Porsche continues to introduce new 911 variants for 2013. The current 911 is based on the updated 991 platform that debuted with the Carrera and Carrera S in 2012.
As with those models, in the new all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S the body changes are subtle but numerous, with larger LED main-beam projector headlamps fitted in higher front fenders, a wider rear end, a higher side waistline and all-new LED tail lamps.
Two engines are available in 2013. In the Carrera and Carrera 4, buyers get a 3.4L horizontally-opposed direct-injected 6-cylinder that makes 350 horsepower. Carrera S and Carrera 4S buyers get a slightly larger 3.8L flat-six, which makes 400 horsepower. A variation of the 3.8L is also available on the all-wheel-drive Turbo and Turbo S models. Those models produce 500 and 530 horsepower, respectively, in both coupe and convertible form.
Except in the Turbo S, all engines are mated to a standard 7-speed manual transmission. The 7-speed PDK double-clutch automatic is optional, and standard on the Turbo S. In the manual, the ratios are close together in every gear except 7th, which helps to achieve a better fuel consumption rate during highway use. Other features include electric power steering and a hydraulic decoupler of the front and rear sway bars, known as Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control. In addition, 911s feature a rear-wheel torque vectoring system that helps build traction using the rear brakes along with the rear differential.
Inside, the 911 interior features styling touches consistent with Porsche's Panamera and Cayenne. There's no mistaking the design as something other than 911, however, with a host of gauges flanking a large tachometer, mounted front and center. The center console sports a large color touchscreen monitor for navigation and stereo functions.
Several packages add features such as special sports seating, Bose audio, ambient lighting, auto dimming mirrors, and more. The Sport Chrono Package includes dynamic engine mounts, a dash-mounted analog and digital stopwatch, performance display, a Sport Plus button to control engine mapping and throttle response, and launch control for cars equipped with PDK.
Oh, the humble manual transmission. How do we explain your appeal? I've yet to hear anyone lament the loss of manual timing advance levers nor choke pulls and the hand-operated windshield wiper has long-since been relegated to history. Good riddance to that.
But threaten to take away our clutch pedals and manually operated transmissions and some die-hard enthusiasts will never let you hear the end of it. Willfully ignoring that a modern, dual-clutch transmission is better in every measurable way, some demand a stick and so Porsche is going to give it to them. A real manual with a real clutch in a car that we already know is . Does an extra pedal make it even better?
Putting the car to the test means doing what I love doing more than anything else in a 911: Heading out for the twistiest, trickiest, bumpiest roads I can find. Though we're well into the summer months here in NY at this point, the long-reaching ramifications of theshutdowns means that local road crews are well behind where they should be. Our country lanes are still in generally rough shape.
That's not so ideal for most sports cars. For the 911, it's absolutely perfect. I'm continually impressed at how well-tuned the Carrera is for carrying massive speed over miserable surfaces. While I find the low-profile, 245/35R20 front and 305/30R21 rear tire package a bit tiresome when idling around on bumpy roads, put the car and your brain into attack mode and suddenly everything feels right. The suspension manages all the frost heaves and broken pavement without ever feeling the slightest bit unsettled. This 911, like those before, is an incredible weapon for real roads.
As the automaker opens back up, it's making sure customers have access, no matter their level of comfort.
Porsche finally gives its 992-generation 911 the manual transmission it deserves.
Three pedals and a stick make one of the world's best all-round performers just that bit more of a pure driver's car.
It might not pack the punch of the Turbo models, but the GTS is one sweet driver's car.
It doesn't get much better than this.
The Cayman GT4 flaunts the maximum potential of Porsche's 718 range -- just like it did before.
Even though it's 25-year-old, this apex predator can still prowl the streets.
The 4.0-liter flat-six versions -- even the GT4 -- also get optional seven-speed PDK gearboxes.