“The more things change, the more they stay the same”. This motto best describes the new for model year 2012 Porsche 911. The latest offering from Porsche represents the seventh generation of this iconic sports car which first debuted back in 1965. The same unmistakable silhouette shape remains and the contemporary rendition of the car is immediately recognizable as a Porsche 911.
What is subtlety apparent is how much the car has grown in its overall size and weight relative to the first generation. To put this in perspective, the overall length has grown by almost 8 inches, the wheelbase by a tad over 7 inches, and the weight by almost 1,000 pounds. However, Porsche has done a remarkable job of keeping the proper proportion of the 911 intact with large wheels and wide contact patch tires (19” on the standard Carrera, 20” on the Carrera S). Porsche has always maintained a standard in their development process of making their new generation standard 911 match the performance output of their predecessor Turbo models. Hence, the factory claims the new 2012 Carrera S can accelerate from 0-60 in an amazing 3.9 seconds (when equipped with their latest 7 speed PDK automatic transmission) and a top speed of 187 miles per hour. Some automotive journalists have road tested the car and reached a 0-60 time in as low as 3.7 seconds. This is simply amazing performance. This all achieved with a 3.8 liter horizontally opposed 6 cylinder engine (the tried and true engine architecture of every 911 ever built) that pumps out a visceral 400 horsepower.
Porsche has put in place a number of electronic intervention and driver enhancement features to tame this beast. In other words, high tech devices have been integrated into the new 911 to keep it safe and secure during spirited driving that mitigate the seemingly unbalanced combination of rear weight bias, high horsepower output and two wheel drive. Standard equipment on all new Porsche 911 models is the Porsche Stability Management System (PSM). During cornering maneuvers, this advanced system will detect either an under-steer or an over-steer condition and take corrective action with selective braking. Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) is standard equipment on the Carrera S (optional on the Carrera) which actively and continuously regulates damping forces according to driving style and road conditions. An optional feature on the Carrera S is Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) which acts as an active anti roll bar system that reduces lateral body movement during cornering. This keeps the wheel in a perpendicular position relative to the roadway and maintains maximum contact patch of the tire. There are additional optional packages to further fine tune your Porsche ride and handling characteristics to match your preferences (including dynamic engine mounts).
The new 2012 911 Carrera S has razor sharp handling. It has a very balanced feel giving no indication of its rear end weight bias and maintains a neutral composure even under the most spirited driving. Setting the “sport mode” button remaps the central brain to allow for more aggressive driving: shift points on the transmission are elevated to the redline limit, the cars ride height is slightly lowered and the shock valving is firmed up. The makes for one exciting Porsche to drive. Quite frankly, it can make a mediocre driver appear to have natural driving ability. Yeah, the car actually makes you a better driver than what you really are. The perfect tool for helping senior citizens feel like Mario Andretti.
The 3.8 liter flat six engine has plenty of torque. The power delivery is seamless all the way through the entire rev range. However, in typical race car fashion, the power really swells when the tachometer goes past the magical 4,000 mark. The car really comes on the cam at this engine speed and you are catapulted forward quickly from this point forward. This is the sweet spot where most Porsche drivers will want to gravitate to in order to feel the inner soul of the car.
This latest seventh generation Porsche has an internal designation of 991. The 991 represents the third iteration of the “water cooled” 911 Porsches (which had the internal code designations of 996 and 997). The 991 has made a graceful entry into the automotive sports car world and has found immediate acceptance. The dealers are selling them as quickly as they arrive. Expect to pay around $125,000 for a nicely equipped Carrera S. Not an inexpensive car by any means, but Porsche performance has never come cheaply.