Porsche gives 911 a serious tech update

Porsche announces new features for its 2009 911 model series.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
2 min read

2009 Porsche 911
The 911 body style remains the same, although exterior lights are updated. Porsche

Porsche offered details on its four 2009 911 models, which go on sale in September, which include a new navigation system and a double-clutch transmission. The 911 Carrera Coupe, 911 Carrera Cabriolet, 911 Carrera S Coupe, and 911 Carrera S Cabriolet also get their flat six engines fitted with direct injection, resulting in increased efficiency and performance. The cars don't look substantially different on the outside, although they do get LED tail and parking lights, along with an adaptive headlight system.

2009 Porsche 911 PDK shifter
The PDK shifter works with the new double-clutch transmission. Porsche

The 3.6-liter flat six-cylinder engine in the 911 Carrera gets a 20-horsepower increase to 345, while the 3.8-liter engine in the 911 Carrera S goes up by 30 horsepower to 385. These engines also show a 13 percent gain in fuel economy in the European test cycle, although the EPA test results aren't in yet. More exciting than the addition of direct injection is the seven-speed double-clutch transmission. Porsche claims this transmission has undergone 25 years of development in its racing efforts, making it well-refined for street use. Porsche calls its new transmission the Porsche-Doppelkupplung, or PDK for short. We used BMW's seven speed double clutch transmission in its M3 recently, and found that it not only shifted smoothly, quickly, and precisely, but that it saved fuel, as well. Unlike the BMW's shifter, it appears that you push the PDK shifter up to upshift, and pull down to downshift.

2009 Porsche 911 tail light
Here you can see the LEDs in the tail light. Porsche

Porsche also announced a much-needed update to its Porsche Communication Manager, or PCM. We've complained about this system in the past, most recently in our review of the 2008 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet. But Porsche says that PCM 3.0 will use hard-drive-based navigation, which means quicker route calculation and map refresh, and possibly higher-resolution maps. This system will also incorporate live traffic and have a touchscreen interface. Most hard drive systems also allow some space for music storage, so we wouldn't be surprised to see that feature. PCM 3.0 also includes iPod and USB ports. The system also supports Bluetooth cell phones, another welcome update.