good idea, and have safety experts clapping joyfully, but on such a savage sports car it seems a little… insulting.
After all, the kind of people who will buy this super sporty new Porsche (the 992 is the eighth generation of a vehicle with a history stretching back to 1963) are supposedly keen enthusiasts, so fitting a system to not only tell them that it’s raining but make it easier for them not to spin out when it does is much like selling a samurai sword with a sticker warning “Caution: Very Sharp”, and one side blunted for your safety.
Officially, Porsche argues that enthusiasts don’t have to engage Wet Mode, because it’s not automatic. Tricky sonic sensors in the wheel arches detect standing water on the road and warn the driver (just in case his or her eyes are not functioning at the time) that it might be a good idea to engage Wet Mode.
If you do, the new 911 then wraps a big old high-vis safety jacket around you, dulling throttle response, fine tuning the Porsche Torque Vectoring system, adjusting the car’s aero package and turning Porsche Stability Management to maximum.
We were allowed to try it out on a specially soaked and tightly wound go-kart track at the car’s launch in Spain, doing three laps slipping sideways in Sport Plus mode, and enjoying it enormously, and then three more in Wet Mode, during which it proved quite impossible, to get the 911 even slightly out of shape.
It is hugely efficient and developing it no doubt added even more cost to the development of the $265,000 (and up) Carrera S we drove, but if I owned one, think I’d be too proud, or too stupid, to turn it on.
Very quietly, though, a Porsche engineer pointed out to me that not everyone who can afford a new Porsche 911 really knows how to drive one. The customers buy the image, they don’t necessarily fit it. And for them, Wet Mode, which comes standard, at no extra cost, is probably a very good idea indeed, particularly in a car with the engine at the rear and a certain reputation for being a handful.
Would you welcome Wet Mode in your 911? Tell us what you think in the comments below.