Sleeker, faster, larger Porsche 911 breaks cover
23 August 2011

Porsche's new 911, seen here officially for the first time, will be sleeker, larger, lighter, more powerful, faster, less thirsty and, according to the maker, better to drive.

Known internally as the 991, the new 911 — the sixth truly independent model in an illustrious 48-year history — is set to make its world debut at next month’s Frankfurt motor show prior to going on sale in the UK in December.

The new 911 will initially be sold in rear-wheel drive Carrera and Carrera S coupé guises at £71,449 and £81,242 respectively — increases of £4179 and £5070 over the outgoing models. Cabriolet and four-wheel-drive variants will follow in 2012, and pave the way for a range-topping Turbo packing 523bhp in 2013.

Styling

Developed under Porsche design boss Michael Mauer, the visual changes are subtle but effective enough to set the new car apart from its predecessor.

Official dimensions are yet to be revealed, but Zuffenhausen insiders confirm the new car is 56mm longer, 65mm wider and 11mm lower than its predecessor at 4491mm in length, 1873mm in width and 1299mm in height. The wheelbase has been extended by 100mm at 2450mm.

The traditional round headlamps are set on the front of a wider, slightly higher front bumper. The lights have been made bigger and house more complex internal graphics than before, and are complemented by new LED daytime running lamps on the leading edge of a reshaped bumper.

The rear is distinguished by new, thin LED tail-lamps. They sit underneath a prominent lip that forms the trailing edge of the engine lid and wrap further around the rear bumpers than before. Changes to the design of the rear wing, which continues to deploy at 75mph, help reduce lift without any detrimental effect on the low level of drag, according to Porsche.

In the interests of production efficiency and parts sharing compatibility with next year’s Boxster and Cayman, the new 911 continues to be based around a unitary monocoque structure with a high-strength steel platform.But in a break from tradition, the new car receives a predominantly aluminium body shell, which Porsche says is 45kg lighter than the outgoing 911’s steel body.

Engines and Gearboxes

As with the outgoing 911, the new model has a choice of two standard naturally aspirated, horizontally opposed six-cylinder engines mounted aft of the rear axle line.

The big news concerns the downsizing of the base unit in the Carrera. It drops in capacity from 3.6 litres to 3.4 litres — the same as the Boxster S and Cayman S. But while the Boxster/Cayman S engine delivers 316bhp, the new Carrera packs a sturdier 345bhp at 6400rpm — up by 4bhp over the old 3.6-litre engine. It also has 280lb ft of torque.

The Carrera S continues with a 3.8-litre unit, but it has changes to the induction and exhaust which liberate an extra 14bhp at 394bhp at 7000rpm and this version boasts 324lb ft. At the rear, the Carrera continues to feature two oval exhaust pipes, while the Carrera S gets four round pipes.

See previously leaked pics of the new Porsche 911

The new model receives a new seven-speed manual gearbox — a first for a series production road car. It has been described as being closely related to the new car’s optional seven-speed dual-clutch PDK gearbox. Both gearboxes have been engineered to support standard automatic stop-start and brake energy recuperation.Porsche claims a 0-62mph time of 4.4sec for the Carrera with the optional PDK gearbox and Sports Chrono package (an improvement of 0.3sec), with the similarly specified Carrera S put at 4.1sec, or 0.3sec faster than before.

No top speed claims have been made, but aerodynamic tweaks are said to allow the new Carrera to top 180mph, with the Carrera S extending beyond 190mph.

The new Carrera is claimed to deliver combined consumption of 34mpg with the PDK gearbox, a reduction of 6mpg on its predecessor, with a CO2 rating of 194g/km — the first time any 911 has dipped below the 200g/km mark. The Carrera S returns 32mpg, with a CO2 figure of 205g/km.

Chassis

There have been significant chassis changes as a result of the lengthened wheelbase in the quest to further improve the handling, grip and ride.

Porsche confirms that the front track has increased in width while the multi-link rear axle assembly has been redesigned with new pick-up points in a bid to improved longitudinal stability and provide more secure lateral properties.

Read Autocar's first ride in the new Porsche 911

Porsche has dropped hydraulic steering actuation for a new electro-mechanical arrangement as part of the drive to reduce weight and lower fuel consumption. Another new feature is Active Chassis Control (PACC), an active stabilisation system conceived to reduce roll and give greater wheel control for higher cornering speeds.The new 911 will also come with Active Suspension Management (PASM), which will be optional on the Carrera and standard on the Carrera S.

It features continuously variable dampers and different throttle mapping. Optional sports suspension brings firmer springs and dampers, reduced ride height and a more aggressively configured limited-slip differential.

Greg Kable

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