Crash-test standards are changing for the 2011 model year, but they're not likely to affect our opinion of the Porsche 911's safety.
Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have changed the way they rate cars after they crash-test them. For the 2011 model year, many new cars are missing their final safety ratings as the agencies figure out how old scores interpolate into new scores.
The 911 isn't the kind of car that typically gets crash-tested, in any case, because of its niche appeal and its rather large pricetag. Neither agency has tested the 911 -- but we're applying a high provisional rating because of Porsche's strong reputation for safety, and because of its long list of standard safety equipment.
Dual front, side, and curtain airbags are standard on the 2011 911; so is Porsche's excellent PSM stability control system, which can be tailored to allow more wheelspin for sporty driving. There's also anti-lock braking, and brake assists to boost the driver's inputs in emergency stopping, and to keep the brakes dry for optimal strength.
The 911 lacks some newfangled tech like lane-departure warning systems, backup cameras, and active cruise control. but the 911's available all-wheel drive get some credit, though it's not the kind of all-weather car you'd risk in heavy snow, not without Finnish-grade snow tires.
Visibility is acceptable on most 911 coupes and Cabrios, but a rearview camera would be a useful addition. The low seats and the out-of-sight rear corners make backing up a dicey task at times. Rear parking sensors are available, to help out with audible warnings.