Each redesign of Porsche's iconic coupe is a major event in the sports car world, and the 2012 Porsche 911 is no exception. The 2012 Porsche 911 continues the German brand's convention of making restrained, evolutionary styling changes to the vehicle while rolling out next-generation chassis and engine technology under the skin. The end result is an automobile that maintains a visual link to Porsche's traditional styling cues while still providing one of the most thrilling driving experiences on the market.
Porsche is rolling out the completely-redesigned 2012 Porsche 911 alongside previous generation models of the car which are still in showrooms. We've decided to focus exclusively on the all-new Porsche 911 for the purposes of this article. Without further ado, let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2012 Porsche 911.
01. The 2012 Porsche 911 Features Revised Styling
The 2012 Porsche 911 doesn't share a single body panel with the 2011 model, but to most casual observers there would appear to be no significant differences between the all-new and outgoing editions of the car. This is completely by design - Porsche's gentle massaging of the 911 has resulted in a longer wheelbase look that still hews to the same overall proportions that Porsche buyers are accustomed to. Perhaps the most overt differences to be found on the 2012 911 are the rear LED tail lights which offer a stretched aesthetic compared to what was found on past models, and the wider gap between the vehicle's headlights. That being said, aficionados will definitely notice the subtle alterations to the 911 formula that set the most recent version of the car apart from the departed 2011 edition.
02. The 2012 Porsche 911 Is Available In Two Body Styles
The 2012 Porsche 911 is sold in both coupe and convertible editions. The Porsche 911 coupe is a legitimate four-seater, with the automaker pushing the day-to-day practicality of the hardtop edition alongside its obvious performance chops. The Porsche 911 Cabriolet (the official name for the open-top version of the car) stands out from many of its competitors in the premium segment due to its use of a fabric roof instead of a retractable hardtop. The decision to stick with a ragtop helps to keep the 911’s weight down, reduces the mechanical complexity of the roof mechanism and increases the amount of trunk space available – important considerations in an all-around sports car.
03. The 2012 Porsche 911 Provides Exceptional Handling Prowess
Lengthening the wheelbase of the 2012 Porsche 911 wasn’t just done for the sake of looks – the additional 3.9 inches also allows the automobile to offer better stability at the high speeds that the 911 was designed for. With the standard 19-inch wheels now pushed closer to the corners and a weight reduction of close to 90 lbs compared to the 2011 model, the Porsche 911 is also a more willing partner once the road starts to get twisty.
Both the coupe and the convertible can also be had with technologies such as Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) and PTV Plus, each of which can selectively brake individual rear wheels in order to better distribute power while cornering, as well as Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC). PDCC fights body roll in tight turns and helps to keep the vehicle’s mass planted over the tires where it can maximize traction.
04. The 2012 Porsche 911 Comes With Two New Engine Options
The base 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera comes with flat six-cylinder engine that checks in with less displacement than the unit it replaces. Despite a slight size disadvantage the 3.4-liter motor generates 350 horsepower and 287 lb-ft of torque, which is a five pony boost compared to the 2011 model. Opting for the Carrera S installs a 3.8-liter flat six that grinds out an impressive 400 horsepower (trumping the 2011 Carrera S' 385 horses) and 325 lb-ft of torque, giving the quicker 911 a top speed of just under 190 miles per hour.
Both versions of the Porsche are extremely quick off of the line, with the Carrera hitting 60-mph from a standing start in just 4.8 seconds and the Carrera S accomplishing the same sprint in 4.6 seconds - numbers which can be dropped further through the careful selection of performance options when ordering the car.
05. The 2012 Porsche 911 Features Two Seven-Speed Transmission Choices
The 2012 Porsche 911 is the first production vehicle to be offered with a seven-speed manual transmission. Although at first blush it might seem excessive to offer an additional gear over the six that have become de rigueur in a sports car, Porsche elected to include a seven-speed manual transmission in order to provide six close-ratio cogs and a final overdrive gear that maximizes fuel economy without sapping any performance from the 911 equation.
A second dual-clutch automated manual seven-speed transmission is also available with the 2012 Porsche 911. The PDK seven-speed was used as the template for the traditional seven-speed manual unit and in automated form it offers the quickest shifts in the Porsche lineup, accessible through steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
06. The 2012 Porsche 911 Boasts More Efficient Fuel Economy
Many of the changes that have been made to the 2012 Porsche 911 have not only increased performance but also boosted fuel mileage. The lighter chassis, smaller base engine and seven-speed manual transmission contribute to a more efficient sports car, and a number of additional technologies are also present and accounted for in order to squeeze out more miles per gallon.
Select 911 models equipped with the seven-speed manual transmission feature an automatic engine start/stop feature that kills the motor when the clutch is depressed with the car in neutral, only to fire it up instantly when the clutch pedal is raised back up again. The PDK transmission also comes with this particular technology, as well as the ability to 'sail' by disconnecting the engine from the transmission when coasting down a hill. Fuel mileage numbers have yet to be officially released by Porsche, but the company claims that the 2012 911 will surpass the 2011 model in terms of overall efficiency.
07. The 2012 Porsche 911 Provides An Improved Interior
The 2012 Porsche 911 has seen considerable attention paid to the quality, design and comfort of its passenger compartment. Many concepts and features have been imported into the 2012 911 from the larger Porsche Panamera sedan, resulting in a high class cabin that offers a five-gauge dash setup and an easy-to-decipher center stack of controls crowned by a navigation screen and complemented by sporty-looking toggle switches. The Porsche 911's rear seat has also been enlarged for 2012, taking advantage of the additional room offered by the longer wheelbase. This makes the coupe model that much more practical as a daily driver for those who must balance their lust for a full-on sports car with the realities imposed by regular commuting duties.
08. The 2012 Porsche 911 Is Available In Two Trim Levels
The 2012 Porsche 911 starts out in the Carrera trim mentioned earlier when discussing the vehicle's engine options. The 911 Carrera comes with a number of high end features as standard equipment, including dual automatic climate control, adjustable leather sport seats, HID headlights, a suede headliner, navigation and Bluetooth integration. An iPod and USB interface are of course provided for music lovers, while LED driving lights help to dress up the exterior of the 911. Stepping up to the pricier Porsche 911 Carrera S installs the PTV system along with the PASM active suspension system and also adds 20-inch wheels and heftier brakes to the equation.
09. The 2012 Porsche 911 Can Be Extensively Customized
The 2012 Porsche 911 maintains an extensive list of optional equipment and packages designed to either enhance the cushiness of the coupe (or cabriolet) or inject additional adrenaline into the way it drives. Some of the most intriguing available features fall into the second category, such as a sport exhaust system that at the touch of a button roars to life with track-ready intensity, or the Sport Chrono package that includes a lap timer, the ability to adjust aspects of the vehicle's chassis and drivetrain for optimum performance and a launch control system for vehicles equipped with the PDK transmission. Luxury gear such as heated and ventilated seats, a Bose stereo system and a complete leather interior are also available.
10. The 2012 Porsche 911 Competes Against The World's Best Sport Cars
One of the most appealing aspects of the 2012 Porsche 911 is that it continues to represent perhaps the most easy-to-live-with sports car on the planet. There's no doubt that the Porsche 911's race-inspired roots are evident every time the throttle is mashed to the floor and the suspension system is asked to absorb several g's of lateral acceleration through a sweeping curve, but when motoring around town at reasonable (and legal) speeds the 911 feels as buttoned down as most European sport sedans.
The ability of the 911 to handle any driving situation with relative ease, up to and including inclement weather conditions (which will be eaten up with a smile by the all-wheel drive 911 variants to be introduced in the near future) gives it a definite advantage over more exotic, or even more expensive coupes and convertibles vying for premium dollars.