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The Next Porsche: 911 Heaven!

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On: Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 4:01PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

The Next Porsche: 911 Heaven!

Goodbye 997, hello 991. Although it may not look like much of a change from the outside—sure, there are LED running lights (who doesn't have them these days?), longer and narrower tail lights, and a gas tank flap relocated to the right front fender, big deal right? Those minor changes hardly call for the clamor of an entirely new model designation, right? Wrong. If you're an avid enthusiast, stare at the new 911 long enough and slowly but surely, your eyes will start to insist that there is something different about this Porsche from ones you have already committed to memory, and your eyes would be right.  

It seems that Porsche has realized that their latest sports car creation, the Cayman, actually has much better design DNA than their perennial all-star 911 which has been flawed by physics since its inception decades ago. Basically, having the engine sitting out over the rear axle makes the car extremely difficult to deal with on the track, or even just when it's being driven hard. Trying to compare a rear-biased 911 to a mid-engine sports car like the Cayman actually proves there really is no comparison. The Cayman has nearly perfect weight distribution and is so predictable its driver will feel like Miss Cleo. Why do we bring up the Cayman while mentioning the new 991, you ask? Well, because Porsche knows this, and they are slowly modifying the 911 to make it more of a mid-engine car than staunchly holding on to their past design. Now, thankfully they are changing the car ever-so-slightly so as not to incite a riot among the German faithful.

The new 991 has reduced weight hanging over the front and rear axles, thanks to a shift of said rear axle 3 inches back, a wheelbase increase of 4 inches and an overall length increase of 2 inches. Other big-yet-under-the-radar changes include a windshield that has been pushed forward and set at a more upright angle, which also serves to provide slightly more cabin room as well. What you can't see at all are the drivetrain changes that really set this 911 above and beyond all previous renditions. The engine we will get to in a second; the biggest news is the transmission. The choice of tranny is now either the seven-speed twin-clutch PDK or... get this... a seven-speed manual transmission. That's right, a seventh gear to shift into! Crazy! Not only will this provide just a bit more fun for drivers, it will also help fuel economy and acceleration, thanks to the ability to have shorter low-end gears for quick revving, and yet taller top-end gears for highway cruising.

Connected to that ground-breaking transmission is a new and smaller (!) engine. The flat-six stays, but actually drops from 3.6 liters down to 3.4 for the base model. But fear not, Porsche-o-philes, power actually goes up five ponies to 350 for the base, and the S model actually sticks with the 3.6-liter motor that makes an improved 400-horsepower (a gain of 15 horsepower over the outgoing 997). Both models will sport electric power steering as well as a very familiar MacPherson front/multilink rear suspension. Thanks to generous use of lighter materials, and Porsche keeping a keen eye on the scales, the new 991 actually weighs less than the car it replaces by 80 pounds.

Although actual figures have not been released yet, it should be safe to assume that with the 991 coming in lighter, with better gearing, better balance, and more power than the car it replaces, it should not be out of the realm of possibilities to see a 0-60 mph time of about 3.7 seconds, 0-100 mph in 8.9 seconds, and a quarter mile mark of 12.0 @ 116 mph for the new S model.

All in all, the 991 will be a better version of the 997 in just about every way possible. The styling will take a bit of getting used to, but something tells us that it will take only about 35 seconds behind the wheel to convince us everything is just fine. In fact, the only real bad news about the next 911 is that we are going to have to wait about six months before we start to see this heavenly car in Porsche's showrooms.

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Stephy21 | 9:51AM (Tue, Nov 1, 2011)

The new Porsche Looks the same as the 997 but from what i am reading they are definitely making some changes. I like that it seems like its going to handle better and have a 7th gear. Wow that should be fun to drive! Over all i think the 991 Porsche is gonna be a big hit!

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