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Now in its second year of its seventh generation, the iconic Porsche 911 continues to build its legend. In almost every respect, the newest member of the family--known to insiders as the 991--is the best.
Almost four inches longer, two inches wider in front track, lighter, and yet still somehow very much a 911, the 2013 model looks and feels new while maintaining its classic proportions. At the front, LED lights and purposeful air inlets; at the rear, flared fenders over muscular haunches that wrap into a sleek LED-lit tail.
For 2013, a new trim level joins the range of 991-based 911s, adding the Carrera 4 and 4S to the Carrera and Carrera S launched for the 2012 model year. The new all-wheel-drive models share the same engine, transmission, and other specifications as the rear-drive Carreras, and the extra tractive power of the all-wheel drive system is balanced by the additional weight, resulting in very similar acceleration figures. Ranging from 350 horsepower (Carrera and Carrera 4) to 400 horsepower (Carrera S and 4S), the full 911 line hasn't yet been fleshed out to include the hyper-power Turbo and Turbo S or the track-refined GT3, but there's still some room for taste to impact the purchase decision. Don't worry, though, the rest of the 911 range, including Turbo, Turbo S, cabriolets, and more, is still available for purchase--but they're based on the older 997 platform.
Whichever drive system you choose, the base Carrera is powered by a 3.4-liter, 350-horsepower flat-six engine that can launch the car to 60 mph in the mid-four-second range. The Carrera S and 4S get a 400-horsepower, 3.8-liter engine of the same layout, able to cut the 0-60 mph run down to just a breath over four seconds--when equipped with the PDK transmission and Sport Chrono package.
The PDK transmission is a seven-speed dual-clutch affair that lets the driver glide easily in fully-automatic mode, or select their own shifts with the paddle shifters. Even on track, the PDK adapts remarkably well. For the purists, there's still a manual transmission offering, though it has grown to seven speeds. The additional top gear allows the 911 to cruise at low RPMs and high MPGs, while the remaining six gears function much like a traditional close-ratio setup.
Inside, the 2013 Porsche 911 is just as refined and daily driving friendly as the 2012 model was--in part because there have been no real changes. Head, leg, hip, and shoulder room are all very good in the front seats, with bolsters that hold you in place without making it hard to get in and out of the cabin. The rear seats are best used to seat children and as extra storage space, however--there's just not much room in any dimension.
Cargo room in general is quite good for the sports car class, however, thanks to the front trunk area.
Gas mileage is even quite tolerable in the new 911, ranging from 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway in the base Carrera with PDK to 18/26 mpg in the Carrera 4S with the seven-speed manual.
On the safety front, the 2013 Porsche 911 hasn't been crash-tested as yet, but with Porsche's reputation for engineering, as well as its advanced safety electronics on board, we expect it to perform well in a crash--though the 911's agile dynamics and excellent brakes may help you avoid crashes in the first place.
- Excellent performance
- Classic good looks in a modern skin
- Comfortable, quiet interior
- Good gas mileage for its class
- Day-to-day practicality
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- Electric power steering feel isn't quite 100%
- Rear seat is cramped