2013 Porsche 911

Carrera RWD 2-Dr Coupe H6 man trans

2013 porsche 911 Reviews and News

2013 Porsche 911 C4S Front Left Side View Cropped
Fourteen years ago, I was 24-years old and traveling on my first trip to Europe. I flew into Brussels, rented an Opel Astra 1.4-liter hatchback, and immediately drove to the Nurburgring. I was instantly addicted to the brilliance of the legendary track that Jackie Stewart called "The Green Hell." I have subsequently returned to the 'Ring many times over the next 14 years. For my tenth visit, I decided it was time to travel with my family to the area of Germany that I love so much.
We spend quite a bit of time in England. Our two children have been all over the UK but never to mainland Europe. My British wife has been all over Europe but never to Germany. We originally planned to take a fast sports sedan to the 'Ring but then I came up with a more adventurous plan. I've always loved the idea of utilizing the 2+2-seating layout of a Porsche 911 for a road trip. From Porsche's UK press office, I was able to get a racing yellow 911 Carrera C4S with a seven-speed manual. As a bonus, it was fitted with the $17,800 X51 powerkit -- bumping the horsepower from 400 to 430 hp and adding a few other extras including the Sport Chrono Package, sport exhaust, and minor trim changes.
Packing for the journey wasn't exactly easy. Our children are both under 9-years old, and although the adults in the Noordeloos family are light packers, the weather in the Eifel Mountains of Germany can be unpredictable. In the end, we fit the majority of the luggage in the 4.4 cubic foot front trunk (down from 5.1 cubic feet in the rear-wheel drive 911), the kids put their backpacks on the generous shelf under the rear window, and we lined the somewhat sparse interior storage areas with various items such as mobile phones, sunglasses, passports, and snacks.
We departed from just outside Stratford-upon-Avon in the Midlands of England at 7 a.m. on an early August Sunday morning for the 175-mile journey to the Eurotunnel in Folkestone. Luckily, traffic was very light -- rare on UK motorways -- and we were able to cruise at 90 mph, except on London's M25 ring road. It was a relatively painless, 3-hour drive. The only real bother was the road noise from the wide, 305mm Pirelli rear tires due to the grainy road surface of British motorways. There was also a bit of complaining from the kids in the back, mostly due to a lack of legroom and less than ideal vision out the small side windows. The jet lag from our flight over from the USA only two days earlier surely didn't help.
The Eurotunnel is an extremely efficient way to cross the English Channel. We booked the journey online a few weeks earlier. It cost a reasonable £138 (about $215) round trip and the crossing only takes 35 minutes -- compared to 90 minutes by ferry. It's a great experience. Where else can you drive your car onto a train, stay seated in the car, travel under water, and then drive off the train in another country?
Upon arrival in France, you must remember to drive on the other side of the road (the American side, the right). The other important bit of information is that the French police are lethal when it comes to speeding. The limit is 130 km/h (81 mph) if the roads are dry, 110 km/h (68 mph) in the rain. Rumors are that the Gendarmerie will nail you for as little as 1 or 2 km/h over the limit. With British plates and bright yellow paintwork, I didn't take any chances and stuck strictly to the limit. Unfortunately, the 911 doesn't come standard with cruise control in the UK -- it does in the USA -- and that option wasn't fitted to our press car.
Belgium was next. There, the speed limit is 120 km/h (74 mph) but many of the locals were cruising closer to 150 km/h (93 mph). We did the same but the road surface was even worse than the UK and the resulting noise in the 911 was near deafening. This kept our speed at least partially in check until our first stop for fuel, just outside Liège. At around $8.75 a gallon, premium unleaded is not cheap in Belgium (or the rest of Europe). Thus far, the 911 managed an indicated 27 mpg (U.S.), which is not bad.
That impressive fuel economy didn't last, as just on the other side of Liège was our destination country, Germany. Shortly after crossing the border, the magical "derestricted" sign showed its fabulous face and we took advantage of the Porsche's power. August isn't the best time for top speed runs on the autobahn due to summer holiday traffic but at least trucks are a rare sight on Sundays. We were able to touch 175 mph just south of Cologne before traffic thwarted our plan to play with the claimed 189 mph top speed. The 911 felt perfect at speed and my wife and kids loved every minute.
We arrived at the Hotel am Tiergarten in the town of Nurburg at 4 p.m. With the time change, it was an 8-hour journey. The family wanted to relax after being stuck in a small car, so I unloaded the luggage and they got situated in the room. I still felt fresh and hopped back into the Porsche for the short, two-minute drive to the entrance of the Nordschleife -- the old circuit at the Nurburgring. I wanted to get in a couple of laps around the 13-mile track before dinner. I purchased a 4-lap ticket for 97 Euros (around $130 USD) and headed out onto the circuit.
The Porsche felt fabulous around the 'Ring and the optional carbon ceramic ($8520) brakes are utterly amazing. No matter how hard you use them, they will not fade and they always give you a confidence-inspiring firm brake pedal. I was in Germany just one week earlier testing the newest 911 GT3 (http://www.automobilemag.com/reviews/driven/1307_2014_porsche_911_gt3/viewall.html), so the steering precision and overall balance of the 911 Carrera C4S felt a little off, comparatively. The steering on the new GT3 is so much better that I have a suspicion that the face-lifted 911 Carrera models will utilize a similar software setup for improved steering feedback.
I was just about to start my second lap when the circuit was shutdown due to an accident. I decided to call it an evening and headed back to the hotel. The wonderful German beer and a steak on hot stone at the Pistenklause restaurant in the basement of the hotel were calling my name. The Hotel am Tiergarten is a wonderful place to stay. Rooms in August are around $130-225 USD per night and include a fabulous breakfast. The mother of the famous Nurburgring racer, Sabine Schmitz, owns the hotel. Sabine gained fame after piloting Jeremy Clarkson around the 'Ring in a BMW M5 Ring Taxi for an episode of Top Gear. During my past visits to the hotel, Sabine has been behind the bar serving drinks.
The following day we explored the charming town of Adenau, which is only 5 miles from Nurburg. Adenau has a population of about 2900 people -- compared to 148 in Nurburg -- and features a great shopping area. It offers conveniences such as grocery stores, coffee shops, and a car wash. My son especially enjoyed sitting outside a café in the center of town, observing the wonderful mix of trucks, sports cars, motorcycles, and tractors cruising down the main street. This area of Germany is absolutely car mad and you see all varieties of automobiles around every corner.
Back in Nurburg, the circuit opened for public laps at 5:30 PM. My wife and kids were loaded up and ready when the gate opened. After the blast up to 120 mph and through the first corner, I thought my son was going to explode with excitement. He burst out, "I have never been on a racetrack before Daddy. This is awesome!" I had to inform him that his first ride around a racetrack is on the best circuit in the world. I am not sure he fully understands what a magical and challenging track the original Nurburgring truly is. I've completed around 40 laps around the Nordschleife and I still need to drive it like a tarmac rally stage, leaving a margin for error. The cambers, elevation changes, and traffic force you to really be on your toes, especially if you want to drive quickly. The best part about running the 911 around the circuit was having 430 hp at my disposal for the steep, uphill section of the track. There were times when we were going 120 or 130 mph, passing cars that were only going 80 mph or so. That's quite a closing speed; thank goodness for those wonderful carbon-ceramic brakes.
After a couple more laps -- one with just my son and one solo -- my ticket was used up and it was time to head back to the hotel. Sitting on the picnic tables outside the restaurant, we shared drinks with an international group of car people. This reminded me of one of the most wonderful aspects of being a car geek. No matter what language you speak, you can always talk automobiles. It's just one more reason why the Nurburgring is so special. The parking lot of the hotel featured cars registered in Great Britain, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Belgium, France, Poland, and the Netherlands. The most popular car you see is no doubt the Porsche 911, with a large number of those being the 911 GT3. The BMW M3 seems to be the second most popular car. This is truly a magical place.
The journey back to the UK was uneventful, but enjoyable nonetheless. Traffic on the autobahn meant that we didn't top the 175 mph run earlier in the week. The return trip on the Eurotunnel was even easier than the outgoing journey. The system utilizes a license plate recognition system, allowing the check-in computer to display your name and crossing time on the touch screen as you drive up. Back in England, there was light traffic on the motorways once again and we arrived back near Stratford-upon-Avon in good time. The final numbers showed an indicated 21 mpg, 1082 total miles, and 18 hours spent in the car. The 911 burned through four tanks of fuel, about $500 USD total.
Overall, the Porsche 911 Carrera C4S was the perfect travel companion and is truly is an option for a second car for a smaller family. The engine note, speed, and character of the 911 easily compensated for the road noise, the lack of interior space, and muted steering compared to previous-generation 911s. Sure, a Panamera would have been more comfortable for the trip to and from the 'Ring -- at least for my wife and kids -- but it can't match the track composure or fun factor of a 911. Plus, shifting a manual gearbox is still one of the most satisfying aspects of driving there is. I highly recommend anyone with one ounce of passion for the automobile to book at trip to Nurburg. You don't need a Porsche to enjoy the experience. My first lap around the circuit in the 90 hp Opel Astra is still burned into my brain as one of the best adventures I've ever had.
2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet Vs 2014 Audi R8 4 2 Spyder Vs 2014 Jagaur F Type V8 S Front Right View
We might have picked somewhere warmer than northern Wales for the Jaguar F-Type's first meeting with its sports car rivals, but despite the chill of a winter that had overstayed its welcome, this frigid clime did offer some benefits: barren rolling hills; traffic consisting of little more than the postman in the morning and a farmer or two in the afternoon; and mother nature's own special driving stages laid out long before man invented the automobile. Here, three high-performance driving machines gathered for the young season's first roadster shoot-out. In one corner, we have the Audi R8 with the 430-hp V-8 engine and an S tronic automatic transmission. In the other corner is the 400-hp Porsche 911 Carrera S with a seven-speed manual. At center stage is the top-of-the-line, 495-hp Jaguar F-Type V8 S with an eight-speed automatic.
At just over $92,000, the 495-hp F-Type is $11,500 less expensive than the bigger 510-hp XKR convertible. Why is the cheaper, less powerful F-Type just as enchanting as its big brother? Being about 400 pounds lighter, the F-Type is 0.4 second quicker to 60 mph than the older, full-size model, which uses the same engine but is handicapped by a less energetic six-speed automatic transmission. When the next XK arrives, Jaguar will have the opportunity to move the two farther apart, likely by making the larger car more of a proper GT. At Porsche, however, it seems that the gap between the 911 and the Boxster/Cayman has narrowed, particularly with the latest iteration of the mid-engine cars. In a way, Audi suffers from a similar genetic syndrome. After all, the R8 is in essence a reskinned Lamborghini Gallardo. In V-8 form, however, the mid-engine two-seater sits quite comfortably in its own niche, with its price being the only serious downside. Although the $140K Audi is far less expensive than the Gallardo, it costs a massive $47,000 or so more than the Jag, and it even makes the $112,750 Porsche cabrio look like a good value.
The F-Type V8 S is a roadster on steroids. Think of it as a softtop Nissan GT-R without four-wheel drive or as a transformed Ford Shelby GT500 with British papers. The Jag is, in other words, all muscle, and its presence on the road is accordingly aggressive and unrestrained. (Jaguar also makes two less expensive, less intense V-6 F-types, which we've yet to drive.) As we traveled through Wales, our white wedge cut an acoustic swath that made the sheep flock and the birds take flight. Under trailing throttle, the 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 would blat-blat and misfire and burp and implode. When let off the leash, the V-8 weaved the roaring and the thunder into an acoustic train you could almost watch fade away in the rearview mirror. You probably wouldn't want to be identified as the driver of this chariot from hell, but being the devil at the wheel is a whole lot of fun.
The R8 ranks second on the hooligan list. For a start, our test car's testosterone-orange-brown metallic paint triggered dozens of wagging fingers from local residents. The mid-engine mauler is also a victim of its own proportions: 2.5 inches lower than the Jaguar and 3.8 inches wider than the Porsche. Furthermore, it sports the longest wheelbase, the shortest overhangs, and the most extreme two-plus-nothing packaging. Mean-looking even when parked, the R8 proudly displays its exotic proportions and its ground-hugging, wide-body stance, which is even more firmly planted than the front-engine Jaguar and the rear-engine Porsche.
After seven generations, the 911 feels more like a longtime friend than a recent acquaintance. Similar to a charismatic speaker or a talented musician, the Porsche takes only a couple of minutes to cast its spell. Although the 911 looks and feels reassuringly familiar, quite a few aspects are actually fresh and exciting. The seven-speed manual gearbox, for instance, is complex on paper yet 100 percent fail-safe on the road -- pity the ratios were chosen more for fuel mileage than for quickness. The electrically assisted power steering feels light and brisk. The liquid-cooled, direct-injected 3.8-liter flat-six talks with the same snarly chain-saw twang we remember from its air-cooled, 2.2-liter great-grandfather. The rear-engine layout can be wayward and unpredictable, but even more so than its predecessors, the current 911 is a master of grip and traction. In wintry Wales on polished, windswept blacktop, the Porsche was neither a hold-your-breath balancing act like the sometimes fidgety and restless Jaguar nor a who-cares-about-the-weather champ like the R8. Instead, it comfortably covered the middle ground, never too benign to be boring and never too hairy to frighten the wits out of you.
It was always nice to return to the cozy cocoon of the F-Type's cabin, which fits even those who grew taller than most. You sit on well shaped, fully adjustable seats. The pedals are conveniently spaced, visibility is OK despite the tall beltline and the steeply raked A-pillars, and the ergonomics don't require the mind-set of a mechanical engineer. Stability control is either on duty 24-7, in track mode, or off completely. The transmission works well in D, but you can pull the lever to S for more ambitious performance. You can also calibrate engine, transmission, steering, dampers, exhaust, lights, and stability control to your liking, and the car will retain your chosen setup.
Which of the three engines makes our hearts beat fastest? The flat six from Zuffenhausen is the most charismatic, and its soundtrack triggers the most emotional deja vu. It also boasts the best fuel efficiency. But the Porsche doesn't excel against the stopwatch with the seven-speed manual, which simply is not as slick and quick as its rivals' paddle-shifted transmissions -- or its own optional PDK dual-clutch automatic, for that matter. The R8's normally aspirated 4.2-liter V-8 is rev-hungry and acoustically memorable. At 430 hp, which equals a hoarse 7900 rpm, it sits happily between Porsche's 3.8-liter boxer, which dishes up 400 hp at 7400 rpm, and Jaguar's 5.0-liter V-8, which is good for 495 hp at 6500 rpm. Unfortunately, torque is not the R8's strength: it musters only 317 lb-ft from 4500 to 6000 rpm, trailing both the 911 (325 lb-ft at 5600 rpm) and the F-Type (460 lb-ft between 2500 and 5500 rpm). Although its driven wheels are lightly laden, Sir Jag wins the sprint-to-60-mph sweepstakes, coming in at 4.2 seconds against the Audi's 4.4 seconds and the Porsche's 4.5 seconds. Maximum speed is 186 mph across the board.
Fat displacement, oodles of twist action, and eight gears -- that's what swings the drivetrain vote in favor of the newcomer from Britain. True, the old-school mechanical layout results in tail-happy handling and traction issues on slick tarmac, but it can dawdle along in seventh at 2000 rpm and still won't feel underpowered. Plus, you can access at random the mighty midrange punch. Fuel economy is decent, too: better than the Audi but worse than the Porsche. What certainly speaks in favor of the two German powerplants is the fact that they sit above or just aft of the rear axle. For this reason in particular, the rear-wheel-drive 911 is a riveting experience. Quattro all-wheel drive is of course standard on the mid-engine R8, which can be a little more playful than the Porsche. Furthermore, the Audi feels even more firmly planted than the Carrera S. Its cornering attitudes are equally transparent, if slightly less extroverted, and in foul weather it clearly is the most confidence inspiring.
We tried the F-Type with stability control off through a couple of roundabouts and on an open road garnished with two or three hairpins, but then we duly switched back to track mode. When the rain started to fall, all guardian angels were back onboard. Whereas older Jags would virtually drift on the spot, the F-Type hangs on about as long as a Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG or a BMW M3 convertible. When it does eventually let go, it needs quite a bit of room because it tends to slide with all four wheels, hind legs first, fronts following suit. Even though its weight distribution is even more extreme, the Porsche prefers to carve through bends without grand gestures. Unless the radius tightens dramatically, the car's nose will obediently follow the chosen line. It's a tactile tool, this 911, very quick yet surprisingly well balanced, much more user-friendly than its widow-maker reputation. Slightly refreshed for 2014, the R8 still feels a bit long in the tooth. Its cabin is wide but short of legroom, the cockpit looks dated, and the latest driver-assistance systems are conspicuous by their absence. And yet. The steering is quick, precise, and communicative despite the excessive 39-foot turning circle. The chassis blends a compliant ride and superglue roadholding. The brakes fuse bite and balance. Downsides? The limit arrives abruptly, the S tronic keeps confusing itself in automatic mode, and the weight penalty (about 200 pounds versus the F-Type, 600 pounds versus the 911) puts the Audi's exotic aluminum construction into perspective.
All three roadsters are roughly the same size and are quite similar performance-wise. Even their head-turning ability suggests a dead heat. The 911 ticks all the right boxes, but Porsche's Cayman and Boxster siblings have become such tempting alternatives that it is increasingly hard to justify the extra thousands for the more iconic but not necessarily much more competent sports car classic. There is also a certain danger for the Porsche of falling into the been-there, done-that trap. Although resale value and build quality clearly speak in favor of the Carrera S cabriolet, its high base price and costly extras blur the bottom line. Minor irritations include the virtually useless rear seats and the casually arranged switchgear. More of a concern are the little question marks that keep popping up: Is the new electric steering as good as the old hydraulic setup? Do optional systems such as Sport Plus and PASM amplify the car's dynamic abilities too much? Does the latest 911 feel rather pale unless you push it?
Like the Porsche, the R8 makes for a compelling four-seasons car -- except that it has even less storage space behind the seats and holds an even less generous 3.5 cubic feet in the luggage bay, plus it's even harder to see out of. What might really disqualify the Audi for quite a few potential customers are the hefty sticker price, the high fuel bills, and the steep depreciation rate. We used to love the R8 with the clickety-clonk manual gearbox, but that was largely because the R tronic sequential manual suffered from notorious hiccups. Although the new S tronic dual-clutch automatic is much better, it occasionally preselects the wrong ratio, downshifts too early in sport mode, and hangs on to high revs too long. Still an undisputed R8 forte are the optional magnetic dampers that dial in maximum compliance on bumpy roads and reassuring firmness on smooth pavement. Another strong point is the accurate and honest steering, which hasn't yet been infected by electronic assistants and by variable this-or-that add-ons. The engine is bound to be one of the last of its kind: high-revving, normally aspirated, tuned for emotion rather than for efficiency. Its likely replacement, a twin-turbo unit with cylinder deactivation, should be more frugal, but we bet it won't be as vocal or as intense.
Three keys, three cars, three choices. Which one would I take home? If cost were no object: an R8 with the 525-hp V-10 engine. If I could have one built to order and someone else paid for the lease: a 911 with the PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission. However, if it were my own money and if this was to be my only car, it would have to be the F-Type. It feels like the right choice for someone who has the body of a giant, the heart of a chicken, and the mind of a child. The Jaguar is not only the newest car on the block, it also is the most pragmatic option, sporting the biggest trunk and the least offensive price tag. Its supercharged engine is a known quantity and a true gem, the eight-speed automatic guarantees even more joyful paddleshifts per mile, the chassis wears the Entertainment Guild's seal of approval. True, the handling is a bit rough around the edges, and more often than not it takes the considerable help of computers to coax all that torque into traction. But the F-Type looks fresh, its lightweight architecture is modern through and through, and it is composed of the latest materials. Deep within, however, this Jaguar is an old-fashioned driver's car -- just like the E-Type it is supposed to remind us of.
2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet
24-valve DOHC flat-6
DISPLACEMENT: 3.8 liters (232 cu in)
POWER: 400 hp @ 7400 rpm
TORQUE: 325 lb-ft @ 5600 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 7-speed manual
DRIVE: Rear-wheel
Electrically assisted
FRONT SUSPENSION: Strut-type, coil springs
REAR SUSPENSION: Multilink, coil springs
BRAKES: Vented discs, ABS
TIRES: Pirelli PZero
TIRE SIZES F, R: 245/35R-20 (95Y), 295/30R-20 (101Y)
L x W x H:
176.8 x 71.2 x 50.9 in
WHEELBASE: 96.5 in
TRACK F/R: 60.6/59.7 in
WEIGHT: 3230 lb
EPA MILEAGE: 19/27 mpg
0-60 MPH: 4.5 sec
TOP SPEED: 186 mph
2014 Audi R8 4.2 Spyder
$140,000 (est.)
32-valve DOHC V-8
DISPLACEMENT: 4.2 liters (254 cu in)
POWER: 430 hp @ 7900 rpm
TORQUE: 317 lb-ft @ 4500-6000 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 7-speed automatic
DRIVE: 4-wheel
Hydraulically assisted
FRONT SUSPENSION: Control arms, coil springs
REAR SUSPENSION: Control arms, coil springs
BRAKES: Vented discs, ABS
TIRES: Pirelli PZero
TIRE SIZES F, R: 235/35R-19 (91Y), 295/30R-19 (101Y)
L x W x H:
174.6 x 75.0 x 49.0 in
WHEELBASE: 104.3 in
TRACK F/R: 64.5/62.8 in
WEIGHT: 3870 lb (est.)
EPA MILEAGE: 14/23 mpg
0-60 MPH: 4.4 sec
TOP SPEED: 186 mph
2014 Jaguar F-Type V8 S
32-valve DOHC supercharged V-8
DISPLACEMENT: 5.0 liters (305 cu in)
POWER: 495 hp @ 6500 rpm
TORQUE: 460 lb-ft @ 2500-5500 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic
DRIVE: Rear-wheel
Hydraulically assisted
FRONT SUSPENSION: Control arms, coil springs
REAR SUSPENSION: Control arms, coil springs
BRAKES: Vented discs, ABS
TIRES: Pirelli PZero
TIRE SIZES F, R: 255/35R-20 (97Y), 295/30R-20 (101Y)
L x W x H:
176.0 x 75.7 x 51.5 in
WHEELBASE: 103.2 in
TRACK F/R: 62.4/64.1 in
WEIGHT: 3671 lb
FUEL MILEAGE: 16/23 mpg (est.)
0-60 MPH: 4.2 sec
TOP SPEED: 186 mph
Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Side In Motion 3
This is Porsche ballet. My car glides over an all-white stage, a landscape skimmed in snow and ice. It is a new, very blue Carrera 4S, one of the first 991 all-wheel-drive models in North America, and it is full of grace.
The road before me is a track plowed out of deep powder, high snow banks on either side, with an upcoming sharp left-hander. Long before the car reaches the traditional turn-in point, I yank the wheel hard left and then wait. The car goes silently sideways and, although the nose of the 911 points directly at the bank, it’s moving laterally and sweeps by like a ship gliding past an iceberg.
A right-hander comes next. With a stab of gas and a twist of the wheel, the car pivots perfectly and predictably. Just call me Sebastien Loeb.
These are rally-worthy tricks you’d expect of a Subaru WRX, but they feel electrifying in the new AWD Carrera. A 911 shouldn’t be this good in the slick stuff, but it is. When your inputs are right, when you don’t get your hands all crossed up with way too much input and into an understeer situation -- when you’re patient and your eyes are up and you can almost sense the pebbly ice under the rubber -- it is brilliant.
Except when I don’t get that all those things right and stuff the new, shiny 911 4S into a snowbank, leaving the perfect impression of a Porsche snow-angel in the drift. Such is the price of dancing with greatness -- that and the collateral damage done to the front fascia, which is already cracked and torn, the result of some other dancer’s missteps. A coarse surgery had been performed on the lower lip with plastic zip ties used as stitching, a horror show à la Bride of Frankenstein.
The snowy winter track is a place called Mecaglisse, an hour north of Montreal. The Porsche Driving Experience program has set up base here for a good part of February in a program tagged Camp4 Canada. Customers drop somewhere between $5,000 and $6,000 for two or three days of madcap hoonery, hotels and food included.
Porsche is not alone in letting customers get a feel of its cars’ snow-carving capabilities. Everyone from Lamborghini to Audi to AMG puts on these things at far-flung locales from Finland to Italy to Colorado.
I’m here because I like to bash around other people’s expensive toys. Plus, it’s a first chance to see how the new 4S performs. Even better, we’re driving the 4S back to back with rear-wheel-drive Boxsters and base 911s. Which one will be the Snow King?
On my way to the course from the Montreal airport, my driver mentions he once owned a 1981 911. “Great car,” he said with a French accent. “But terrible in the snow.”
Once upon a time that was surely true. But today’s $84,000-plus 911s have better weight balance and are stuffed with electronic nannies. And to help traction, these cars have been shod with snow tires with 3 mm studs.
After several laps around a road-like circuit in the 4S, I’m impressed by its ability to maximize grip, particularly if you stay off the icy driving line and look for snowier bits on the corners. While the AWD system’s torque bias is infinitely variable, its demeanor is less skewed to AWD understeer and more like a sled with an afterburner. It pops out of corners with aplomb.
The latest Boxster has also been drafted into snowplow duty (with the roof up). On the ice it is far more nervous and necessitates smoother inputs, but it is also far lighter and easier to recover when you blast through a turn too quickly and begin pushing toward a snowbank. Still, the Boxster is clearly not the Snow King.
Which takes me to the cockpit of the regular ol’ rear-wheel-drive 911. This thing is bare bones. A naked plastic dash, no leather. It, too, is noticeably lighter than the 4S. Negotiating icy turns demands slow hands and a single stab of the brakes. Then you have to wait for it… wait for it… The tires bite, the weight shifts, and the 911 transforms into Luke Skywalker’s hover craft. You glide and slide, negotiating miraculous angles. It is nearly silent, and fully surreal.
That settles it. The base Carrera is my favorite. For it purity, it owns the icy crown. Of course, I wouldn’t mind another lap in the Boxster. Followed by a couple of turns in the 4S, just to be sure.
2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet White Front Three Quarter 2
You are forgiven if you believe that just about the last thing the Porsche 911 needs is four-wheel drive. After all, the boxer engine sits right on top of the driven wheels, so a lack of traction is rarely an issue. Nevertheless, since 1989 (when the first 911 Carrera 4 was launched), 41 percent of all 911s sold drive all four wheels. The latest 911 with this technology is the widebody, wide-track 991 Carrera 4, which commands a nearly $9000 premium over the standard rear-wheel-drive model. Is this an extra worth having?
The Porsche all-wheel-drive system still employs two packs of wet multi-disc clutches to relay the torque between the axles and between the rear wheels. This is a compact and light set-up, but be prepared for a delayed response in sub-zero temperatures when the oil takes some time to warm up. In normal operating conditions, the C4 drives only the rear wheels, so the 111-pound weight penalty has almost no effect on the fuel consumption (EPA figures for the C2 and the C4 are identical). Throw in a slippery surface, and the torque split will vary. Picture an extreme situation with the rear wheels resting on black ice and the front wheels on dry tarmac, and the 911 will momentarily turn into a 100-percent front-wheel-drive car. The black box known as Porsche Traction Management (PTM) employs different parameters such as wheel slip, vehicle speed, g-force, steering angle, throttle position, and pending understeer or oversteer to calculate the torque split. You can provoke a torque shift to the front wheels by accelerating hard on slippery ground with ESP switched off, but as soon as the car turns in, PTM will adjust the torque flow so that it does not overtax the lateral grip of the tires. Clever, that.
It takes a winding uphill road in combination with rain, snow, or gravel to really feel the difference between the Carrera 2 and the Carrera 4. While the C2 will eventually spin its hind legs and let the tail hang out, the C4 is busy dispatching the oomph to the wheels that need it most. It does so in a fluent and progressive manner, swinging hips and shrugging shoulders, sliding and carving elegantly and efficiently from apex to apex. In this particular habitat, the all-wheel-drive 911 is more rewarding to drive, as well as quite a bit faster, than the corresponding rear-wheel-drive model. Most of the time, however, the best part of AWD is just knowing that it's there. One would appreciate it on the final 200 yards to the ski lift, on the bumpy trail down to the beach, or through the snow drifts piled up by the first winter storm, but of course the 911 lacks the ground clearance for any of those obstacles.
Although the optional PDK transmission is very quick and can be easily coaxed into coasting mode, the standard manual seven-speed box is a haptic delight, even if seventh gear refused to engage over a prolonged period of time in my test car. The ratios are also perfectly spaced for optimum grunt and economy, the linkage effectively prevents you from selecting the wrong ratio, and it automatically blips the throttle during downshifts when in Sport Plus, in case your heel-and-toe talents are a bit rusty. PASM sport's variable dampers combine a compromised ride and a debatable 0.8-inch reduction in vehicle height with a welcome aero kit that reduces axle lift to zero at Vmax. Although the available switchable anti-roll bars (PDCC) are primarily a track day thing, torque vectoring (PTV Plus, which is standard on the C4S) makes sense every day -- especially in combination with the manual gearbox with the mechanical, rather than electronic, limited-slip differential. The electrically supported steering fitted to all 991 variants has been criticized by some as passive and lifeless, especially at low speed. To me, there is nothing wrong with the overall set-up, but I find it difficult to get used to the pronounced self-centering action, the not so subtle correcting tug when braking on split-friction blacktop, and the marked increase power assistance below 30 mph.
C2 or C4? And, to make your choice even more difficult, C2S or C4S? Manual or PDK? Coupe or cabriolet? For me, it's the C2 coupe with the DIY shifter. This is the pragmatic choice, but it is only a token 0.3 second slower off the mark than the much more expensive sister model. Alternatively, you may want to consider a C4S drop-top with PDK, which makes a compelling four-seasons all-rounder and a near-supercar for half the price of a Bentley GTC W12. Too expensive? Then forget 4WD and buy a well equipped Boxster S. Or, better still, wait for the new Cayman, which is just around the corner.
2013 Porsche Carrera 4
Base price:
$91,980 (including destination)
On sale: early 2013
Engine: 3.4-liter horizontally opposed six
Power: 350 hp @ 7400 rpm
Torque: 287 lb-ft @ 5600 rpm
Transmissions: 7-speed manual, 7-speed PDK automatic
Drive: 4-wheel
Wheels: 8.5" x 19" front, 11" x 19" rear
Tires: 235/40ZR19 front, 295/35ZR19 rear
Fuel mileage (city/highway): 19/27 mpg (manual), 20/28 mpg (PDK)
Performance (manufacturer's data):0-60 mph 4.7 seconds (manual), 4.5 seconds (PDK)
2013 Porsche 911
2013 Porsche 911

New For 2013

Porsche’s staggered rollout of the new 911 continues with the all-wheel-drive C4 and C4S. The Turbo variants remain on the old platform for now.


The 911 is all-new and, no surprise, is very good. The longer wheelbase all but irons out the rear-engine snappiness that earlier 911s were known for, 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, freewheeling technology, electric power steering, and seven-speed manual and automatic transmissions collectively improve efficiency by up to sixteen percent. At the same time, power climbs 5 hp on the Carrera 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. More important, the snarling flat-sixes remain raw-sounding and responsive. The new 911 cabriolet incorporates all those improvements and adds a folding roof that’s composed of four cloth-covered magnesium panels. The design provides nearly coupe levels of refinement but is still much lighter and takes up less space than a folding hard top. Some Porsche purists worry that these improvements sap the 911 driving experience of some of its distinct, visceral appeal. For most enthusiasts, the faster, more efficient, more luxurious 911 offers little downside.


Front, side, side curtain, and knee air bags are standard, as are ABS, traction control, and stability control, which can be disabled but will still intervene if you brake hard enough to activate ABS.

You'll like:

  • More refined than ever
  • Superb handling
  • Many choices and options

You won't like:

  • Options can be pricey
  • New steering isn’t as communicative as the old car’s

Key Competitors For The 2013 Porsche 911

  • Audi R8
  • Chevrolet Corvette
  • Jaguar F-type
  • Nissan GT-R
Chevrolet Corvette Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Ferrari F12 Berlinetta Front End 02
It's a battle that's played out numerous times since the 1960s: Ferrari versus Chevrolet Corvette versus Porsche 911. For today's episode of Head 2 Head, Motor Trend collected the latest and greatest and did hot laps at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Will the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51 be deemed the best driver's car of the three? Or will it be the 2014 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, or 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S? Read on to find out.
Worlds Greatest Drag Race 3 Aerial View
Our friends at Motor Trend have staged another epic drag race, and their most recent 12-car battle was the biggest yet with a combined 82 cylinders, 5171 hp, 4144 lb-ft of torque, and a total vehicle cost of $1,686,294. Now, that drag race is presented with nothing but natural engine sounds providing the soundtrack in this episode of Wide Open Throttle.  
2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S 1
In this week's Rumors Video Roundup, Motor Trend's Carlos Lago goes to Germany to drive the awesome new 560-horse Audi RS7, and the Porsche 911 C4S wins the Best Driver's Car award.
2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S 1
Our colleagues at Motor Trend spent the week driving some of the world's most thrilling sports cars to pick this year's winner of the annual Best Driver's Car comparison. The week encompasses time spent both on and off the rack track, but rather than simply comparing the cars based on their horsepower, grip, and acceleration times, the MT editors strive to find the car that best responds to its driver.

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2013 Porsche 911
2013 Porsche 911
Carrera RWD 2-Dr Coupe H6
19 MPG City | 27 MPG Hwy
Top Ranking Vehicles - MPG
2013 Porsche 911
2013 Porsche 911
Carrera RWD 2-Dr Coupe H6
19 MPG City | 27 MPG Hwy
2013 BMW 6-Series
650i RWD 2-Dr Coupe V8
17 MPG City | 25 MPG Hwy
2013 Porsche 911
2013 Porsche 911
Carrera RWD 2-Dr Coupe H6
Top Ranking Vehicles - Price
2013 Porsche 911
2013 Porsche 911
Carrera RWD 2-Dr Coupe H6
Top Ranking Vehicles - Horsepower
2013 Porsche 911
2013 Porsche 911
Carrera RWD 2-Dr Coupe H6

2013 Porsche 911 Specifications

Quick Glance:
3.4L H6Engine
Fuel economy City:
19 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
27 MPG
350 hp @ 7400rpm
287 ft lb of torque @ 5600rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation
50,000 miles / 48 months
50,000 miles / 48 months
Unlimited miles / 120 months
50,000 miles / 48 months
IIHS Front Small Overlap
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
IIHS Overall Side Crash
IIHS Rear Crash
IIHS Roof Strength

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5-Year Total Cost to Own For The 2013 Porsche 911

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= 5 Year Cost to Own
Fuel Cost
Repair Costs
State Fees
Five Year Cost of Ownership: $70,956 What's This?
Value Rating: Above Average