Roadshow Video Reviews
2012 Porsche 911The new 911 gets bigger and tastier.
-Well, since going water cooled, there's only been 3 generations of Porsche 911. In fact, this is the third and new generation. It's called the 991. Let me point out to you the stuff you'll need as a Porsche spotter. First of all, the wheel base grew 4 inches. That's axle to axle, but what they've done is short in the overhang because the entire body only grew by 2 inches. What you've got is a little more aggressive look. It's not a big difference, but it's a subtle sort of pushing to the corners of the wheels. You've also got a little bit of a greater width from the front now. It gives the car, viewed from the top, a little more of a Coke bottle shape. Again, part of a more aggressive sporty stance. You can spot this car mostly from the rear. Let's go back there. Real big difference now in the rear treatment and his tail lights in particular. They've god LED strings around them, which illuminate, but you can see they're much sharper, pointier, and flatter. That's the most controversial and biggest change on this car. It looks a little bit like an Aston Martin part, but I'm not the one who's gonna say that to their face. By the way, the spoiler now, which lives up here in the back and has been electrified for a number of years, now works through software in conjunction with the sun roof. They balance each other out, depending where you've got them open to create the optimal whack of turbulence. That's kind of cool. Another big innovation is the world's smallest engine cover. Look at this little guy. It used to be small. Now, it's miniscule. Dear Porsche mechanics, good luck. In here now, as you can see, this is the 3.8. This guy is an S. The standard car is going down with 3.4, but picked up 5 horsepower to 350. This guy has picked up 15 horsepower in the bigger S motor to 400 on the nose. Interesting efficiency technologies were being used here as well. You've got electric power steering now, so you no longer have another rotating accessory with a belt dragging the engine down. You've got some limited brake regeneration that's kind of build back electricity to charge the battery; again, taking load off the alternator, so it would have to work less hard. The more things you can freewheel, the less this engine has to run those and it can spend moving the car, which is kind of the point on one of these. But down here with this engine still looks like an engine, a lot of things have changed, many of them for efficiency. First of all, you no longer have a hydraulic power steering pump. This car has electric power steering. You have automatic start-stop when you come to a red light or a stop sign. That's a little controversial on a car of this lineage. Let's see. You've also got some brake regeneration. Hit the brakes and it puts juice back in the battery, taking some load off the alternator, which takes some load off the engine, and they now have adaptive engine mounts. This is kind of like adaptive suspension. When you're driving the car leisurely, these electrohydraulic mounts will be soft and the engine can kind of, you know, bounce around and be decoupled from the car. When you're really standing on it, they stiffen up and the engine almost becomes like a stressed member of the whole frame of the vehicle. It's not as nice a ride, but when you're really on it, you don't care; you want the vehicle to tighten up. Very interesting technology. And as you can see, a big difference in size. They've gone to the kind of bigger upward sloping Panamera style console. But I've got to be honest. They keep coming back to the longer wheelbase on this car. It intrigues me the most for a couple of reasons. One, it's rumored, not confirmed, that they kind of bumped up the size of the car that way to make room for a hybrid power plant. Porsche has been doing lots of hybrid stuff around the fringes that wouldn't surprise me, but unusual in 911. Also, you've seen that ad campaign Porsche everyday? "We have a longer wheelbase, you get a more comfortable ride." I'm curious what the reception will be among the real serious 911 fans. This is considered a push towards the more comfortable everyday 911 that they may eschew, but will probably sell like hotcakes if it's a more comfortable every driver. By the way, we'll find out soon, February of 2012, the on-sale date for this car, starts off at 83,000 based for a standard 911, 97 for an S. There's a lot of other improvements on the S, by the way, aside from just the motor.