2012 Porsche 911 Unveiled Ahead of 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show

2012 Porsche 911 Unveiled Ahead of 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show

2011 Frankfurt Auto Show

2011 Frankfurt Auto Show

Just the Facts:
  • Porsche releases official photos of its 2012 911.
  • The new 911 is distinguished by larger LED headlamps fitted with new internal graphics and more pronounced front fenders housing a wider front track.
  • Gearbox choices include a seven-speed manual, the first time one has ever offered one on a road-going production car.

STUTTGART, Germany — Forty-eight years after the original first greeted the public back in 1963, Porsche has revealed its new 911 — the 991 as it is code-named. These are the first official photographs ahead of a planned unveiling at next month's 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show.

The rear-wheel-drive Carrera and Carrera S get things under way in February of 2012 with base prices of $82,100 and $96,400, respectively. The remainder of the new 911 range is then planned to begin rolling out in 2012, beginning with the four-wheel-drive Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S, followed shortly afterwards by the Carrera cabriolet and Carrera S cabriolet.

From the front, the new 911 is distinguished by larger LED headlamps fitted with new internal graphics and more pronounced front fenders housing a wider front track. It also receives a longer hood and an altered front apron with larger air ducts for more efficient cooling. Down the sides there are larger exterior mirrors mounted on the doors rather than within the blanked-off area in front of the side windows, and added sculpturing to the area beneath the doors. The rear gets new LED taillamps that wrap farther around in the sides than before and a heavily revised rear wing that is claimed to provide added levels of downforce. Despite the evolutionary approach to the styling, the new car looks more contemporary than ever before.

Porsche is yet to provide full details of the dimensions of the new 911. However, insiders describe the new car as being longer, wider and lower than the old model, the 997 launched back in 2004. The added length is achieved partly through an extension of the wheelbase, which officially grows by 3.9 inches to 96.5 inches.

Eschewing aluminum space frame and carbon-fiber monocoque processes, the 911 continues to use a conventional unitary body construction. But in an effort to shed weight, Porsche has provided the new model with a body shell fabricated partly from aluminum and steel in place of the all-steel structure used up until now. Together with other as-yet-unspecified weight-saving measures, it is claimed to contribute to a reduction of up to 99 pounds on a model-for-model basis.

As with the outgoing model, the new 911 comes with the choice of two naturally aspirated horizontally opposed six-cylinder engines. They include a new 3.4-liter base unit, as seen in the Boxster S and Cayman S in a lower state of tune, to replace the older 3.6-liter engine. Despite its lower swept volume, the new engine endows the Carrera with an additional 4 horsepower, producing 345 hp at 6,400 rpm. The Carrera S continues to run a 3.8-liter engine; however, modifications made to its induction system bring an extra 15 hp, with 394 hp arriving at 7,000 rpm.

Gearbox choices include a new seven-speed manual — the first time such a unit has been offered on a road-going production car. Also available from the start of North American sales will be a lightly reworked version of the optional seven-speed PDK (double-clutch) gearbox offered in the outgoing 911. Both units support contemporary fuel-saving features such as automatic stop/start and regenerative braking. The PDK gearbox also receives what Porsche describes as a sailing function. It opens the clutches when the driver backs away from the accelerator to allow the new 911 to coast along without any drag from the engine or gearbox on a trailing throttle.

Straight-line performance has also been improved, albeit minimally. Porsche claims a 0-62-mph time of 4.4 seconds for the Carrera equipped with the PDK gearbox and Sports Chrono package. With the same options, the more powerful Carrera S is said to get down to 4.1 seconds for the benchmark sprint. Top speed for the standard Carrera is 179 mph while the Carrera S tops out at 188 mph.

Together with the increase in the wheelbase, Porsche has brought other changes to the 911's chassis. Included is a lengthening of the front track and a revised rear multilink suspension. As part of efforts to reduce fuel consumption, it also adopts a new electromechanical steering system. The new Carrera S can also be ordered with a new active roll stabilization device called Porsche Active Chassis Control (PACC).

The 911 is the first in a wave of new models Porsche boss, Mathias Muller, expects to take Porsche's annual sales to over 200,000 worldwide by the middle of the decade. Within the next 12 months, the German carmaker also plans to present the third-generation Boxster and second-generation Cayman — both of which share their front end architecture with the new 911.

Edmunds.com says: Like every new 911 before it, the 991 is an evolutionary step that introduces new technology and improved performance without leaving behind the styling that made it a legend.

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