Blistering performance; surprising practicality; available all-wheel drive.
Following minimal changes last year, Porsche's venerable 911 gets some significant mid-cycle updates for the 2009 Carrera, Carrera 4and Targa models.
Chief among them is the incorporation of PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplung), Porsche's new dual-clutch 7-speed automatic transmission, which replaces the long-reigning 5-speed Tiptronic system. Also new are the engines, now with direct fuel injection and significant boosts in horsepower across the range. The base Carrera 3.6L now delivers 345 horsepower, up from last year's 320, while the 3.8L Carrera S output jumps from 355 hp to 385. In the meantime, the powerplants are 13% more efficient, according to Porsche.
Improved suspension tuning allows for a sportier ride, and Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) is available on the optional sports suspension package. The base Carrera benefits from a new braking system as well, with larger front discs and improved cooling.
Exterior changes include subtle updates to the front bumper and side mirrors, standard bi-xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights and taillights. Interior improvements include an all-new entertainment and navigation system.
The 911 Turbo is largely unchanged for 2009 and retains Tiptronic S as its optional automatic transmission.
All of the 2009 Porsche 911 variants offer the performance to back up their seductive, classic shapes, with 0-60 times ranging from 5.0 seconds on non-S Carrera 4 and Targa 4 models to only 3.7 seconds on the Turbo. The 911 is also surprisingly practical for an exotic sports car, with fold-down rear seats to expand the cargo area, plus a second cargo area in front. All-wheel-drive models also offer great all-weather traction and can be driven year-round.
Porsche's family of rear-engine 911 sport cars is available in three power levels for 2009--standard, S, and Turbo--and in three body styles--Coupe, Targa, and Cabriolet.
The standard engine on the 911 is a new 345-horsepower, 3.6L horizontally opposed 6-cylinder. S models get a new 385-horsepower, 3.8L flat-6. Both engines benefit from direct fuel injection and are claimed by Porsche to be 13% more efficient. The Turbo is powered by a twin-intercooled, twin-turborcharged 3.6L flat-6 with variable turbine technology, churning out 480 horsepower.
A 6-speed manual gearbox is standard across the line, but Porsche's all-new dual-clutch 7-speed PDK automatic transmission is available on all but the Turbo models, which employ the optional "Tiptronic S" 5-speed system.
The unique Targa features a panoramic roof system that provides a completely open roof when desired, combined with the safety and convenience of a coupe for when the weather turns unpleasant. The Targa also has hatchback-style access to the cargo area with its pop-up back window and is the only 911 model with a separately opening lower tailgate. This body style is not available as a Turbo.
There are also several all-wheel-drive variants of the 911. The Carrera 4 and 4S Coupe and Cabriolet models, along with the Targa 4 and 4S, get larger wheels and tires and a widened track for a more aggressive appearance in addition to the all-wheel drive system, which can send between 5% and 40% of engine torque to the front wheels.
As standard equipment on Turbo models and available elsewhere in the line, the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system adjusts damper stiffness almost instantaneously for the driving conditions and works in conjunction with the stability control system.
Cabriolet models get a tight, three-layer soft top that can be opened or closed in about 20 seconds, plus pop-up rollover bars behind the rear seats for supplemental safety and a specially calibrated suspension.
The 911 comes equipped with many of the features that might be expected in a luxury coupe, such as automatic climate control, a 235-watt, 9-speaker sound system, power accessories, heated mirrors and windshield nozzles and a trip computer. Split-folding rear 2+2 seatbacks allow for an expanded cargo area, and there's also a substantial cargo area in front.
The options list is long, and includes various wheels and trim upgrades. Other highlights include the Sport Chrono Plus package, which brings a more aggressive throttle calibration and a built-in lap timer, as well a DVD-based navigation system.
Also available for 2009 is the 530-horsepower, limited-edition GT2, which brings a special race-car-inspired body and prominent rear wing, along with weight savings throughout for a top speed of 204 mph.
The track-oriented GT3 returns for 2009 and it is accompanied by the harder-edged GT3 RS. Both feature a 435-horsepower, non-turbocharged version of the 3.6L flat-six with a high 7,600-rpm redline. The GT3s are only offered with a 6-speed manual transmission with shorter gear ratios.
Vehicle Price: 77,095.00
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