2011 911 New Car Test Drive
The Porsche 911 delivers supercar performance yet it's easy to drive and live with as a daily driver.
The current-generation model, designated 997, is the best ever. It was launched for the 2005 model year. The Carrera engines were revised for 2009, and the dual-clutch automated manual transmission called the PDK, or Porsche Doppel Kupplungsgetreibe, was introduced. The 911 Turbo was upgraded with a new engine for 2010 and a racy 911 GT3 and an even racier GT3 RS were introduced.
For 2011, a 911 GT2 RS joins the lineup, but all 500 units have been sold.
Also, 2011 Porsche 911 Carrera models come with more standard equipment than before. Bluetooth and a universal audio interface for MP3 players come standard on all 2011 911 models, and options have been bundled into new packages.
The 2011 Porsche 911 lineup includes Coupes, Cabriolets, and a Targa. The least-expensive 911 Carrera is a fast car; S models are even faster. The Turbo is a supercar. The GT3 models are dual-purpose car for track and street. An ultra high-performance, rear-wheel-drive GT2 joins the lineup for 2011. Most models 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.
The Carrera coupe (sometimes called Carrera 2) is a fantastic sports car, exceedingly enjoyable to drive, and quite comfortable. It is the classic 911. 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. Cabriolet versions 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.
The Porsche 911 Turbo is one of the easiest supercars to live with in daily use. It's more user friendly than its competitors, from the Corvette ZR1 to the Ferrari F430 to the Lamborghini Gallardo. Getting in and out of it is relatively easy. It rides smoothly and comfortably by sports car standards. It's happy to putt around town all day at a Buick pace, particularly with the PDK transmission. It's easy to drive, whether poking along in rush-hour traffic, streaking down a highway, charging up a mountain road, or working the tires and brakes on a racing circuit. It's neither fragile nor unreliable. Plus, it has a 500-horsepower, turbocharged engine in back. The all-wheel drive and the world's best, most sophisticated brakes make it easy to charge into corners. It really is a terrific car.
The GT3 is the choice for true performance enthusiasts as it sheds weight and is the liveliest 911. The GT3 RS is like this only a little more.
The new 911 GT2 RS boasts 620 horsepower from its twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter engine. Porsche calls it the most powerful street-legal Porsche ever.
The Porsche 911 Carrera coupe ($77,800) and Cabriolet ($88,800) are powered by a 3.6-liter flat six-cylinder engine generating 345 horsepower and 288 pound-feet of torque. Standard equipment includes partial leather 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 with washers, Bluetooth, 235-watt AM/FM/CD stereo, MP3 universal audio interface, cruise control, universal garage door opener, on-board computer, outside temperature display, split-folding rear seat, rain-sensing wipers, theft deterrent system, rear fog lights, a speed-dependent retractable rear spoiler, and staggered, Z-rated 18-inch tires on alloy wheels. Coupes come with a sunroof, while Cabriolets come with a power convertible top and a wind blocker.
The Carrera S ($90,500) and Carrera S Cabriolet ($101,500) are powered by a 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. Carrera S models are available with a slightly more powerful 408-horspower version of the 3.8-liter engine ($16,900).
The Carrera 4 ($84,100), Carrera 4S ($96,800), Carrera 4 Cabriolet ($95,100), and Carrera 4S Cabriolet ($107,800) are equipped similarly to the respective rear-drive models, but are equipped with all-wheel drive and a limited-slip differential.
The Carrera Targa 4 ($92,100) and Carrera Targa 4S ($104,800) 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 911 Turbo ($135,500) and 911 Turbo Cabriolet ($146,800) get Porsche's race-bred, twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter engine producing 500 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. The Turbos come with all-wheel drive, larger brakes, and P235/35ZR19 front and 305/30ZR19 rear tires. Standard equipment is upgraded to a full leather interior, memory for the front seats and mirrors, additional front seat power adjustments, aluminum interior trim, navigation system with 40-gigabyte hard drive, Bose-tuned stereo, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The optional Sport Chrono Package Plus ($3,830 with PDK, $3,470 with manual) 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).
The 911 GT3 ($115,700) is a high-performance two-wheel-drive model offered as a coupe. It comes with a normally aspirated 435-hp version of the 3.8-liter flat-6. To the Carrera S it adds a limited-slip differential, larger brakes, stiffer springs and anti-roll bars, leather and alcantara upholstery, leather and alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, and P235/35ZR19 front and 305/30ZR19 rear tires. The 911 GT3 RS ($135,500) is a GT3 in race specification, with a 450-hp 3.8-liter, shorter transmission ratios, upgraded body and suspension components, dynamic engine mounts, and a specially tuned version of the PASM active suspension. It weighs less and buyers can save another 22 pounds by opting for the lithium-ion battery.
A 6-speed manual gearbox is standard on the 911; the PDK transmission ($4,080) is optional. PASM Porsche Active Suspension Management is available for non-S models ($1,990). A removable hardtop is available for the cabriolets ($3,490).
Options include full-leather upholstery ($1,550), power adaptive sport seats, Bose sound system ($1,440). Also offered are a limited-slip differential ($950), sport exhaust system ($2,810), rear park assist ($530), navigation system with hard drive ($2,110), voice recognition ($595), heated front seats ($510), ventilated front seats ($800), auto-dimming rearview mirror ($420), heated steering wheel ($210), XM satellite radio ($750), Universal Audio Interface for iPods and memory sticks ($440), Bluetooth wireless cell phone link ($695), six-disc CD changer ($650), sport shifter ($795), steering-linked adaptive headlights ($690), 19-inch wheels and tires ($1,550), and Sport Chrono Package. 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.
The 911 GT2 RS ($245,000) is limited to 500 units worldwide and Porsche says all have been accounted for.
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. All-wheel drive enhances stability in adverse conditions.