2012 Porsche 911: Lighter Chassis, Seven-Speed Transmissions, More Power

Porsche 911 is a nameplate that evokes all sorts of passion on the minds of car enthusiasts. Over several generations and decades, the 911 has become a benchmark for sexy, engaging sports cars. But the car’s evolution has been slow, with Porsche filling the gap between subsequent 911 generations with plenty of new styles and special-edition cars -- 25 versions at last count. Fortunately, the wait is almost over as Motor Trend has the skinny on the new 911. Codenamed 991, the new car is and set to debut in the Frankfurt Motor Show this September.

The first change is that the 911’s dimensions grow significantly: Motor Trend reports that wheelbase increases four inches, while overall length increases about two inches. That means the 991 has shorter, stubbier overhands than its predecessor. Because the transaxle now sits three inches further rearward, and the windshield base is further from the driver, Porsche says interior space also increases.The styling is a gentle evolution of the 997 car to which we are now accustomed, but we’ll have to wait until Frankfurt to see the real car in the metal.

Thankfully the expanded footprint does not translate to additional weight. Indeed, the new 911 makes such extensive use of lightweight materials like aluminum and magnesium that the new 991 is lighterand stiffer than its 997 predecessor -- even with the additional size. A 2012 911 Carrera should weigh about 80 pounds less than an equivalent 2011 car.

For now, Motor Trend only has information on the flat-six engines employed by the base Carrera and Carrera S. The former shrinks from 3.6 to 3.4-liters, but gains five horsepower for a total of 350 hp. The S engine still displaces 3.8 liters and jumps 15 hp to a solid 400 hp, thanks to innovations like lighter camshafts and new fuel injectors. The engine’s redline is 7800 rpm.

There will be both a traditional manual and Porsche’s dual-clutch PDK transmission on offer, each with seven forward speeds. The PDK is expected to provide marginally quicker acceleration, and also will be available with a special variable limited-slip differential. MT says the new diff will adjust the locking ratio in real-time based on road conditions; cars with the manual transmission stick with a traditional mechanical limited-slip.

To appease long-term 911 fans and keep pace with its competition, the new 911 has a thoroughly revised chassis. It keeps the base strut front, multilink rear suspension layout, but with new geometry that’s said to reduce squat and dive. A new version of adaptive damping will be available, along with a special adaptive anti-roll system. The new car also switches to electric power steering, a first for the 911 line. Due to the 911’s rear-engine layout, switching to electric power steering saves lots of weight by eliminating the long, heavy hoses that previously ran from the engine bay to the steering rack. EPS is also more efficient and saps less performance from the Porsche’s engine.

Taken together, the news promises a thrilling new chapter in the long story of the 911. We can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the Porsche 911 991 -- and the many variants that we expect to arrive in due time.

Source: Motor Trend

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