Here's Why The New Porsche 911 Taillight Bar Doesn't Always Fully Light Up

One of the biggest design changes from the outgoing 991 to the current 992 generation of the Porsche 911 was the introduction of a full-width rear light bar on every trim of the model for the first time. (Previous 911s have had full-width reflectors.) The new rear end pushes the legacy sports car into the modern era while maintaining its old proportions, but apparently it goes a little too far for some vehicle regulators.

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If you’ve seen the 992 Porsche 911 Carrera episode of Harry’s Garage—in which Harry argues it’s quite possibly the trim level to get for purest 911 experience—you may have noticed something funny about the taillights of his review unit. Here’s the video:

You’ll see the 911's fancy new lighting on full display in the screenshot at the top of this article from Harry’s video. However, it appears the lighting elements in the middle of the bar, above the 911 badge, are busted like one of those mid-decade Dodge Chargers with a few of its LEDs burned out. Could it possibly be that this brand new press car from Porsche has a broken light?

I also found the seemingly busted taillight bar in this official press image of the 992:

Illustration for article titled Here's Why The New Porsche 911 Taillight Bar Doesn't Always Fully Light Up
Image: Porsche

Well, to Porsche’s credit, no. It isn’t busted. We just aren’t used to seeing the taillights illuminated when the car is being driven and the driver is using the brakes, or at least I’m not, as I haven’t been behind too many new 911s on the road yet.

A Porsche spokesman confirmed to Jalopnik that the entire light bar is illuminated on its lower brightness level when the headlights and/or parking lights are switched on. When the brakes are activated, only the two light strips at the outer edges of the bar are illuminated at a higher level of brightness. Porsche claims this satisfies the required “contrast” that makes it more obvious when the car is braking, not only by obviously making the lights brighter but by also separating the bar into pieces.

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European Union regulations specifically require a vehicle’s taillight be split into two symmetrical lights at the outer edges of the vehicle (emphasis added), with similar regulations in the U.S., meaning the bar break happens over here, too:

5.7.2.1.

Single lamps as defined in paragraph 2.16.1(a), composed of two or more distinct parts, shall be installed in such a way that: (a) either the total area of the projection of the distinct parts on a plane tangent to the exterior surface of the outer lens and perpendicular to the reference axis shall occupy not less than 60 per cent of the smallest quadrilateral circumscribing the said projection; or (b) the minimum distance between the facing edges of two adjacent/tangential distinct parts shall not exceed 75 mm when measured perpendicularly to the reference axis. These requirements shall not apply to a single retro-reflector.

[...]

5.7.2.4. Two lamps or an even number of lamps in the shape of a band or strip shall be placed symmetrically in relation to the median longitudinal plane of the vehicle, extending on both sides to within at least 0,4 m of the extreme outer edge of the vehicle, and are not less than 0,8 m long; the illumination of such a surface shall be provided by not less than two light sources placed as close as possible to the ends; the light-emitting surface may be constituted by a number of juxtaposed elements on condition that these individual light-emitting surfaces, when projected on a transverse plane fulfil the requirements of paragraph 5.7.2.1.

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With that third PEZ candy brake light hovering in the grille, it almost looks like the middle of the bar broke off for a Tron-light-cycle race up the back of the car. That’s kind of cool.

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik

DISCUSSION

i saw a 2021 911 yesterday and i can confirm that the middle section stays illuminated on US models, contrary to what this post says.