Pros and Cons of the 3.4-Liter Engine - 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet Long-Term Road Test

2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet Long-Term Road Test

2013 Porsche 911 Carrera: Pros and Cons of the 3.4-Liter Engine

November 13, 2013

2013 Porsche 911 Carrera

We've posted updates on our 2013 Porsche 911's performance previously. In our track testing, the car accelerated from zero to 60 mph in a quite respectable 4.7 seconds. Even better than that is the way the 3.4-liter flat-6 sounds as it sings towards redline. It's just awesome and pleasingly unique.

But I could also see where the 911's real-world performance would leave somebody wanting.

The reality is that the 4.7-second 0-60 time is under track conditions using launch control. In more normal driving, you're looking at a nearly 3,400-pound car with high power peaks: 350 hp at 7,400 rpm and 287 lb-ft of torque at 5,600 rpm.

In contrast, almost all competing sports cars or coupes these days have big-displacement engines or turbocharging or supercharging. The Corvette Stingray is at 460 hp at 6,000 rpm and 465 lb-ft at 4,600 rpm (with the optional exhaust). The Jaguar F-Type V8 S churns out 495 hp at 6,500 rpm and 460 lb-ft at 2,500 rpm. The upcoming BMW M4 is expected to offer at least 369 lb-ft of torque starting at 1,500 rpm.

Now, throwing around numbers like that is largely just bench racing. But there's no denying that the 911 Carrera represents classic, naturally aspirated sports car performance. You can't just gently roll on the throttle to make quick passes like you can in those other high-end sports cars. You've got to make some downshifts and be pretty high in the rpm range to get maximum effect.

Of course, if it's torque you want, Porsche will gladly sell you a 911 Turbo. But for the potential Carrera convertible buyer, I think he or she should know that there are pros and cons to the way this car makes it power.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor


  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    A high revving naturally aspirated engine that sings to redline is the only kind of engine that belongs in a sports car.

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    I realiz rhe Porsche is an expensive car, but even in this price range a sub 5 second 0-60 should qualify as more than just 'respectible'

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    I agree with Brent. People buy hp but they drive torque. Plenty of FA engines that sing to redline now and more coming down the pike all the time.

  • mfennell mfennell Posts:

    FA? Fully Aspirated? :) Porsche overgeared it for MPG (0.617:1 top gear w/3.55:1 final drive) IMHO. That "high torque" C7 is geared to tepidness too, isn't it? 1700rpm@80mph! Meanwhile, my 360 has almost identical peak torque to the 3.4 in the Carrera but it's geared (0:85:1 6th, 4.44:1 rear) for 3750rpm@80mph, 1000rpm shy of torque peak. It accelerates adequately in top gear though fuel economy is nothing to write home about.

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    +1 duck87

  • cjasis cjasis Posts:

    There are no con's to this engine. It's a wonderful engine and only lacking in torque due to unreasonably high expectations set by other, really good engines in the marketplace. I'd still buy the Carrera S but even that is down on torque when compared to the C7 and others.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    mfennell: Don't forget that we're now in the age of 7-speed manuals and 8-speed automatics, where those last couple of gears are just low-ratio highway eaters. Unless I'm mistaken, the Z51 7-speed C7 is similar, if a little less aggressively geared, to your 360. In fact, your sixth @0.85:1 is pretty similar to the corvette's fifth @0.84:1. The last two are of course geared for hyper milling @0.56:1 and 0.42:1 respectively. The first two in your 360 are surprisingly high by the way, but that's probably because of the (relatively) low torque. Just an excuse to make her scream right?

  • dunning15 dunning15 Posts:

    Ridiculous. Edmund's own 2013 Tesla Model S will absolutely smoke that little Porsche. Since when does a company with a 100 year history of racing and German Performance Engines get its butt kicked by some four-door 4500lb electric car created in a software lab in the Bay Area? Pony up, Porsche.

  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    i'm with Mfenell horsepower and weight is one thing but when you have a car the is not geared like a street car that is a whole different experience. my most recent example i can think of is the fiat 500 abarth you was right on the power no waiting it's top speed is only 140 but in a car that small going 90 is almost a white knucke expereince and it was still pulling strong so i believe it could make it. i put slightly smaller diameter tires on my truck a long time ago and it was like i had tons more torque out of the hole all of the sudden.

  • mfennell mfennell Posts:

    @quadricycle: Yep, absolutely! :) 8500rpm means those short gears can still get to reasonable speeds. I love the way it's geared - you can spin through 3 gears with a reasonable expectation of staying out of jail and there are no big we-gotta-hit-CAFE

  • Ok , so it needs to drop down a few gears to get max overtaking thrust. But doesn't the gear box in this car do that automatically when you floor it? The ones i have driven react almost instantaneously to your twitchy foot. In a very very good way. So this post entry really is about reading spec sheets, not actually driving the car. Floor it in this car and it freakin flies.

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