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First Drive: 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera

Evolution of an icon.

by on Nov.09, 2011

Porsche rolls out the seventh generation of its iconic 911 Carrera sports car.

As the styling chief for Porsche, Michael Mauer knew he had one of the biggest assignments of his career when he was told to redesign the maker’s flagship 911 sports car.  Few vehicles are more iconic, so, few projects would be more challenging.

The first thing Mauer recognized were the limits confronting him.  While he was asked to come up with something distinctive for the seventh-generation he knew that a radical redesign simply “wouldn’t be a 911.” That meant maintaining the car’s distinctive shape, starting with the long hood, bulging headlamps, “flyline” roof, and, of course, its rear-engine layout.

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What Mauer and his design team have come up with is somehow very different and yet surprising familiar – a Porsche 911 that is at once familiar and yet radically different.  There’s not a single panel or part carried over but for the powertrain – which nonetheless undergoes some significant enhancements.  The 2012 Porsche 911 is longer, lower and wider.  It delivers an array of new technologies intended to make it more powerful and more dynamic – while also improving its fuel economy by an estimated 16%.

The 2012 Porsche Carrera S is longer, lower, wider -- and 100 pounds lighter.

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First Look: 2012 Porsche 911

Rebirth of a legend.

by on Sep.13, 2011

Look familiar? No surprise as Porsche rolls out the 2012 911 Carrera and Carrera S.

What to do with an icon like the Porsche 911.  Fact is it’s been around for nearly half a century and still looks surprisingly much like it did when it first debuted.  And so it will still once the new 2012 model – which debuted today at the Frankfurt Motor Show – rolls into showrooms.

Not to say the updated sports car is just more of the same.  There are some nice, if subtle, tweaks to the new 911’s design – though one of the biggest changes is the availability of a new 7-speed manual gearbox.

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“This car embodies the core values for the brand,” explained CEO Matthias Muller, almost as an apologia for the evolution-over-revolution approach to the new 911’s design.  But he also stressed that it’s not all about tradition, it’s also “the ability to look forward.”

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