The 2009 Porsche 911 arrives this September in the States, and for the first time Porsche's hallmark sportscar will offer a dual-clutch transmission--the type of semi-manual box that colleagues at Audi and Volkswagen have been installing in their cars for a few years.
While Porsche plays catch-up on gearboxes, it's pushing power and even fuel economy higher on the four new models in the 911 lineup--911 Carrera Coupe, 911 Carrera Cabriolet, 911 Carrera S Coupe, and 911 Carrera S Cabriolet. The standard cars still use a 3.6-liter flat six-cylinder engine with 345 horsepower, while the S versions carry on with a 3.8-liter six with 385 horsepower and a top speed of 188 mph, Porsche claims.
Direct injection on the engines helps improve fuel economy, as does the addition of the seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission, tagged by Porsche as the Porsche-Doppelkupplung (PDK). Pictured below, the PDK gearbox uses twin clutches and staged actuation to give smoother shifts and up to 13 percent better fuel economy across the lineup. It also replaces the Tiptronic transmission on these models, Porsche says. With the gearbox, the Carrera Coupe hits 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and the S in 4.3 seconds, about 0.2 second faster than with a manual six-speed transmission, Porsche promises. A Sport Chrono Plus package with a Launch Control feature that limits wheelspin can cut another 0.2 second from that time.
Among the minor mods for the 2009 Porsche 911 are bigger air intakes, LED driving lights, and bi-xenon headlamps. Porsche's touch-screen in-car controller is standard, while navigation, XM with NavTraffic, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity, and an auxiliary audio jack are available.