2001 Porsche 911 Review
Pros & Cons
- Finely honed sports car abilities, available in all-wheel-drive, convertible, and turbo forms, legendary prestige.
- Looks too much like a Porsche Boxster, engine layout attempts to fight the laws of physics.
Edmunds' Expert Review
The 2001 Porsche 911 is a great sports car that deserves more of a stylistic difference from its less costly sibling, the Boxster.
The Porsche 911 continues to be one of the world's top sports cars. Porsche has the uncanny ability to build a car that has stunning performance (zero-60 in under 4 seconds for Turbo models), legendary mystique (what 13-year-old boy doesn't dream of owning a 911?) and real-world functionality (a useable interior and optional all-wheel drive).
Back in 1999, the 911 underwent its first "clean-sheet" redesign since its introduction in 1965. Longer, wider and sleeker than any previous 911, the newest version nevertheless maintains the unmistakable 911 profile and classic styling cues. There are currently five models: the Carrera Coupe and Carrera Cabriolet, the all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 Coupe and Carrera 4 Cabriolet, and the new-for-2001 911 Turbo.
Like all previous 911s, the current models feature a rear-mounted, horizontally- opposed six-cylinder engine. Serious Porsche enthusiasts cried foul when Porsche announced the engine would be water-cooled rather than air-cooled. But it's hard to argue with the results. The all-aluminum 3.4-liter engine generates 300 horsepower and 258 foot-pounds of torque. In the Turbo model the engine grows to 3.6-liters, features twin turbochargers, and generates 415 horsepower and 413 foot-pounds of torque.
Porsche offers the choice of either a six-speed manual or a five-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission on all models, including the Turbo (this is the first time an automatic has been available on the 911 Turbo since that model was introduced in 1974). The Tiptronic S allows drivers the option to manually select transmission gears via steering wheel-mounted thumb switches. The Tiptronic's manual mode can be activated by using the thumb switches, even if the shift lever is in the "D" position.
To keep the chassis under control, Porsche's 911 gets an independent suspension that uses an optimizedMacPherson strut design in front and a multilink setup in the rear. The standard 17-inch wheels come with205/50ZR17 tires in front and 255/40ZR17 tires in back. An optional 18-inch wheel/tire package (standard on Turbo models) enhances both looks and performance.
For ultimate traction, there's the all-wheel-drive system found on Carrera 4 and Turbo models. This system can direct torque to the front wheels at a rate of 5 to-40 percent, depending on available traction and power applied. Carrera 4s and Turbo's also receive Porsche Stability Management system (PSM) as standard equipment (optional on Carreras).
In the 911 coupes, the rear seatbacks fold down to create a flat cargo floor. The one-touch power soft top on the Cabriolet models folds compactly in a compartment behind the rear seats. A standard hardtop cover fits flush against the body with the roof lowered.
What's not to like? Well, the 911 has the unfortunate problem of sharing very similar front-end looks with its smaller brother, the Boxster. For a $15,000 premium, it'd be nice not to be confused with a lesser car. And with MSRPs ranging from the mid 60's to $120,000, the Porsche heritage still includes sapping a big bundle of cash out of your wallet.