All-new Porsche 911: Faster, lighter, cleaner…

Tuesday, 23 August 2011 10:09 AM

2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S

The all-new 2012 Porsche 911 finally breaks cover. Here's the 400bhp Carrera S on the move, and looking pretty darn foxy. Red car below is the 350bhp Carrera

So here’s the new longer, wider and lower 911 that’s been gently leaking – image-wise – on the internet for a while, and ahead of its public debut at the Frankfurt show next month Porsche has released these official pics, prices and specs.

So let’s get the fast-facts done and dusted first:

The all-new-for-2012, 911 keeps its rear-axle-hanging flat-6 boxer engine, of course, with the £71,449 “entry-level” Carrera making use of a new 3.4-litre engine that makes 350bhp, while the £81,242 Carrera S features a 400bhp, 3.8-litre motor.

The new engines up the oomph-ante over the outgoing car, as Porsche purists will indeed expect. The 3.4-litre Carrera with PDK (automatic gearbox) accelerates from 0-62mph in 4.6secs, 0.1secs quicker than before. Pressing the Sport Plus button on the optional Sport Chrono Pack cuts that to 4.4secs. The 3.8-litre Carrera S with PDK can hit 62 mph in 4.3secs - Sport Plus 4.1secs – which shaves 0.2secs off the old car’s time. These are quick sprint times for not hugely powerful cars. 

No doubt assisting in the fast sprinting is the world’s most prolific sportscar manufacturer’s focus on weight-saving. 

An all-new, lightweight body, featuring an aluminium-steel composite construction helps cut the fat by a useful 45kg, whilst still optimising rigidity and aerodynamics, and a wider, variably extending rear spoiler has reduced lift without overly dragging down the overall drag factor. But has the new 911 still got the X-factor?

Since its first launch model in 1963, the 911 has justifiably enjoyed iconic styling status that’s generally only strengthened with new models. Perhaps the focus has correctly shifted more recently towards dynamics, speed and efficiency with newer 911s not making the bold and striking styling steps of before. But, Porsche has a basic design that must always remain – round (ish) headlights nestled in rounded and rising front wings; those wide and curving flanks and that quickly dropping roofline falling to an erotic rear-end. So these days it’s more a case of shave, tweak and tuck. 

New 911 gets a 100mm longer wheelbase, reduced roof height, and up to 20-inch alloys, as well as a wider front track (for flatter cornering) and those pleasantly familiar wide rear arches. Evolution not revolution indeed, but just to make sure there’s the odd difference to spot, Porsche have lowered the wing mirrors from the door-corners to the door tops. This aids the aero, apparently. 

On the inside it sounds like Porsche have upped the gorgeous-game with the new car paying luxury-homage to the uber-expensive Porsche GT. 

The outgoing 911 was no garden shed to sit in but the more you tick the options, the more satisfied you’ll be. According to Porsche, the driver is now more integrated with the cockpit thanks to a more elevated centre console and high-mounted shift lever, for that motorsport vibe. 

“Classic Porsche style elements” are retained with an instrument cluster featuring five round, analogue-look clocks with the central dial “naturally” the rev counter. Nods to classics Porsches aside, the modern car gets a new, hi-res multi-function screen to deal with info, audio and navigation tasks. 

Shoestring Porsche motoring has never been easy, but the more frugal speed freaks out there will be pleased to hear that the 2012 911 sets out to shame other quick cars with its class-leading eco-figures. Fuel efficiency is improved by up to 16 per cent. 

Familiar eco-assistance terms like auto start/stop are now in effect, as are less wide-spread advances like thermal management (more heat = more engine inefficiency), electrical system recuperation, the world’s first 7-speed manual transmission and – in auto PDK cars - a “coasting” function that decouples the engine – and therefore engine drag - when the throttle is closed. Also frugally-familiar is a new electro-mechanical power steering system replacing an engine-powered pump set up that further de-drags the engine. 

All of this eco-effort adds up to a new 911, 3.4-litre direct injection Carrera that returns 34.4mpg, with PDK transmission. This beats the old car by 6mpg, and at 194g/km CO2, it’s the first Porsche sportscar to duck under 200g/km. The quicker Carrera S improves eco-performance (+5mpg) and on-road performance (+15bhp); returning 32.4mpg and 205g/km of CO2 combined. But don’t drive it like Miss Daisy! 

And now it’s just the not-so-small matter of the bill, sir. The 911 Carrera starts at £71,449 and the 911 Carrera S from £81,242. For that cash buyers will see standard equipment on all models that includes a leather interior, sports seats, automatic climate control, Bi-Xenon headlights, 7-inch colour touch-screen Porsche Communication Management with sat-nav, audio with MP3 connectivity, Porsche Stability Management (PSM), and a three year warranty.

Not good enough? Well, Carrera S adds 20-inch alloys, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) with rear limited slip differential, in addition to the (+50bhp) power advantage of the 3.8-litre engine.

New 911 will be wowing the crowds at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show before going on sale in the UK from this December. Long live the king. 

By Daniel Anslow

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