The Porsche 911 became an icon almost the instant it arrived nearly 50 years ago, so when it comes up for a redesign, relatively small steps have usually won the day. Bowing at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show, the seventh-generation 911 Carrera and Carrera S may look to follow that pattern at first blush, but there are some radical changes—albeit not as large as the shift from air- to water-cooled engines—underneath the largely familiar shape.
Indeed, as we’ve seen from a preponderance of spy shots, Porsche designers made sure the new 991 generation looks the part. Its iconic fender shapes, ovoid headlamps, and fast tail remain, but it looks fresher and sleeker. The nose has a more aggressive lower fascia, although the LED running lights are still located directly atop the intakes. The headlamps gain more complex innards, and the side mirrors move from the A-pillar to the door. Around back, the taillight elements are squinted and smaller, the chunky blocks around the license plate have fallen off, and the quad exhaust finishers are replaced with a more understated duo of outlets.
Sitting lower overall, the stretched wheelbase (by 3.9 inches) gives the car a lower stance, an impression furthered by the wider front track. Porsche is withholding full specifications, but we’re told the overall length is only slightly up from the 997 generation. The new body makes more use of aluminum and Porsche says it’s 100 pounds lighter. It retains the same 0.29 Cd, and now is said to have virtually no front or rear lift, thanks in part to a wider, variably extending rear spoiler.
On CarAndDriver, The new cabin reflects the Porsche Carrera GT–like design that’s marked new Porsches since the Panamera, with a sloped center tunnel placing the shifter closer to the steering wheel. The execution is simpler than in the Panamera or Cayenne, though, with fewer buttons. The traditional five-pod instrument cluster keeps a large tachometer in the center, while a useful multifunction color display finds a home to the right of that. The 2+2 seating layout remains, but don’t expect those tiny back seats to offer much more room even with the extra space between the wheels.
2012 Porsche 911 Carrera Feature
The Carrera and Carrera S are the only models updated to the new 991 basis thus far–the Cabrio, Turbo, GT3, and other variants are yet to come. Changes for 2012 include a wider front track for better grip, a slightly longer wheelbase that increases high-speed stability, a new electric power steering system, a seven-speed manual transmission, a re-tuned seven-speed PDK transmission, and a new base engine, plus upgrades to the Carrera S’s engine.
The base engine, a 3.4-liter flat six, packs 350 horsepower thanks to direct injection and a free-revving nature. The Carrera S sticks with a 3.8-liter six good for 400 horsepower. Either can be paired with either the seven-speed manual or the PDK transmissions. With the PDK, the Carrera gets to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds, while the Carrera S does it in 4.1 seconds says TheCarConnection.
Add the Sport Chrono package, which adds launch control, and you’ll take another 0.2 seconds off either car’s 0-60 mph run. Top speeds clock in at 179 mph and 188 mph respectively. The PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) system, optional on base and standard on S models, offers dynamic suspension response to the road and driving conditions through a series of settings from Comfort to Sport Plus.
Porsche’s advanced Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) is also available on the S model. The PDCC system adjusts the car’s roll stiffness through the use of anti-roll bars. The Sport Chrono package is also available on the base Carrera–and as the name indicates, a key element of the package is a stopwatch on the dash that ties into the car’s computer to enable lap timing and other functions.
Handling is excellent, with less of the 911′s historical tail-wagging antics and slightly more understeer despite the wider front track. Losing 100 pounds from the previous 911, the 2012 model feels nimble, easy-to-place, and is stunning on the brakes. Our one quibble with the new 911′s package is the electronic power steering, which, while the best implementation of EPS we’ve driven, still comes up short of traditional hydraulic systems in terms of feel and communication.
On Autoguide, 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera Set to get its official reveal at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September Carrera models will start from $82,100, with the Carrera S priced from $96,400. Cars will arrive in dealers this February.
Gallery 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera
Porsche Boxster gains a new limited-production Black Edition model. Otherwise, the lineup carries over unchanged. second…
New 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 with 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 Release Date, Specification, Review, Features and Price. 2014 Porsche…
New 2014 Porsche Cayman with 2014 Porsche Cayman Release Date, Specification, Review, Features and Price. Porsche Cayman…
The Porsche 911 became an icon almost the instant it arrived nearly 50 years ago, so when it comes up for a redesign, re…
For 2012, the Porsche Cayenne gets a newly available blind-spot warning system. For the Cayenne Turbo, the optional carb…