After months of speculation, years of planning, and decades of evolution, the 2012 Porsche 911 has finally made its official premier. As the sixth generation of one of the most iconic sports cars in the world, Porsche has stuck closely to the 911’s roots throughout its 48-year history to provide one of the purest driving experiences on the road.
This newest model, however, diverges from the greatest from any 911 to date in an attempt to move forward with environmental considerations while retaining a solid foothold in its heritage. New for the 2012 model, the 911 grows a considerable 3.9 inches between the wheels in an effort to make the cabin more livable. Yet, in growing up in size, the car loses 100 pounds of weight. Now that’s progress we can get behind.
Motivating the new 911 is a standard 3.4-liter horizontally-opposed six-cylinder engine that makes 350 horsepower. Smaller in displacement and higher in power than its predecessor, the new car with the seven-speed PDK automatic transmission is able to squeeze out almost 29 mpg in the extra-urban European fuel economy test, which is similar to our highway rating. The current car achieves 27 mpg in EPA testing. Moving up to the 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S, the car comes equipped with a 3.8-liter version of the engine, producing 400 horsepower — a 15 horsepower gain from 2011. It jumps up about 1 mpg versus the outgoing car, too.
But let’s be honest: You aren’t reading this to find out about the 911’s fuel consumption, and it probably doesn’t matter too much if you can afford the car’s $82,100 starting price of entry not including destination and handling. The Porsche 911 Carrera S will come in at a not-so-insubstantial $96,400 before destination. So here’s the nitty gritty on the performance specs of the all-new car.
How about quick? Considerably quicker than the outgoing models. With a 0 to 60 time of 4.4 seconds, the base 911 is three-tenths of a second more brisk than the 2011 model. With the launch control activated on the PDK-equipped models, that number drops to 4.2 seconds. With the Carrera S, the PDK-equipped models hit 60 mph in 4.1 seconds without launch control or 3.9 seconds with it — a healthy improvement over the current car’s 4.3 seconds.
In terms of new features, the 2012 Porsche 911 will be the first mass-produced car with a seven-speed manual transmission when equipped for the traditional row-it-yourself method of shifting instead of the automatic. The new 911 will also feature Porsche’s first electric power steering system, which lightens the burden on the engine and helps the car get better fuel economy. And finally, the newly widened 911 will feature active stability-enhancing computers to improve handling performance such as Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control. The sensors in PDCC will monitor wheel position and surface to optimize grip on any sort of road.
While larger and more refined than ever, the 911 still retains its rear-engine layout that it has had since it was based off Volkswagen Beetle mechanicals in the 1960s. It still has the Coke-bottle shape with wide rear haunches. It’s decidedly different than any 911 that came before it, and yet, it’s a natural progression for the car as it moves forward — leaner, meaner, and yes, greener.
Look for the 2012 Porsche 911 to make its first public appearance next month at the Frankfurt Motor Show before going on sale in the U.S. in February 2012.