Sunday, 25 March 2012

Porsche 911 Carrera

The Porsche 911 became a representation almost the immediate it arrived nearly 50 years ago, so when it comes up for a redesign, relatively small steps have usually won the day. Bowing at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show, the seventh-generation 911 Carrera and Carrera S may look to follow that pattern at first blush, but there are some radical changes—albeit not as large as the shift from air- to water-cooled engines—underneath the largely familiar shape.

Porsche 911 Carrera

Iconic Details, Bigger Package

Indeed, as we’ve seen from a preponderance of spy shots, Porsche designers made sure the new 991 generation looks the part. Its iconic fender shapes, ovoid headlamps, and fast tail remain, but it looks fresher and sleeker. The nose has a more aggressive lower fascia, although the LED running lights are still located directly atop the intakes. The headlamps gain more complex innards, and the side mirrors move from the A-pillar to the door. Around back, the taillight elements are squinted and smaller, the chunky blocks around the license plate have fallen off, and the quad exhaust finishers are replaced with a more understated duo of outlets.

Sitting lower overall, the stretched wheelbase (by 3.9 inches) gives the car a lower stance, an impression furthered by the wider front track. Porsche is withholding full specifications, but we’re told the overall length is only slightly up from the 997 generation. The new body makes more use of aluminum and Porsche says it’s 100 pounds lighter. It retains the same 0.29 Cd, and now is said to have virtually no front or rear lift, thanks in part to a wider, variably extending rear spoiler.

The new cabin reflects the Porsche Carrera GT–like design that’s marked new Porsches since the Panamera, with a sloped center tunnel placing the shifter closer to the steering wheel. The execution is simpler than in the Panamera or Cayenne, though, with fewer buttons. The traditional five-pod instrument cluster keeps a large tachometer in the center, while a useful multifunction color display finds a home to the right of that. The 2+2 seating layout remains, but don’t expect those tiny back seats to offer much more room even with the extra space between the wheels.


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