2012 Porsche 911 Struts its Stuff ahead of Frankfurt Debut
No list of cars and trucks that haven’t changed dramatically over the years is complete without the Porsche 911. Every one since the first has featured the same basic squashed-VW Beetle silhouette and a pancake six in the rump. And the marque purists – who purportedly meet in the woods while wearing Martini & Rossi racing team jackets and sit around the engine cooling fan off a ’73 Carrera 2.7 RS – wouldn’t have it any other way.
So with the latest 911, known within the company and inside Porschephile circles as the 991, Porsche is continuing to give the people what they want. As with every previous new Neun-elf, there’s a lot more evolution than there is revolution. But that’s not to say there aren’t a couple of notable changes.
The first is a large change with regard to the proportions of the 911. The wheelbase is about 4-inches longer. This decision wasn’t taken lightly, as the extra room will be serving a specific purpose a few years from now. What is that purpose? Making space for a hybrid system, which means the 911 will join the Cayenne and Panamera (plus the hybrid-only 918 Spyder) as Porsche models offered in gas-electric form.
The other big change is found in the transmission roster. Yes, the double-clutch PDK 7-speed from later 997s is back, but the big news concerns the Old School three-pedal manual option. The 2012 911 will be offered with a 7-speed manual transmission, a production car first. In an era where more and more carmakers (including former stickshift loyalists Ferrari and Lamborghini) are dumping their shift-it-yourself models, it’s heartening to see Porsche not only keeping the faith, but raising the bar. As the kids are fond of saying, mad props, yo.
As for the engines, the standard Carrera features a new smaller 3.4L flat-six producing 350hp, while the hot dog Carrera S receives a 3.8L unit rated at 400hp. When matched with the PDK, the Carrera sprints to 60 mph from a dead stop in a claimed 4.4 seconds, while the Carrera S does the deed in 4.1 seconds. The optional Sport Chrono Package shaves two-tenths off each version’s time, thanks to the launch control function. Top speeds a 179 mph for the Carrera and 188 mph for the Carrera S.
So what will it take to get into one of these new rear-engine rockets? The Carrera will start at $82,100, while Carrera S prices will begin at $96,400. Those are increases of about $3k and $5k, respectively, over the outgoing car, but you do get better performance and better fuel economy, as well as a more luxurious Panamera-ish interior. Still not sold on the 991? Check out how it looks stationary and in motion below and then get back to us. If you’re like us, you’ll be attempting to look up the going rate for a kidney in no time.