The Porsche 911 can be considered as classic as a Rembrandt, becoming an artistic addition to the often style-less sports car category. The shape has remained constant because well, why toy with perfection? The fact that it is well know for its iconic look might explain why the 911 has only been changed three times in its 48 year history. The 2012 911, known by its codename “991”, is the latest interpretation of Porsche’s classic 911.
This new 911 is going to undergo a bit of makeover with a 4 inch longer wheel base and wider axle tracks. However, the biggest change happens under the hood. Porsche appears to have decided to downsize the flat six engine from 3.6 liters to 3.4 liters. Motor Authority also points out that the base engine will be based on the one found on the Boxster S and Top Gear says Porsche has ”fitted it with new cylinder heads to allow it to rev higher.” Don’t react to this with angst though because the base power plant pushes out a meaty 350 horses. The Carrera RS version (replacing the Carrera S) will have a nice 400 horsepower which is 15 more than the previous model. As the power goes up, torque goes down in the base model by 8 lbs/ft, while in the RS it goes down by 15 lbs/ft. According to Top Gear, Porsche has also been shaving away the weight (30-40kg) by using aluminum for the floor and most of the external panels. This was done by Porsche to improve fuel economy and lower emissions. Then supporting these new power plants will be a new seven speed manual or the optional double clutch automatic.
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Top Gear also points out that though it is definitely distinctive from the previous 911, describing it as, “... less rear-engined. Less 911-ish, more Cayman-like. Because, in a way, it is. Of course, the engine’s where it always was, hanging out the back. But the rear wheels have moved 70mm back.”
This new Porsche is positioning itself right along side its main competition - the BMW M3 - and it looks like it is going to be too close to call. Top Gear points out that Porsche says it will do 60 in about 4.5 seconds which is exactly the same as the BMW M3. We think this will be the first time that Porsche can really challenge BMW. The engineers from Stuttgart have not only risen to the challenge mechanically, but also in the aesthetic battle over the somewhat conventional looking counterpart, the M3.
All in all, we believe this latest incarnation of the classic 911 will be well received by both critics and Porsche fans alike. It will undoubtedly lead the marque forward with advances in performance and fuel efficiency. This points to a new direction for Porsche in which it will keep the faithful, but will also help it to gain many more fans along the way.