Porsche 911 Carrera Performance
Reviewers regard the 2011 Porsche 911’s Performance as exceptional, and this year, the 911 adds another stellar performer to this list: the 911 Carrera GTS. Instead of the 3.6 liter flat six-cylinder engine that comes with the base Carrera, the GTS gets a 3.8-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 408 horsepower, 63 more than the base model. Test drivers are impressed with its abilities, even ones equipped with a Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK).
While reviewers love the Carrera GTS, they also say you don’t need to shell out for it to get thrilling performance. If you simply want something fast and aren’t looking for the most performance-oriented Carrera, reviewers say there’s no need to pay $90,000 or more for more powerful trims like the 911 Carrera S and GTS.
- "[U]nless you speak fluent Porsche, you may not realize that the new Carrera is the hottest normally aspirated, mass-produced 911 ever to zoom out of Zuffenhausen. With a top speed of 188 mph, the top-of-the-line Carrera S is said to take as little as 4.1 seconds to squirt from 0 to 60 mph." -- Road and Track
- "There are few driving experiences that can match a 911 when its driver settles in and becomes part of the machine. But this time it felt different. The 911 GTS was inhaling Piuma. Hairpin after hairpin. High-speed bender after high-speed bender. But it was somehow making it easy. The Porsche was supplying the expected breakneck pace, but without the fear of death, which usually comes along for such a ride in Stuttgart's rear-engine icon." -- Edmunds
Acceleration and Power
This year, Porsche added the 911 Carrera GTS to its lineup, and reviewers are pleased with the amount of power it offers. The GTS has a 3.8-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 408 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, making it significantly more powerful than the base model.
The base 911 Carrera, Targa 4, and Carrera 4 have a 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine that makes 345 horsepower – 63 less than the GTS – and 288 pound-feet of torque. The S trims for these models have a more powerful engine: a 3.8-liter flat-six that makes 385 horsepower – 23 less than the GTS – and 310 pound-feet of torque.
All trims have two transmission options: a six-speed manual and a seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK), a double clutch transmission with paddle shifters that, to the driver, works like an automatic transmission. Previously, test drivers have preferred the manual transmission, but it looks like they’re beginning to warm up to the PDK. They say it shifts gears seamlessly and that it may be one of the best dual-clutch automatics available. However, if you just want the base Carrera because your budget maxes out at $80,000, keep in mind that the PDK is not cheap. You’ll pay $4,080 for this option, which brings the base Carrera to $82,830.
The base Carrera with a PDK accelerates from zero to 60 in 4.5 seconds, while a GTS with a PDK reaches 60 mph in 4.2 seconds.
With so many engine and transmission combinations, fuel economy varies considerably. The base Carrera gets 18/25 mpg city/highway with a manual transmission and 19/27 mpg city/highway with an automatic. The Carrera S gets the same ratings with a manual transmission, but with an automatic, it gets 19/26 mpg city/highway. EPA-rated fuel economy data for the Carrera GTS isn’t available, but Porsche says it gets 25 mpg on the highway.
- "Compared with Tiptronic S, the new Carrera S with PDK is 15 percent faster to 62 mph and almost 20 percent faster with Sport Chrono Plus, yet, compared to Tiptronic S, PDK also helps reduce both engines' CO2 emissions by more than 15 percent and fuel consumption by a bit less than 15 percent." -- Motor Trend
- "One thing about the PDK seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is that it executes flawless launches. Our tester, which came with the optional ($1480) Sport Chrono package and its launch-control programming, delivered four nearly identical 4.0-second zero-to-60 sprints." -- Car and Driver
- "More important, the PDK makes it possible to drive this 408-hp sports car with a fluid grace that even the best 911 drivers are hard-pressed to accomplish. The transitions between acceleration, braking, shifting and steering become supernaturally smooth, and when Sport Plus mode is engaged, the transmission will even downshift through the gears with quick rev-matched shifts as if you had been possessed by the spirit of Walter Rohrl, the ex-rally driver famous for his feats at the wheel of Porsches of all persuasions." -- Edmunds
- "The manual transmission is smooth and satisfyingly precise. The automatic provides smart, immediate shifts for passing and merging, but can change gears erratically and with an occasional clunk at low speeds. Ample low-end torque means 911, base or S, has strong thrust for any situation." -- Consumer Guide
- "Shifts don't take much time. Indeed, Porsche says the PDK is up to 60 percent faster than the Tiptronic system it replaces, and improves zero-to-62 mph times in the Carrera S by 15 percent. It's 19 percent quicker in models with the optional Sport Chrono Plus feature, which incorporates a launch control strategy allowing full-throttle starts." -- Popular Mechanics
Handling and Braking
Test drivers are thoroughly impressed with the 911 Carrera’s handling and braking capabilities, saying its light steering is exhilarating and lives up to their expectations for luxury sports cars. Among its many unique performance-enhancing features and characteristics is its engine’s mount position – past the rear axle – which helps enhance overall traction. The Carrera is also available with all-wheel drive, which comes standard on the Carrera 4, Carrera 4S, Targa 4 and Targa 4S. That means you’ll pay $84,100 for the Carrera 4, about $6,000 more than the base model.
Available for all Carrera trims are ceramic brake pads and Porsche's Sport Chrono Package Plus, which – as if the standard models weren't thrilling enough – further enhance the 911's performance capabilities. This package comes with a digital and analog timer, a Sport select button and a performance display a personal memory function that is used in conjunction with the Porsche Communication System.
If you select the Sport Chrono Plus Package and get the PDK transmission, you’ll have three extra features: a Sport Plus button, which increases throttle response when selected; launch control, which is activated by pressing the “D” or “M” buttons and increases throttle response for maximum acceleration; and motorsport-derived gearshift strategy, which prepares the Carrera for short shift times and optimum shift points to help you reach maximum acceleration.
- "The driving experience is, as you'd expect, similar to last year's cars: the 911 communicates constantly with its driver. Its thin-rimmed steering wheel performs an interpretive dance in your hands, sharing with you its fascination with changing road surfaces, cambers, and grip levels. Hard braking is drama-free even at speeds beyond 180 mph, accompanied by reassuring, rock-hard pedal feel and zero fade. The 911's PASM active suspension (optional on the base Carrera) delivers a ride that is all-day comfortable without ever allowing body motions to get out of hand." -- Automobile Magazine
- "The GTS rolls you around in the sheets more like a regular Carrera than the hyper-limber GT3, but it can still mash your torso with its grip. With no driveline hardware to weigh down the nose, the steering often goes disconcertingly light while you’re accelerating out of a corner, causing an adrenaline rush that will be familiar to 911 lovers." -- Car and Driver
- On 911 Carrera GTS: "We also have recorded shorter stopping distances from previous 911s. Again, repeated 60-0-mph stops under 110 feet speak to the GTS's bulletproof four-wheel disc brake hardware, but the grip just wasn't there for the brakes to work optimally." -- Edmunds
- "So visceral was our reaction to the car's unfettered capabilities that a series of fast laps at the Michelin proving grounds left us as giddy as if we'd been sucking on a bottle of pure ozone. (Kids, don't try this at home.)" -- Motor Trend
- "We tested the 911 Carrera 4S cabrio. AWD helps it stick to the pavement as if attached to a rail. Exceptional handling and stability, especially at high speed. And to keep you in command, stability control and traction control are standard." -- Chicago Tribune
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