Porsche will launch an all-new 911 next year, a car that will be thoroughly re-engineered in the face of increased supercar competition, while also featuring refreshed exterior styling and a much higher quality interior. Here, Autocar looks at the tech behind the new 911, codenamed 991.
The new model retains the classic rear-engined layout of the 997 and every other 911 since the original was introduced way back in 1963, albeit with modifications to the engine mounting points, which have been optimised for improved weight distribution.
As with today’s 911, the front-end structure, complete with its MacPherson strut suspension, has been designed to be shared with the Boxster, a third-generation model of which is due to reach the UK in March 2012. The rear end, with its reworked multi-link suspension, remains largely unique, and the steering uses an electro-mechanical set-up.
Body and weight
The next 911 retains a predominantly steel platform structure and a body constructed from a combination of steel, aluminium and plastic composites. A series of weight optimisation measures has pared kerb weight by around 45kg in base trim, bringing the new 911 Carrera down to around 1370kg.
The new car is marginally longer and wider than the existing 911 but the basic silhouette, while stretched slightly, remains largely unchanged, including the screen angles and length of the front and rear overhangs. The biggest change is the widened wings, which have been designed to accept wheels up to 20 inches in diameter.
Porsche Weissach-based designers, under the leadership of Michael Mauer, have reinterpreted the detailing, although again there are no major changes. Headlamps and tail-lights have been altered slightly and given new LED graphics, while the exterior mirror housings now sit outboard on the doors rather than in the blanked-off quarter panel at the base of the A-pillar.
The electrically operated rear wing has been reshaped for added aerodynamic efficiency and greater downforce at speeds above 75mph. Further active aerodynamic measures within the front air ducts may appear on the new 911 Turbo, due out in 2013.
Cabriolet versions of the next 911, due to reach UK showrooms in May 2012, will feature a fabric hood that operates on the go at speeds of up to 37mph and can also be activated from outside the car via the key fob.
As with the existing model, the roof structure stows under a plastic-composite tonneau cover to preserve the car’s lines. The interior is a big departure, with new mounting points for the dashboard and seats to provide incremental improvements in front and rear accommodation, helped by a longer wheelbase and slightly widened tracks.
While retaining traditional elements, such as the five-dial instrument binnacle, the cabin draws heavily on that of the Panamera and current Cayenne in terms of design and features. Boot capacity improves on the existing 911 at 140 litres — all concentrated under the new car’s reworked bonnet, ahead of its standard 68-litre fuel tank.