2009 Porsche 911

Mark Bramley

Our test car was equipped with the Sport Chrono package, which gives the PDK two additional modes - Sport and Sport Plus. In Sport mode, the transmission shifts more quickly, with more positive clutch engagement. Sport Plus adds much quicker shifts at full throttle, and both modes use a more aggressive shift map in automatic mode. The Sport Chrono pack also includes a launch-control feature for the PDK, which dumps the clutch at 6500 rpm and then modulates throttle if necessary for optimal grip. It also knocks an additional 0.2 second off the rush to 60 mph (now accomplished in only 4.1 seconds for Carrera S models, 4.3 seconds for the base model).

The best part about PDK is how simple it is to use. Unlike BMW's M DCT Drivelogic, which offers a dizzying number of modes to choose from, the PDK has a total of three intuitive, well-thought-out settings. Unfortunately, PDK cars without the Sport Chrono option pack don't offer the extra sport-shift modes. In regular mode, upshifts occur early in the interest of fuel economy and seem slightly at odds with the 911's sporting nature. Of course, you can still shift manually if you're hustling, but we highly recommend the package.

Porsche has raised the 911's base price by between $2000 and $3000 for 2009, due to additional content as well as the weak dollar. Following the company's long-standing tradition of expensive options, the PDK adds a not-insubstantial $4080 premium. We think the price increase is reasonable, though, since this is the best 911 yet. Ferdinand Porsche's decree that the 911 should be an everyday sports car is true now more than ever - this Porsche can be fully enjoyed by those who can't (or won't) drive a manual transmission. And with a significant increase in fuel efficiency, it doesn't even have to look different to remain the perfect sports car for the times.

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