Porsche is the quintessential sports car brand against which competitors measure their latest offerings for speed, handling, and daily living. The Porsche 911, a nameplate that debuted in 1963, is one of the most recognized vehicles on the road and track, and the automaker has capitalized on that recognition by offering a dazzling variety of models and versions.
The Porsche 911 can be divided into two basic body styles: coupe and convertible (ala cabriolet). Porsche models then break down into the 911 Carrera S and 911 Carrera S Cabriolet; 911 Carrera 4, 911 Carrera 4S, 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet, 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet; 911 Carrera Targa 4, 911 Carrera Targa 4S; 911 Turbo, 911 Turbo Cabriolet; and 911 GT3 and 911 GT3 RS. The limited Porsche 911 GT2 RS is currently sold out.
The Porsche 911 Carrera is all new for this year and is bigger than its predecessor. Yet the wizards at Porsche managed to shear 100 pounds off the new model, helping improve fuel economy of the engines and their all-new seven-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The 2012 Porsche 911 coupes sport new exterior and interior designs. Other Porsche models like the GT3 and the convertibles carry over unchanged into the new model year.
Body styles: coupe, convertible
Engines: 3.6-liter flat-6, 3.8-liter flat-6, 3.6-liter twin-turbo flat-6
Transmissions: six-speed manual, seven-speed automatic
Models: Porsche 911, Porsche 911 Carrera GTS, Porsche 911 Carrera GTS 4, Porsche 911 GT2 RS, Porsche 911 GT3, Porsche 911 GT3 RS, Porsche 911 RS 4.0
The Porsche 911 Carrera and Carrera S are all-new for 2012. Both are longer, wider, and lower than the previous generation, with redesigned headlights and taillights and prominent wheel wells. Porsche revamps the interior of both sports cars, especially the center stack. The refreshed 3.4-liter and 3.8-liter V-6 engines are either mated to an all-new seven-speed manual transmission or dual-clutch automatic. Finally, the automaker refreshes the electric-assisted steering and suspension systems.
Porsche updates the 2012 Porsche Carrera and Carrera S coupes by lengthening the wheelbase, or the distance between the front and rear tires. Thus both coupes look longer while the larger wheel arches give the Carrera a wider, hunkered down, stance. The automaker enlarged the traditional Porsche headlights while thinning the taillights.
The interior of the 2012 Porsche Carrera and Carrera S coupe benefits from the same longer wheelbase. Driver and front passenger gets slightly more legroom, but the rear row still works best for very small children or, better yet, as a beautifully upholstered luggage rack for the weekend getaway.
The rest of the interior is also redesigned for 2012, and the all-new center stack and gauges bears a strong resemblance to the Panamera sedan.
Performance & Handling
One of the secrets to Porsche's claim-to-fame is the ease of its models as daily cruisers. Road imperfections are comfortably blunted (by sports car standards) with road and wind noise damped. Even engine noise is well-suppressed (though it can be thrill to hear, especially in the turbo models).
Otherwise, both the all-new models and prior editions still stay planted to the road especially during hard cornering maneuvers. The longer wheelbase of the all-new Carrera models makes them even more stable during long commutes and when hitting winding roads at high speeds.
Standard active and passive safety features on all 2012 Porsche models include front, side, and side curtain airbags with the 2012 Porsche Carrera and Carrera S models getting additional knee airbags. Antilock disc brakes (ABS) and stability control (ESC) are also standard. Other features that can be considered a safety option, like all-wheel drive, vary by the available features with each model and trim.
EPA Fuel Economy
Porsche equipped with 3.6-liter flat-6: 19 city/27 mpg highway
Porsche equipped with 3.8-liter flat-6: 14 city/21 mpg highway
Porsche equipped with 3.6-liter twin-turbo flat-6: 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway
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