2009 911 New Car Test Drive
The Porsche 911 combines driving excitement with everyday comfort. It's our top choice for enthusiasts who want a sports car for daily driving. The latest-generation model, designated 997, is the best ever. It was launched for the 2005 model year.
For 2009, the 911 lineup gets a significant overhaul. The Carrera and Carrera S come with new engines. Even bigger news is a new dual-clutch automated manual transmission called the PDK, or Porsche Doppel Kupplungsgetreibe. The 2009 Porsche 911 models also get larger brakes. The exterior is slightly modified with new bi-xenon headlights and LED taillights. Inside, the center console is reworked, the Porsche Communication Management screen is larger and features touchscreen capability, the navigation system comes with a 40 gigabyte hard drive, Bluetooth connectivity is offered, and ventilated seats are now available.
The 2009 Porsche 911 lineup presents a wide range of models, from the Porsche Carrera to the 911 Turbo. Coupes and cabriolets are available, along with a Targa. Most offer endless options. Just about every possible combination is available between coupe and cabriolet, 3.6-liter and 3.8-liter engines, rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. You name it, they've got it. Let's start at the top.
The Porsche 911 Turbo is one of the easiest supercars to live with in daily use. It's more user friendly than competitors, from the Corvette to the Ferrari F430. Getting in and out of it is relatively easy. It rides smoothly and comfortably by sports car standards. It's happy to putt around all day at a Buick pace, particularly with the new automated manual transmission. It's easy to drive, whether streaking down a highway like a bullet train, charging up a mountain road, poking along in rush-hour traffic, or working the tires and brakes on a racing circuit. It's neither fragile nor unreliable. It really is a terrific car.
The base model is the Carrera coupe, but owning one is hardly settling for second rate. It's a fantastic sports car, exceedingly enjoyable to drive, and quite comfortable. The Carrera 4 adds the traction and handling benefits of all-wheel drive and is loaded with active safety features; it's the best choice for rain and winter weather, an unbeatable foul weather car. Cabriolets put the wind in your hair and sun in your face. The Targa features a clever clear roof that slides back to provide a top-down feeling. High-performance GT3 and GT2 models are not available, at least not yet.
The Porsche 911 lineup starts with the Carrera coupe ($76,300) and Cabriolet ($87,000), which are powered by a new 3.6-liter flat six-cylinder engine generating 345 horsepower and 288 pound-feet of torque. Standard equipment includes a six-speed manual transmission, leather-trimmed height-adjustable seats with power recliners, automatic climate control, interior air filter, tilt/telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated power mirrors, power windows, power locks with keyless remote, bi-xenon headlights, 235-watt AM/FM/CD stereo, cruise control, universal garage door opener, on-board computer, split-folding rear seat, rain-sensing wipers, theft deterrent system, front and rear fog lights, a speed-dependent retractable rear spoiler, and staggered, Z-rated 18-inch tires on alloy wheels. Coupes also get a sunroof, while cabriolets add a wind blocker and a power convertible top.
The Carrera S ($87,000) and Carrera S Cabriolet ($97,700) are powered by a new 3.8-liter six-cylinder, delivering 385 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Besides the bigger engine, the Carrera S gets the Porsche Active Suspension Management system (PASM) with adjustable dampers and a 10 mm lower ride height, 19-inch wheels and the wider fenders needed to accommodate them.
The Carrera 4 ($82,500) is equipped similarly to the rear-drive Carrera, but features all-wheel drive. The same idea holds for the Carrera 4S ($93,200), Carrera 4 Cabriolet ($93,200), and Carrera 4S Cabriolet ($103,900).
The Carrera Targa 4 ($90,400) and Carrera Targa 4S ($101,100) are equipped similarly to the Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S, respectively, but they feature Porsche's unique roof system that provides occupants with a panoramic view even when the top is closed. The Targa's roof is made from two glass panels and extends across the full width and length of the passenger compartment. In other words, the entire roof is glass, and in combination with the windshield and side windows provides a panoramic vantage and protection from the elements.
The all-wheel-drive 911 Turbo ($130,000) and 911 Turbo Cabriolet ($140,700) get Porsche's race-bred, twin-turbocharged version of the 3.6-liter engine, producing 480 horsepower. The Turbos come with larger brakes, a full leather interior, memory for the front seats, aluminum interior trim, a navigation system with hard drive, a Bose-tuned stereo, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Turbos come with the five-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. The optional Sport Chrono Package ($1,920) increases maximum turbo boost and includes an analog and digital chronometer, a sport button for engine and suspension controls, and control over various personal preference settings. Ceramic brakes are optional ($8,840).
Options start with the PDK transmission ($4,080) for all models except the Turbo. The available Sport Chrono Package ($960) includes an analog and digital chronometer, a sport button for engine and suspension controls, and control over various personal preference settings. The PASM suspension is available for non S models ($1,990); a Sport version ($950) lowers the ride height 20 mm, includes stiffer springs and front and rear anti-roll bars, and comes with a mechanical limited-slip differential. Also offered are ceramic composite brakes ($8,150), a navigation system with a hard drive ($2,110), voice recognition ($595), heated front seats ($500), ventilated front seats ($800), Sport seats ($440), heated steering wheel ($190), XM satellite radio ($750), a Universal Audio Interface for iPods and memory sticks ($440), Bluetooth wireless cell phone link ($695), six-disc CD changer ($650), steering-linked adaptive headlights ($690), and a removable hardtop for the convertible ($3,490). Porsche maintains its long tradition of factory customization, with options that cover colors and materials for virtually every part or surface inside the car. And if there's not an existing option, Porsche will likely go off the card, for a price.
Safety features on all models include Porsche Stability Management (PSM), an electronic stability control and traction control system that helps a driver maintain control in the event of a skid. Dual front airbags, front side airbags, and antilock brakes come standard, along with a tire-pressure monitoring system. Coupes also get curtain side airbags, while Cabriolets add pop-up automatic roll bars.