As this magazine went to press, we had not yet driven the redesigned 911, but based on early reports and nearly half a century of history, we’re willing to go on record predicting it will be very good. The new 911 promises its biggest gains yet in refinement and efficiency. The longer wheelbase all but irons out the rear-engined snappiness found in earlier 911s, and the already-posh interior gains a high-tech center console and optional eighteen-way power seats. A smaller-displacement base engine, a lighter body, automatic stop-start and freewheeling technologies, electric power steering, and a seven-speed manual transmission collectively improve efficiency by up to sixteen percent. Power improves by 5 hp on the Carrera model and 15 hp on the Carrera S. That added horsepower, combined with a weight reduction of between 65 and 100 pounds (depending on trim), yields minor improvements in acceleration to 60 mph, to 4.5 and 4.3 seconds, respectively. Based on Porsche’s past model rollouts, we expect to see new base and S convertibles join the coupe this year. Those in search of a spicier 911 will still have some choices–sixteen of them actually–as the last-generation’s Carrera 4 and 4S, Turbos, Targas, Black Editions, and GTS models all carry over to 2012, albeit in limited quantities. The GT3, GT2, and all their spin-offs are gone for now, unless you manage to snag a leftover 2011.
Drive: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim levels: Carrera, Carrera S, Carrera 4, Carrera 4S, Targa 4, Targa 4S, Carrera GTS, Carrera 4 GTS, Black Edition, Turbo, Turbo S
Body Styles: Coupe, convertible, 2+2-passenger
Engines: 3.4L flat-6, 350/400 hp, 287/325 lb-ft
3.6L flat-6, 345 hp, 288 lb-ft
3.8L flat-6, 385/408 hp, 310 lb-ft
3.8L twin-turbo flat-6, 500/530 hp, 480/516 lb-ft
Transmissions: 6- or 7-speed manual, 7-speed automatic
Passenger volume: N/A
Cargo space: 4.8 cu ft
The 2012 911, code-named 991, arguably represents the icon’s biggest step forward since the switch from air-cooled to water-cooled in 1998. Highlights include a seven-speed manual transmission and a healthy helping of high-tech options, from active antiroll bars to eighteen-way adjustable seats. Styling changes, big surprise, are subtle–casual enthusiasts might notice the new LED taillamps, but not much else.
Front, side, side curtain, and knee air bags are standard, as are ABS, traction control, and stability control. Stability control can be disabled but will still intervene if you brake hard enough to activate ABS.
All: 16-19 mpg city/24-27 mpg highway
- More refined than ever
- Superb steering, handling
- Many choices, options
- Those options can be pricey
- Back seats are mostly
The most highly evolved 911 yet.
- Audi R8
- Chevrolet Corvette
- Jaguar XK
- Nissan GT-R