Sneak Preview: 2012 Porsche 911

Shades of the Panamera inside
The new cockpit layout mixes old-school 911 elements with Panamera overtones. The center stack, for instance, adopts the ramp theme but it is here much narrower than in the Panamera. The enlarged controls are easier to use and more logically arranged, and the instruments are more legible. Since the conventional handbrake gives way to an electrically operated device, more space is now available between the seats for larger cupholders and additional pushbuttons. Drivers will also find more front legroom, a more generous steering-column adjustment range, additional oddments space and a bigger navigation monitor with additional functions. Extra money buys a rear-view camera, a Burmester high-end audio system, adaptive cruise control that can decelerate to a stop, keyless pushbutton ignition, and active ventilated sports seats.

Body and chassis changes
Composed of steel and aluminum, the body of the new 911 is not only more spacious and more crashworthy but also aerodynamically more efficient. There's also more front and rear downforce, and for even less axle lift, one can specify the optional sports aero kit available exclusively on the hardtop models. Another 911 first is the electro-mechanical power steering, which consumes less energy than the outgoing hydraulically operated steering, allegedly without compromising accuracy and feedback. Standard on the Carrera are 19-inch wheels (235/40 ZR19 on 8.5-inch wheels in the front, and 285/35 ZR19 on 11-inch wheels in the back) and 20-inchers on the S versions (245/35 ZR20 and 295/30 ZR20). That gave the engineers more room to install larger-diameter discs and more powerful six-piston calipers. Carbon-ceramic rotors (PCCB) still cost extra, as does PTV (torque vectoring), PASM (adjustable dampers), dynamic engine mounts (in combination with the Sport Chrono pack), and PDCC (dynamic chassis control). Also new are the damper-strut front suspension and the multilink rear suspension, which have been tuned for more grip and enhanced compliance.

A new push for efficiency
Encouraged by the motorsport success of the 911 hybrid, Porsche has prepared project 991 to accommodate a plug-in hybrid system at a later stage. Right from the beginning, however, all new 911s will be fitted with auto start-stop, on-demand electrically driven auxiliary equipment, battery regeneration under lift-off and braking and an AGM buffer battery. Together with the more efficient engines, these measures are said to warrant real-life fuel savings and emission reductions of ten percent at a minimum. Even more dramatic gains are expected for high-performance models like the next 911 Turbo, which features a more potent yet astonishingly frugal 3.8-liter engine good for 520 hp.

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