2013 Porsche 911 Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor
December 11, 2012

Still a tremendous value, the 2013 Porsche 911 range offers a great balance between dedicated sports car handling and daily practicality.

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.

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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.

10

2013 Porsche 911

Styling

Still a tremendous value, the 2013 Porsche 911 range offers a great balance between dedicated sports car handling and daily practicality.

Still without doubt a Porsche 911 at first glance, the styling of the latest model is very different from its predecessor--just subtly so.

A wider front track balances out the front-rear proportions, and the longer wheelbase helps stretch the car's lines into more elegant arches and curves. A low, sloped nose, rising front fenders capped by round-ish headlights, and the fastback coupe profile all say "911," despite the changes. All four of the new 991-based variants are also available in Cabriolet (convertible) form as well.

Inside, the 2013 Porsche 911 carries off an adaptation of the Panamera's cabin with equal if not greater skill; though the center console is perhaps a bit button-heavy, it's much sleeker and more intuitive than the Panamera's own, while the dash, steering wheel, and other details fit perfectly with the 911's sporting aptitude and daily-driver comfort.

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2013 Porsche 911

Performance

Fast, composed, and simply fun-to-drive, the 2013 Porsche 911 sets the standard for the segment.

The Carrera, Carrera S, and their all-wheel drive Carrera 4 variants are the only models updated to the new 991 basis thus far--the Turbo, GT3, and other variants are yet to come.

For 2013, the major mechanical updates are limited to the addition of the all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 and 4S.

The base engine, found in the Carrera and Carrera 4, is a 3.4-liter flat six that packs 350 horsepower thanks to direct injection and a free-revving nature. The Carrera S and 4S get a 3.8-liter six good for 400 horsepower. Either engine can be paired with either the seven-speed manual or the PDK transmission. With the PDK, the Carrera gets to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds, while the Carrera S does it in 4.3 seconds; Carrera 4 models eke out 60 mph in as little as 4.5 seconds, and the C4S does it in 4.3 seconds. Cabriolet models add about 0.2 seconds to those times.

The new 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 adds all-wheel drive to the mix, and along the way, picks up rear fenders that are 1.7 inches wider, to better house the larger wheels and tires equipped. The resulting increase in track width should add even more stability to the all-wheel drive models.

Add the Sport Chrono package, which adds launch control, and you take 0.2 seconds off each car's 0-60 mph run. Top speeds clock in at 179 mph and 188 mph respectively for base and S models, while Carrera 4 and 4S models top out at 177 and 185 mph.

The PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) system, optional on base and standard on S models, offers dynamic suspension response to the road and driving conditions through a series of settings from Comfort to Sport Plus.

Porsche's advanced Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) is also available on the S models. The PDCC system adjusts the car's roll stiffness through the use of anti-roll bars. The Sport Chrono package is also available on the base Carrera--and as the name indicates, a key element of the package is a stopwatch on the dash that ties into the car's computer to enable lap timing and other functions.

In every 911, handling is almost unassailable. Gone are the days of the 911's vicious end-swapping reputation (earned in its early days by its rear-mounted engine placement). In its place, the 911 has developed a stability and balance that any sports car would envy. Nimble, easy to place on the road, brisk in acceleration, and phenomenal on the brakes, the 911 is almost the perfect package. We say almost only because of the electronic power steering system, which while the best of the EPS implementations to date, still doesn't match the feel we're used to from hydraulic power steering.

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8

2013 Porsche 911

Comfort & Quality

Fantastic fit and finish, excellent materials, and ample features make the 2013 Porsche 911 a no-compromises sports car.

With leather seats, across the dash, and many other places in the cabin, the 2013 Porsche 911 feels and looks more like a typical luxury sedan than a bare-bones sports car.

Adding to the elegant feel, aluminum accents highlight key design elements, while most of the controls and functions are delegated to high-quality plastic switchgear.

The front seats are comfortable and easy to get into. Available sport seats add more bolstering and hard-driving support while still suiting a wide range of body types. Rear-seat leg room is minimal to non-existent, however, especially if the front-seat occupants are on the taller end of the spectrum.

Inside the cabin, there's not very much storage space--unless you re-purpose the rear seats--but it's about on on par for the sport coupe class.

Located in the front, the trunk is spacious and deeper than you might expect. There's room enough for a pair of weekend bags or a few days' groceries, helping to keep the 911's reputation as one of the most daily-life-friendly sports cars.

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8

2013 Porsche 911

Safety

Without crash test scores, the 2013 Porsche 911 is something of an unknown quantity, but great handling and smart electronic safety systems should help keep drivers safe.

Who wants to crash a brand-new 911? Exactly--no one, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

It's common for expensive sports cars to miss out on official crash testing, but the 2013 Porsche 911 offers a range of electronic safety features to help assuage worried shoppers. Porsche Stability Management (PSM) is the brand's name for its stability and traction control systems, which can vary their level of assistance depending on the driving mode chosen, though all levels function to help keep the car pointed along the path the driver intends.

New for 2013 is a standard (on PDK-equipped models) adaptive cruise control system that uses front-looking radar to maintain distance from traffic. Even when not in use, the radar can spot road obstacles or other hazards and prime the braking system to improve stopping distances.

Porsche Side Impact Protection (POSIP) adds thorax airbags, an upward-inflating airbag in the door panel, and reinforcements in the doors to help minimize injury in a side-impact situation.

The 911's innate handling and braking capability also help drivers avoid road obstacles or other cars, and with optional ceramic composite brakes, the high-speed stopping ability of the 2013 Porsche 911 is enhanced even further.

As with most modern cars, the 911's aluminum and steel body is designed to help shield occupants while dispersing the energy of a crash.

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2013 Porsche 911

Features

Even without any add-ons, the 2013 Porsche 911 is well equipped; pile on the extras, and you'd better keep a sharp eye on the price.

As you might expect with an $80,000-and-up price tag, the 2013 Porsche 911 is well-equipped in all forms. If you'd like to make your 911 special, however, there are plenty of optional extras--for a price.

For 2013, Porsche adds a new adaptive cruise control system for PDK-equipped models, front-end collision avoidance, and a panoramic sliding glass sunroof.

Standard equipment includes Porsche's infotainment system, known as Porsche Communication Management, which combines audio, navigation, and phone-integration functions; a seven-inch touchscreen interface; DVD/CD/MP3 audio; and more. The standard stereo can be upgraded with a six-disc CD/DVD changer, and there are, of course, many available variations on hue, material, and other interior options.

A Burmester surround-sound system is available as an upgrade, and it sounds fantastic. With the Burmester, you'll get not just 12 channels pumping a total of 821 watts, including a 300-watt subwoofer, you'll get Air Motion Transformer tweeters and some of the best sound we've heard in a car. A Bose system is also available, though we'd pick the Burmester.

Keyless entry, USB, iPod interface, Bluetooth, and automatic two-zone climate control are also standard. A sliding/tilting sunroof is also available, as is the ParkAssist system with front and rear parking sensors and an overhead display of nearby obstacles.

Many more individual options are also available, though if you get too wild with the add-ons, the bottom line will quickly grow far beyond the $82,100 (Carrera) and $96,400 (Carrera S) base prices.

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7

2013 Porsche 911

Fuel Economy

At up to 28 mpg highway, the 2013 Porsche 911 proves you don't have to give up any consideration for gas mileage to get good performance.

The 2013 Porsche 911 isn't the most fuel-efficient car out there, but on the scale of fun-per-gallon, it's near the top.

Outfitted with a PDK transmission, the base Carrera is the most efficient offering, at 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway--very respectable figures for any daily driver. At the other end of the spectrum is the Carrera 4S with the seven-speed manual transmission, rated at 18/26 mpg. The other 991-based models fall somewhere between those bookends.

Of course, there are still 997 models being sold, and being based on older designs, as well as being the highest-performance variants, they are somewhat less fuel-efficient. The 911 Turbo S Cabriolet, for example, manages just 16 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.

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February 20, 2016
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Purchased new I am completely impressed with the styling, the performance, the fit and finish, the power and handling of the car, and the fuel economy. I am 6'4" tall and 230 lbs and the car is comfortable... + More »
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The new 991 model is an awesome racebred car that is also truly luxurious. The real fun is that it can drive easy and in a heartbeat unleash like the Hulk! I don't think I will ever be able to fully experience... + More »
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December 25, 2015
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Love the new roof line of the present cabriolets since 2013.
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July 16, 2015
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Couldn't be happier with my car.

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This is my 3rd Porsche, but my first 911. The previous models were a 89 928GT and a 93 928GTS. My inclination leans towards GT cruisers and I was hesitant about the 911. The things you can't tell from a short... + More »
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Styling 10
Performance 10
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety 8
Features 9
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