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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.


First Look: 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0

The “ultimate” non-turbo 911?

by on Apr.28, 2011

The new GT3 RS 4.0 is the most powerful naturally-aspirated 911 Porsche has ever produced.

Faster than most folks can get “2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0” out of their mouths, the Schwabian automaker’s “ultimate” normally-aspirated sports car will hit 60 – on the way to a top speed of 193 mph.

The appropriately named GT3 packs a new 4.0-liter flat-six in its rear engine compartment, the powerplant derived from 911 GT3 RSR race car, and borrowing such niceties as the forged pistons and titanium connecting rods.  A six-speed manual is the only gearbox offered.

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The new Porsche also borrows a variety of race-derived parts designed to shed weight, such as carbon fiber seat frames, front fenders and luggage compartment lid.  Even the carpeting is “weight-optimized,” Porsche proclaims, trimming the 911 GT3 4.0’s total mass to just 2,998 pounds – with a full fuel tank.


First Look: Porsche Speedster

Classic look for a limited-edition 911 spin-off.

by on Sep.21, 2010

The Porsche Speedster is back - in limited-edition form - for the first time in 18 years.

Porsche is bringing back the classic 911 Speedster, a legendary car often associated with the sports car elite, like Steve McQueen, for a limited run next year.

Only the third version of the Speedster ever offered, the retro chop-top design will help mark the end of the current 911 – known to Porsche aficionados as the 997.  Only 356 Porsche Speedsters will be built, a subtle historical reference to the 356 Speedster originally introduced in 1953.

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The new version, which will make its debut at the Paris Motor Show later this month, will be easy to spot.


First Look: 2011 Porsche 911 Turbo S

Topline 911 to make return in Geneva.

by on Feb.08, 2010

It's been five years since Porsche last offered a 911 Turbo S.

Porsche has a new king-of-the-hill coming, and it’s set to make its debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.  Or, more accurately, its return, for it’s the first time the German automaker will offer the 911 Turbo S model in five years.

Though it may seem like an oxymoron, expect the automaker to put a bit of a green halo around the 2011 Turbo S, which it says will deliver not only 530 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, but an impressive 24 mpg on the highway.

The 2011 Porsche Turbo S will be offered in both Coupe and Cabriolet form, and the maker promises it will come with a “remarkable list” of standard features including the virtually indestructible PCCB brakes, Sport Chrono Package and more.

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There’s plenty that Porsche is saving for Geneva, though if our sources are correct, the new Turbo S will feature a modified version of the 3.8-liter flat-six that’s currently driving the “base” 911 Turbo model.  Expect a 7-speed PDK, Porsche’s dual-clutch electronically-shifted manual gearbox, to come standard.