Thursday, January 31, 2013
Porsche 911 Carrera
We thought it was a typo when we first saw it in a report from our German correspondent more than a year ago. But he was accurate, as is his way: The Porsche 911 would be, and now is, offered with a seven-speed manual transmission. Seven speeds! A veritable embarrassment of forward gears! So many gears, in fact, that Porsche put an indicator in the tachometer so you don’t get lost.
So, for those times when you would like to drive your Porsche not at all like a Porsche—just locked in overdrive and trundling along on the highway—you will get better fuel economy. In seventh gear, with the shift lever listing heavily to the right, the Carrera feels sedated. To keep on top of the ebb and flow of highway traffic, we typically left the car in sixth, the gear in which it reaches its 182-mph top speed.
True, the electric steering filters away some of the feel of earlier 911 helms, but it also eliminates occasionally extraneous pavement feedback. Pile on some revs, and that characteristic hard-shelled thrum of ?the 350-hp flat-six still thrills. And the grip is just tremendous. The new car hangs on the skidpad more tenaciously, stops shorter from 70 mph, and gives up only a tenth of a second in 0-to-60 and quarter-mile times to the 408-hp 2011 Carrera GTS with its bigger engine.
The 911 Carrera coupe, with the seven-speed manual, runs ?to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. The Boxster S, powered by a 315-hp version of the same 3.4-liter engine, ran it in 4.4 seconds. More remarkable, they both clock 12.9 seconds at 111 mph through the quarter-mile. Even up to 150 mph, the 911 pulls ahead of its little brother by only 1.2 seconds.