First Look: 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and Carrera 4 S

Even though driving purists generally prefer rear-wheel drive, Porsche recognizes that plenty of its customers like the added winter and wet-weather grip provided by four driven wheels. In fact, the all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 and Carrera 4 S accounted for over a third of all previous-generation Porsche 911 sales. So it's only logical that Porsche is now expanding the appeal of its new, 991-generation sports car with a quartet of all-wheel-drive models called Carrera 4 and Carrera 4 S, offered both as coupes and cabriolets.

The new cars are virtually identical to the Carrera and Carrera S that are already on sale; the most notable change is that all-wheel-drive versions get distinctive wider rear haunches. Compared to regular 911 Carreras, the rear fenders are 0.87 inch wider and the rear tires are 0.39 inch wider. New for this generation is a display in the instrument cluster that shows how Porsche Traction Management is allocating power between each of the wheels. In addition, a new strip of red LEDs stretches between the taillights, just above the prominent Porsche badge.

Engine and transmission choices are identical to those in the rear-wheel-drive 911 Carrera lineup. The Carrera 4 coupe and cabriolet have a 3.4-liter flat-six engine rated for 350 hp and 287 lb-ft of torque. Porsche says the coupe will run to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 177 mph, while the cabriolet hits the benchmark in 4.7 seconds and can crest 175 mph. The Carrera 4 S, meanwhile, has a 3.8-liter flat-six with 400 hp and 325 lb-ft. That's enough to send the coupe to 62 mph in a claimed 4.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 185 mph, while the cabriolet will accomplish the 0-to-62-mph dash in 4.3 seconds before topping out at 184 mph. On any model, a seven-speed manual transmission is standard and the seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission is optional.

New Equipment Across The Range

Launching the Carrera 4 variants also provides Porsche an opportunity to roll out new optional features for all versions of the new 911. One of those is adaptive cruise control, which includes Porsche Active Safety on cars equipped with the PDK transmission. PAS can automatically apply the brakes to help prevent a collision. A sliding glass sunroof is available for Carrera coupes, while cars with the Sport Chrono package and a manual transmission gain an automatic rev-matching feature. With the car in Sport Plus mode, the computer automatically blips the throttle when the driver selects a lower gear. Like the similar SynchroRev Match in the Nissan 370Z, this helps provide smoother downshifts that won't upset the car's balance before a corner.

Porsche will introduce the four new cars at the Paris Motor Show in September, before they go on sale in the U.S. in February 2013. The 2013 Carrera 4 coupe costs $91,980 (including a $950 destination charge), the Carrera 4 S coupe costs $106,580, the Carrera 4 cabriolet costs $103,880, and the Carrera 4 S cabriolet costs $118,480.

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