At first we were going to contrast the suspension of this 2011 Porsche 911 GTS to that of our 1985 Porsche 911. But then, just before the holidays hit, we got our hands on an all-new 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S. Our GTS vs. Black Plague duel would have to wait.
This was fine by me because once the dust settled we would have a three-car 911 suspension comparison. The completion of this GTS walkaround leaves our 1985 Porsche 911 in the on-deck circle.
Notably, this 911 is fitted with Porsche's center-lock wheels. You'll catch glimpses of them throughout, but I'm saving a detailed description for a separate sidebar that will probably be posted by the time you finish reading this.
But, as usual, this suspension walkaround starts with the wheels off. Let's see what the last year of the 997 edition of the Porsche 911 looks like underneath.
Up front, the 2011 911 GTS rides on a MacPherson strut. No surprise there.
Like the newer 2012 991-platform 911, Porsche's 997-platform employs an aluminum knuckle (yellow) that clamps to the bottom of the strut. The tie rod (white) pokes through a hole in some plastic ductwork as it makes its way out from the front-mounted steering rack.
This piece of plastic is very important as far as brake cooling is concerned.
Like the all-new 2012, this 2011 911 uses a two-piece lower control arm comprised of two links that are bolted together.
Here's another view of the same thing.
The stabilizer bar loops over the top of the lower control arm, but the link it meets up with (yellow) is nothing like the sort of active device we saw fitted to the 2012 911 Carrera S.
There's still a height sensor and tiny linkage attached to it (white) though.
Unlike the 2012 911, the 997-based 2011 Porsche 911 uses a short but wide coil spring that sits above the tire. The new 991 design employs a longer coil over that sneaks behind the tire.
Smaller 4-piston fixed calipers do the work in front, and the drilled rotors they squeeze are 13.0 inches in diameter, just 0.4 inches smaller than the 2012 Carrera.
The open window design of the 4-piston calipers does make it easy for those who change pads themselves; pull a single pin and they'll slip right out.
The rear end of the 2011 Porsche 911 GTS is where the big differences between the 997 and 991 platforms can be found.
Two upper links approximate an upper control arm, but there's no sign of the forward-placed toe-link we saw in the 2012 Carrera S.
Here the toe link is mounted low down and behind.
Like the front, the fore-aft and lateral location of the lower ball joint is handled by a two-piece lower control arm (white) made up of of two links that are bolted together. Meanwhile, the toe link (yellow) imparts a dash of roll understeer as it swings through a longer arc.
The coil-over shock (white) and the stabilizer bar (yellow) operate at a 1-to-1 motion ratio because it's all bolted to a rhino-horn of a protrusion that's part of the rear suspension knuckle. Camber is adjusted via an eccentric cam on the inner end of the lower control arm. The same is true of toe-in at the inner end of the toe-link, but we can't quite see the cam in this relatively tight shot.
I don't remember seeing rubber bushings (white) between the subframe and body of the 2012 Porsche 911, however small.
The two-piece rear lower control arm is easier to see here even though it, too, is partially encased in plastic ductwork that's aimed at the 4-piston fixed calipers and 13-inch rear rotors.
A NACA duct (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) built into the floor of the car diverts air to that rear brake ductwork.
The upper end of the coil over mounts to the unibody; the top mount contains the urethane bump stop.
Mounted on 8.5-inch wide forged alloy wheels, the 235/35R19 front tire assemblies weigh 45.5 pounds apiece. The rears, comprised of 305/30R19 rubber and 11-inch rims, weigh 10 pounds more.
There may be but five pins, but center lock wheels have three times that many holes for them to line up with, meaning you're never more than 12 degrees one way or the other from where you need to be -- far less if you factor in the taper on the nose of the pins.