2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and 4S are Quick with Extra Stick [w/ Video]
When Porsche introduced the 964 generation 911 in 1989, the first variation it introduced was an all new, all-wheel drive model dubbed the Carrera 4. While many purists balked at the idea of a 911 with four driven wheels, the original Carrera 4 – whose AWD system was a development of that found in the legendary 959 – made Porsche’s standard-bearer remarkably user-friendly on all sorts of surface types and conditions. Ditto the subsequent 993-, 996– and 997-based Carrera 4s.
Now, you can add the 991-series Neun-Elf to the list. As a result largest and most civilized 911 yet gets even softer and easier to handle…at least on paper. While no one outside the company has driven it yet, we can look at the 2013 Carrera 4’s numbers and get some idea of what to expect.
As is the case with the rear-drive Carrera 2, the Carrera 4 is offered as a coupe or fabric-topped convertible, both of which are offered in two levels of tune. The standard Carrera 4 features the Carrera 2’s 3.4L flat-six, producing the same 350hp. Step up to the Carrera 4S and you get the Carrera 2S’s 3.8L flat-six installed in the rump, making the same 400hp it does in the rear-drive model. Both models also let you choose between the same transmissions: A 7-speed manual (the first and, to our knowledge, only one offered in any passenger car in the world), or Porsche’s 7-speed PDK dual-clutch unit.
The big difference from the Carrera 2 models is, of course, the newest Porsche Traction Management (PTM) AWD system. It sends the majority of engine power to the rear wheels, but reallocates torque front-to-back and side-to-side as necessary. Additionally, there’s a dashboard display that tells the driver what percentage of power is being sent where in real time. Options include a sliding glass sunroof on the coupe, automatic double-declutching on downshifts for Sport Chrono Package-equipped 7-speed manual cars (when Sport Plus mode is activated), and Adaptive Cruise Control, all three of which are options new to the 911 family and available on the Carrera 2 as well.
But even with the AWD and creature comforts, Porsche claims the 991 C4s are as much as 143 lb. lighter than their 997 predecessors, and use up to 16% less fuel. And it’s not like the new Carrera 4 and 4S look wussy or anything; in fact, they look significantly more butch than even their rear-drive sisters. The rear haunches are 0.9” wider (and house tires that are 0.4” wider), and there’s a thin bar of red LEDs bridging the gap between the taillights.
However, it’s one thing to look fast, but it’s another thing to be fast. Luckily, the new Carrera 4 qualifies as such. Acceleration from 0-62 mph ranges from 4.7 seconds for the Carrera 4 Cabriolet to 4.1 seconds for the Carrera 4S Coupe, while top speeds range from 175 mph for the Carrera 4 Cabriolet to 186 mph for the Carrera 4S Coupe. U.S. sales will begin in February, with prices before the $950 destination charge starting at $91,030 for the Carrera 4 Coupe, and running up to $117,530 for a no-options Carrera 4S Cabriolet. Those prices aren’t cheap, sure, but for sports cars that will all hit 60 mph in less than five ticks of the watch and still be usable literally every day of the year regardless of Mother Nature’s mood, they are, in our estimation, fair prices.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziI92xYSRfY[/youtube]