From The Oakland Press
2013 Porsche 911 Carrera: Perfection at last
The Porsche 911 appears to defy all automotive and racing logic. This rear-engine-design, rear-wheel drive sports coupe hasnít just remained unchanged in spirit for the past 49 years, all the while competing with the elite sports cars of the automotive world; itís consistently been one of the best. Ferrari and Jaguar models have come and gone, and the Chevrolet Corvette had a few forgettable years, but the 911 soldiers on undaunted and not at all threatened by the competition.
The secret to this longevity is dedicated engineering on Porscheís part. The 911′s basic premise and form have remained the same, but an almost obsessive attention to the minutia have ensured that each year the 911 gets better, whether itís in the form of incremental upgrades or a ground-up redesign. For 2013, the 911 gets the latter, becoming the seventh generation since the carís introduction.
The elongated teardrop shape is iconic, and though the 911 has gotten longer, wider and lower over the years, it has retained the same basic form. The new car is about two inches longer, but the front and rear overhangs have been reduced, masking the increase in size. A lowered roof gives the 911 a flatter, road-hugging look, while details like LED lighting up front, smoothed side details, slim B-pillars and aerodynamic taillights give the car a solid, muscular look. Details you might not notice at a glance include the new door-mounted side view mirrors that reduce wind noise at speed; the wider, flatter adaptive rear spoiler; and the new body, which is about 100 pounds lighter than the outgoing car.
The interior is also rich with nods to tradition while being thoroughly modern. The front seats are comfortable; the laughable vestigial back seats are still present and best used to carry groceries. The new dash is businesslike yet elegant, with hints of the Carrera GT. The new 911′s wheelbase is four inches longer, improving freeway stability and ensuring that it remains a supercar you can use every day. The track day-enhancing Sport Chrono Package is available, offering wheel slip-reducing Launch Control and other enhancements to the 911′s dynamics as well as a stopwatch display on the dash for recording lap times. Other options include a parking assist and keyless entry and start.
The engine is a bit smaller, but the new 3.4-liter horizontally-opposed six-cylinder offers a five-horsepower increase in output, to 350 horsepower. Fuel economy is improved by the smaller-displacement engine and direct fuel injection, and itís also enhanced by a hybrid-like automatic stop-start system that shuts off the engine at traffic lights. The seven-speed manual transmission is an industry first. If thatís too many gears to deal with, Porsche offers the Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) dual-clutch automatic transmission. Even in its purest form, the Carrera, the 911 is a formidable beast, capable of 4.2-second 0-60 times and a top speed of 178 mph. The Carrera S receives a larger 3.8-liter six that makes 400 horsepower and shaves three-tenths of a second off of the 0-60 time. The 911 has always been about Porscheís attention to minutia. For instance: dynamic engine mounts have been borrowed from the racing 911 GT3 for improved stability. The Carrera 4 all-wheel-drive model and the over-the-top 911 Turbo will no doubt be introduced once the 2013 model year is under way.
The four-corner MacPherson strut suspension incorporates a number of driver aids, from the body-roll-reducing Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control to the corner-enhancing Porsche Torque Vectoring system. A fully active suspension also is available. To merely describe the hardware doesnít capture the confidence and intuition that are a part of the 911 driving experience, however. This is a sports car thatís got four-plus decades of racetrack breeding behind it, and at the hands of one of the most intensely competitive manufacturers out there. The 911 is happy to remind you that there have been times when Porsche beat the competition so badly that they just gave up and went home. Large 13-inch disc brakes at all four corners ensure that the 911 retains Porscheís legendary stopping ability. Electromechanical power steering is new.
As the harbinger of the seventh-generation 911, the 2013 Carrera and Carrera S promise good things for the future of Porscheís icon.
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Provided by The News Herald