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Old 11-10-2011, 02:52 PM   #1
Car&Driver
Car and Driver
 
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Info Porsche 911 Generations: The Legend Grows

The rear-engined Porsche 911’s iconic silhouette is among the most recognizable shapes in the industry, having changed very little as the car has grown over its 40-plus-year history. On the occasion of our first drive of the latest 911—dubbed 991 in Porsche-speak—we take a look at how the car has evolved over the years. Unless otherwise noted, all specifications and test results are for the base 911.
Years: 1965–1989
Wheelbase: 87.0 in (1965–1968); 89.3 in (1968–1989)
Overall length: 168.9 in
Power: 130 hp (1965); 214 hp (1989)
Price: $6490 (1965); $51,770 (1988)
Weight, as tested: 2720 lb (1965); 2760 lb (1984)
Zero to 60 mph, as tested: 7.0 sec (April 1965); 5.3 sec (February 1984, Carrera)
The 911 begins: Considered by the factory as a replacement not for the 356 (alongside which it was sold for a year or so) but for the more expensive and complicated Carrera 2, the 1965 911 established the basic foundation upon which successive generations would build: a rear-mounted, air-cooled flat-six; a comfortable cabin for pilot and passenger with vestigial seats in the rear; a five-speed manual gearbox; and disc brakes all around. And the ignition always to the left of the steering wheel—the unorthodox key placement was originally chosen to aid drivers’ getaways during the Le Mans start.




“No contest. This is the Porsche to end all Porsches—or, rather, to start a whole new generation of Porsches. Porsche’s new 911 model is unquestionably the finest Porsche ever built. More than that, it’s one of the best Gran Turismo cars in the world, certainly among the top three or four.”–April 1965
“More than any other factory-fresh car available here today, the Porsche 911 Carrera is the absolute embodiment of clench-jawed, tight-fisted, slit-eyed enthusiasm run amok, a car for making the landscape pass with explosive fluidity.”–February 1984
Years: 1990–1994
Wheelbase: 89.4 in
Overall length: 168.3 in
Power: 247 hp (1990–1994)
Price: $58,500 (1990); $65,715 (1994)
Weight, as tested: 3050 lb (1990); 2980 lb (1993 Speedster)
Zero to 60 mph, as tested: 4.8 sec (January 1990); 4.6 sec (November 1992, 911RS America)
Notable advancements: Rear suspension switches from torsion bar to trailing arms with Porsche’s “Weissach” rear axle, which adds self-steering elements to reduce the chance of oversteer; dual front airbags; Tiptronic four-speed automatic transmission; dual-mass flywheel; ABS; power steering; retractable rear spoiler; twin-spark ignition. Carrera 4 is first and last series Porsche with fully mechanical all-wheel drive.




“The Carrera 2 is the newest generation of the age-old 911 concept, and it may just be the most exciting yet. Not only does it build on the traditional appeal of the 911, but it is faster, gutsier, more stable, and more satisfying. The Carrera 2 has all the unmistakable 911 flair and style—without all of the old car’s vices.”–January 1990
“The 911RS is a car that lives on the margin: incrementally upping the level of driving intensity can profoundly change the car’s attitude and bearing. Up to six- or seven-tenths, it’s your benign escort; at eight you’d better be ready to boogie. And have a clear head and a recently calibrated internal gyro.”–November 1992
Years: 1995–1998
Wheelbase: 89.4 in
Overall length: 168.3 in (1995–1996); 167.7 in (1997–1998)
Power: 270 hp (1995); 282 hp (1998)
Price: $63,433 (1995); $63,750 (1998)
Weight, as tested: 3080 lb (1995); 3116 lb (1998 Carrera S)
Zero to 60 mph, as tested: 4.7 sec (June 1994); 4.9 sec (September 1997, Carrera S)
Notable advancements: All-aluminum multilink rear suspension and an all-aluminum subframe, standard six-speed manual, engine weight reduced by 14 pounds, and body-structure rigidity increased by 20 percent. New all-wheel-drive system based on 959’s setup with a viscous coupling replaces the center differential of the previous gen’s setup. New Tiptronic S for 1995 with steering-wheel-mounted buttons.




“The 1995 Carrera is the finest example of the 911 ever created…For three decades now, refinement and incremental improvement have continued to update the car, and bought time for the concept (against all odds, sometimes).”–June 1994.
“It’s maybe the nearest thing to the visceral sensation of road racing in a car that can be driven legally (and reliably) on the street, something Porsche has come through with every model year since 1965 when the first 911 model, powered by a 130-horse, 2.0-liter flat-six engine, first appeared in the U.S.”–September 1997.
Years: 1999–2004
Wheelbase: 92.5 in
Overall length: 174.4 in
Power: 300 hp (1999); 315 hp (2004)
Price: $65,030 (1999); $68,760 (2004)
Weight, as tested: 2900 lb (1999)
Zero to 60 mph, as tested: 4.7 sec (January 1998); 5.5 sec (July 2001, Carrera cabriolet Tiptronic S)
Notable advancements: First truly all-new 911, sharing no body panels, no underbody structure and no major mechanical components with previous 911s. First water-cooled 911 engine with four valves per cylinder and variable valve timing, integrated dry-sump oiling, new variable resistance intake system, new cable shift linkage, and redesigned interior with more passenger volume. Engine displacement increased from 3.4 liters to 3.6 in 2001, incorporating VarioCam Plus (variable valve timing and lift) from the Turbo model.




“In the year to come, Porschephiles and other hard-core auto enthusiasts will be Balkanized into two factions: those who pine for the original 911, and those who embrace the new one.”–January 1998
“In the final analysis, most enthusiasts will agree that having a new 911 that looks like a 911, seats only two adults, (kids only in back), and has the engine in back is better than having no 911 at all. And even if the new car is a less tactile grand tourer, can we really argue against a bigger, more comfortable, but similarly priced GT that outperforms its purebred sports-car forebear in every objective contest? Not really. The 911 is dead. Long live the 911!”–Ibid.
Years: 2005–2011
Wheelbase: 92.5 in
Overall length: 175.6 in
Power: 321 hp (2005); 345 hp (2011)
Price: $70,065 (2005); $79,950 (2011)
Weight, as tested: 3253 lb (2005); 3320 lb (2009)
Zero to 60 mph, as tested: 4.3 sec (December 2005); 4.1 sec (February 2009, Carrera PDK)
Notable advancements: Engines with two displacements for first time since 1977: 321-hp, 3.6-liter for the base Carrera and 350-hp, 3.8-liter for the Carrera S. For 2009, both 3.6-liter and 3.8-liter engines receive direct injection; new PDK dual-clutch seven-speed transmission replaces Tiptronic S automatic.




“The 911 Carrera is now faster, more stable, more precise and forgiving, an altogether superior—make that more efficient—sports car than the 996. Still, we suspect this anesthetizing of traditional Porsche traits—flaws, if you must—will be missed by some obsessive 911 drivers.”–August 2004
“Every new 911 is a solid dose of Porsche tradition. You want to connect with the past? Plug yourself into one of these rear-engine babies. Tire noise, a stiff ride, tightly wound steering; the 911 is for folks who still want to touch the road, get their hands dirty, and work up a farmer’s sweat.” –February 2009
Years: 2012–
Wheelbase: 96.5 in
Overall length: 176.8 in
Power: 350 hp
Price (C/D est): $83,050
Weight (C/D est): 3250-3350 lb
Zero to 60 mph (C/D est): 3.8-4.0 sec
Notable advancements: The 991 features a smaller, yet more powerful, 3.4-liter engine along with the world’s first seven-speed manual transmission in a passenger car. Engine also incorporates auto stop/start, and PDK transmission has a “sail” mode for improved fuel economy. Longer wheelbase said to improve high-speed stability. Redesigned suspension and new rear axle for enhanced ride and handling. Porsche Torque Vectoring improves tracking stability. New electric power steering helps save fuel.
For more on the latest 911, read our first drive.


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