2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S Coupe (3.8L 6-cyl. RWD w/opt. 7-speed Automated Manual)
Driven On 1/31/2012
This rating has been carried forward from a prior year because the newer model has no substantial differences.
Considered by many to be the sweet spot in the Porsche 911 spectrum, the Carrera S, especially with the magical PDK automated transmission, is equal parts legend and stark reality check for those who doubt its abilities. Porschephiles need not worry. This evolution was necessary and still worthy of your admiration.
PerformanceThe 911 Carrera S proudly carries on the Porsche tradition of combining supercar acceleration with world-class handling and brakes.
With just shy of 400 hp, the latest 911 gets to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds. For even more quickness, opt for the PDK automated manual.
Tremendously powerful and fade-free brakes also have become a trademark of the Porsche 911.
Those critical of the new electric-assist system are correct in that it doesn't offer the same delicate feel as before, yet it remains ultra-precise.
Debate all you want about feel or tradition, there's no denying the pure capability of the 911. Our track tests validate its rightful place at the top of its class.
Despite its world-class capabilities, the 911 remains a very comfortable daily driver with its friction-free steering and intuitive throttle and brake calibrations. Opt for PDK.
ComfortExceptionally well-contoured seats, adaptive suspension and a sleek shape combine to give the Porsche 911 comfort uncommon in the sports car realm.
There are several choices of increasing sportiness, but all seats are exceptionally comfortable, supportive and adjustable (some are optionally heated with active bolsters).
The Carrera S's 2-mode driver-selectable ride management could provide more variability in ride smoothness, but the controlled ride is almost always agreeable nonetheless.
One thing the 911 is not is quiet, and perhaps that's part of its allure. Wind noise is suitably hushed, but engine's song and road noise sometimes grow tiresome.
InteriorThough exterior dimensions are larger, you'll appreciate the intimate cockpit feel inside. It accommodates tall drivers, yet a larger center stack and console between the seats take up any extra room.
The trademark driving position is spot on. The user interface has been greatly improved with a layout and presentation based on the Panamera sedan.
With the exception of the rear jump-seats, getting in and out of the 911 is typical of any sport coupe with a low seat height.
Actual interior volume has not changed much, but the new center console compromises the traditional open feel of the 911 cockpit.
Tidy dimensions, sloping front trunk and slender pillars, so visibility is extra good. The only worries are scraping the nose on a driveway or the expensive wheels on curbs.
Luggage space up front is deep but small (4.8 cu-ft), and folded rear jump-seats mean enough area for soft luggage and that's it.
ValueAt about $15K more than a base 911, the Carrera S offers noticeable performance gains, essentially equal fuel economy, and a little more cachet for those in the know.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Even in the world of expensive sports cars, the Porsche 911's build quality is one of its standout features; better than expected even at this price.
Porsche is notorious for its very long list of options, and the price can add up very quickly. The upside is that each example can be a singular expression of its owner.
Considering that this sub-$100K sports car is often in the company of similarly capable sports cars costing twice as much, we'd say it's a fair price.
Rated by the EPA at 22 mpg Combined (19 City/26 Hwy). Finding another 400-hp sports car that matches this is a challenge.
A basic 4-year/50,000-mile warranty extends to powertrain and roadside assistance. There are better warranties, but not many in the world of high-performance sports cars.
There are few cars in the world with the Porsche 911's tradition, racing pedigree, rewarding dynamics, style and quality.
Fun To DriveWe're reluctant to say the dynamics of this latest 911 are "pure 911." It's still an exceptionally rewarding machine to drive in nearly every way, just a little slicker than before.
It's hard to improve a car with a tradition of excellence that goes back 50 years. You feel every minute of history in this 911.
A powerful engine, delicately precise steering and unflappable brakes take precedence over flashy gizmos.