Track Tested: 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S


2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S

An all-new Porsche 911 doesn't come around too often, so when one finally arrives we don't waste any time getting down to business with it. The minute we secured the keys to a 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S we headed straight to the test track to run numbers on the redesigned coupe.

Since it's a Carrera S, it features the 3.8-liter flat-6 tuned to produce 394 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. And since we're not big fans of automatics, we requested a 911 with one of Porsche's new seven-speed manual gearboxes. It won't run numbers as quick as a PDK-equipped car, but it has seven speeds; we had to try it. Later we'll get the automatic, which is the only way to get a 911 with launch control. For now, take a look at these numbers and see what you think. Is this 911 one for the ages?

Vehicle: 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S
Odometer: 4,593
Date: 11/20/11
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $104,935 (estimated)

Specifications:
Drive Type: Rear engine, rear-wheel-drive
Transmission Type: Seven-speed manual
Engine Type: DOHC, 3.8-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 3,800/232
Redline (rpm): 7,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 394 @ 7,400
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 325 @ 5,600
Brake Type (front): Ventilated 13.4-inch carbon-ceramic rotors, six-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): Ventilated disc 13-inch carbon-ceramic rotors, four-piston fixed calipers
Steering System: Electric-assist, speed-proportional rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Modified MacPherson strut, coil springs, electrically adjustable dampers, active stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Multilink, coil springs, electrically adjustable dampers, active stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 245/35ZR20 91Y
Tire Size (rear): 295/30ZR20 101Y
Tire Brand: Pirelli
Tire Model: P Zero Nero
Tire Type: Summer, asymmetrical
Wheel size: 20-by-8.5 inches front, 20-by-11 inches rear
Wheel material (front/rear): Aluminum alloy
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,277 (38.8% front/61.2% rear)

Test Results:

Acceleration:
0-30 (sec): 1.9 (2.2 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 3.0 (3.3 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 4.6 (5.0 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 4.4 (4.6 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 6.3 (6.5 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 12.7 @ 113.2 (13.0 @ 111.7 w/ TC on)

Braking:
30-0 (ft): 25
60-0 (ft): 102

Handling:
Slalom (mph): 71.3 (70.3 w/ ESC on)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 1.04 (1.03 w/ ESC on)

Sound:
Db @ Idle: 47.6
Db @ Full Throttle: 92.8
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 68.4
RPM @ 70 mph: 2,100

Tester's comments:

Acceleration: Biggest news here is that the 911 no longer produces its trademark axle-hopping launch. Instead, it merely hazed the rear tires and resisted bogging down the engine once the tires hooked up. Shifter feels a little vague in that I rarely trusted my 2-3 shift, yet it always went in. Tall gearing — needed 3rd for quarter-mile. (All runs done in Sport Plus mode with exhaust open.) Also felt some sort of shift-shock reduction with each upshift that wouldn't allow chirp. Shifts were smooth but slightly delayed.

Braking: Medium-firm pedal with moderate jump-in but amazing power and effectiveness toward the end of the stop. Very little dive (firm suspension setting), not wiggle, and distances grew shorter with some heat in the brakes. No fade at all.

Slalom: Quick turn-in but a small delay in yaw reaction. Tracks very true to steering input but requires a little patience for the chassis to catch up. Never felt threatening or apt to spin — even with drop-throttle. Had to be prudent with throttle at exit, but it sure feels like there's an LSD back there making sure all the power is used effectively.

Skid pad: One of a handful of cars that oversteers comfortably, confidently, precisely all the way around the circle. Steering weight comes and goes with front grip level, but the graininess/feel is no longer there. I could steer with the throttle all the way around.

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