Porsche 991 unveiled
After a few pictures leaked onto the web, Porsche has finally released official details of its new generation 911 ahead of its Frankfurt motor show debut. Codenamed 991, this is the sixth generation of the rear-engined classic, following the original air-cooled 911, 964 and 993, and the water-cooled 996 and 997. Strangely, it does not use the codename 998, but goes back to the unused 991, probably because the numbers are running out.
My first impression on the new car is a familiar design evolved further to a modern sports car profile. This is best illustrated by its side view: it looks longer, lower and slimmer. The tail is no longer a ducktail. It is positioned nearly as high as the tail on a mid-engined sports car, although a faster angle fastback largely hide this fact. Undoubtedly, the higher tail is deliberately introduced to reduce aerodynamic lift.
Tape measures found the 991 is a larger car again. At 4491 mm, it is 56 mm longer than 997. But more important is finally a wheelbase stretch, and it gains a considerable 100 mm to 2450 mm. This is the first boost of wheelbase since 996. The front and rear overhangs are actually reduced, so this is a more modern shape. The new body also gets 65 mm wider to 1873 mm. Nevertheless, its roof is lowered by 11 mm to 1299 mm.
Aerodynamic drag is unchanged at 0.29, still a remarkable figure for a sports car. Most important, Porsche claims aero lift is now reduced to nearly zero, both at front and rear. Like before, a rear spoiler normally recessed onto the tail will raise at higher speed. As the spoiler no longer sits between the taillights, it can get wider and more effective.
Fears about weight gain due to the larger dimensions is unfound, because the monocoque chassis is now made of a hybrid of steel and aluminum. Porsche said it cuts 45 kilograms, though no kerb weight figures have been revealed until now.
The chassis again rides on MacPherson struts up front and multi-link suspensions at the rear. Porsche said the front track has been widened, while the rear has all-new geometry to improve stability, something highly crucial for a rear-engined machine. PASM adaptive dampers are carried over.
A new feature is PDCC (Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control), or in our words "active anti-roll bars". Carried over from the Cayenne SUV, the system uses a hydraulic motor to swivel the two halfs of anti-roll bars either in the same direction (to harden the suspension) or in opposite direction (to soften the suspension), so to alter the resistance to body roll.
Another new feature is a pure electrical power steering. It is promised to deliver the tactile feel worth the name of Porsche. I can't wait to see whether the statement is true.
As before, there are two versions of regular 911s - Carrera and Carrera S. The former has its direct-injection flat-six reduced from 3.6 to 3.4 liters, but it manages to get a slight power boost of 5 hp to 350 hp, although its maximum torque of 280 lbft is down by 8 lbft.
The Carrera S remains at 3.8 liters, and has its output improved to 400 hp (up 15 hp) and 324 lbft (up 14 lbft). Both engines now get automatic stop-start to save fuel. Overall fuel consumption is claimed to be 14 percent lower.
The 3.4 Carrera and 3.8 Carrera S are mainly distinguished by twin-tailpipes and quad-tailpipes.
The 7-speed PDK gearbox on the 997 is only 3 years old, so it is carried over. Porsche hasn't forgotten the needs of hardcore customers, so it develops a new 7-speed manual gearbox. It is believed to be a single-clutch version of the PDK, and it is the world's first 7-speed manual on production cars. I suspect the 7th is an overdrive to return improved fuel consumption figures.
Naturally, performance is slightly improved again (Porsche always save the trump cards for further evolutions to come). The Carrera PDK tops 179 mph and sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.4 sec. The Carrera S PDK tops 188 mph and does 0-60 in 4.1 sec. In both cases, if Sport Chrono pack with launch control is selected, another 0.2 sec can be shaved.
Inside, the new 911 finally gets an all-new interior whose design owes a lot to Panamera, especially the center console. Both quality and equipment are significantly upgraded. The classic 5-gauge instrument has one of the gauge converted to LCD information display.
Overall, I would say performance is not the highlight of the change. In fact, it might not be faster than the last Carrera GTS with 408 horsepower. The biggest progress may lie on its improved handling, interior and room for further upgrades in the years to come.
Linky (Including More Pictures).
I like the new design, though I'm not quite sure I like the new tailights. They look nice from the side and 3/4 shots, but from dead-on they look pretty weird.