It takes a Porsche aficionado to tell one generation of 911 from another, and while the same goes for the 2012 model, it actually represents a substantial leap forward. The 2012 Porsche 911, which goes by the internal designation 991, has a longer wheelbase than the outgoing model, and a host of new handling technology.

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Many cars distinguish themselves by their grille treatment, but the rear-engined 911 has always downplayed that element. The shape of the new 911 is similar to the previous version, yet along with the 4-inch-longer wheelbase, the overall length of the car has been extended by 2.2 inches. The new car looks less compact than the old.

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Along with a dynamic suspension that counters body roll, Porsche has implemented a torque vectoring system, which serves to slow the inside wheel when cornering.

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Porsche did a very nice job on the rear taillights, one of the bigger cosmetic changes. As before, the engine still hangs out the back. Porsche got an extra 15 horsepower out of the direct injection 3.8-liter flat six in the 911 Carrera S, making the total output 400.

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The active rear spoiler automatically deploys at speeds above 75 mph, or at a push of a button on the console.

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With the engine in the rear, the main storage area is under the hood. Even with the longer wheelbase, there is limited cargo space.

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Porsche helps justify the 911's high price with a luxurious cabin, and many options as to interior appointments. The standard seats are manually adjustable, with 14-way power sport seats on the option list.

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The 911 benefits from Porsche's latest cabin electronics. That means a navigation system with 3D rendered buildings and even satellite views at a high level of zoom. But Porsche only covers the basic cabin tech features, and has not explored connected car features.

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As a fuel-saving measure, Porsche went to an electrically boosted power-steering system. The feel is very different than on the previous generation's hydraulically boosted system. The new system communicates less of the road surface, but has point-and-shoot response.

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Porsche keeps its traditional five-gauge instrument cluster, although one of the gauges has become a full-color LCD.

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The instrument cluster LCD shows navigation, audio, phone, and car information. In the 911 Carrera S, it even has a G-force meter.

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The Chrono Sport package now adds a clock to the timer in the center of the dashboard.

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The seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe is a dual-clutch transmission. It does an excellent job of quickly downshifting when you apply the brakes.

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Porsche has done away with the e-brake lever, replacing it with an electronic parking brake. That move frees up space on the console for buttons to activate the car's various performance features.

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The navigation system shows topographic detail when the maps are viewed in perspective mode. The system also shows traffic data.

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Route guidance offers rich graphics for freeway exits and junctions. Buildings in some cities are also rendered in 3D.

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Zooming out, the top view maps turn into satellite imagery.

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The onscreen keyboard is easy to use for destination input.

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Traffic data is the 911 Carrera S' only connected feature. The navigation system uses this data to avoid bad traffic jams.

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The stereo offers a good array of audio sources. It also has Bluetooth audio streaming, which can be enabled once a phone is paired.

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The iPod and USB drive interface is the same, as the system actively parses the ID3 tags from MP3 files on any device plugged into the system.

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It is convenient that the music library interface shows how many albums and artists are on the current device plugged into the system. Not as convenient is the fact you have to hit the Start Playback button after drilling through a category to choose music.

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Porsche also includes HD Radio with this stereo, which offers a clearer signal and multiple channels for each station.

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