Roadshow Video Reviews
2012 Porsche 911 Carrera SThe new 911 evolves one of the best cars you'll ever drive, if you can look past the six-figure price tag.
There are very few cars that have been redone only 3 times since the early 60s. This is one of them. It's the new 911 on the platform designated 991. Let's drive this 2012 Carrera S on that all new architecture to check the tech. Okay. Before we go inside, let's do our spotters guide so you know when you've seen one of these, the easiest way is to look out back. Those tail lights are very different than to my eye, borrowed from an Aston Martin. Up front, great big eyes with big bubble headlights with some LED jewelry underneath them. The whole car's wheel base is almost 4 inches longer. It has a shorter overhang, there's less body in front of the front wheels and inside, you'll know immediately you're in a 991 because of that console. Welcome to the new Porsche 911 cabin. What draws my eye is a lot more angular stuff going on in the dash. They've kinda taken some of the curves out somewhat like on the exterior of the car. That's called the PCM, the Porsche Communication Management head unit, and that stock on 911s. With Carrera on up, that means you're gonna get navigation, touch screen, you've got this know, you can navigate and click to operate with. The big thing that I'm missing now and it's telling of our time, no voice command optioned on this car. If you don't option it, you don't have it at all but note this, it's a German car, so you can do all of this while driving. Your base audio system here is going to have I think is 9 speakers and 235 watts. You can go up to Bose, that's the middle system, that's 445 watts, 12 speakers and a powered sub. If you really wanna go nuts, spend double that $5000 for the Burmester sound system. That'll get you 821 watts, still 12 speaks but now all that sound goes out through 12 discreet channels of amplification. This center console was first seen I think in the Cayenne, then Panamara, now you've got it here in this 911. It's still kinda grates me. I find that it's getting away from the traditional relatively spartan cabin of a classic 911. This is really modern car, excessively developed to me. You see the gear shifter we have, this is for the PDK, the double clutch, automated manual. It's a 7 speed dual clutch transmission. This guy cost a little over $4000 for that option. And this little PDK deal here is only on a PDK equipped car, it'll show you a couple of things. We have the sport mode, which will give you a light that lights up right there, or sport plus, which I'll explain later. This little button here is not a pair of binoculars. That's actually for your sport exhaust system, an optional exhaust that can vent more noise out the tips so if you'd like it to. Almost 3 grand for that little show off detail. Now we've done about 1100 car videos here at CNET. This one has the least amount of engine I can show you. That's it. That's not really it at all. The engine's down here in the back but you can't see it from the top anymore. You're looking at a 3.8 liter flat 6 classic Porsche architecture. You still get 400 horsepower, 325 foot pounds of torque. The car weighs 3250, it gets up to 60 in 4.3 seconds with a manual, 4.1 with our PDK gear box, or get the Sport Chrono package, it makes everything more aggressive and you can get it down to like 3.9. All that while delivering 2027 EPA estimates on the MPG. Let's go see how they blended that efficiency and ferocity. Now you may have noticed this button down here which is the auto start stop defeat switch. I'd wear that one out 'cause one thing I don't need is a 911 doing auto start stop but that is obviously part of how they got this guy to 2027 MPG. I understand the strategy. Another reason that they got to that pretty good mileage estimate is that they've got this 7 speed gearbox in here, this PDK, and it tends to, like most automatics, unless you stroke it, it's going to seek top gear all the time. So I do find these cars a little flat footed. When you're just tooling around town or doing normal driving in standard drive mode with no sport gauge, however, push this little button right here or this one next to it, sport and sport plus, and everything changes. Now the throttle response is a little more ambitious, the suspension gets firmer, if you've got the PDCC which is the dynamic chassis control, that kicks in and really keeps the car flatter. Here's how I put it though. It really lightens the car. Push one of these sport buttons and you seem to take hundreds of pounds off the wheels. That's the real magic of a 911. Now if you saw my take on the GTS recently, you know that I really love that car even in everyday driving, and this one, same thing. However, I was expecting a little more of a compliant suspension with the longer wheel base. This car doesn't seem to ride any more comfortably than the GTS. It's very firm and sport, day in and day out like most owners are gonna use this thing, not on the track, it can be a little tiresome. Okay. The new 911 is not a cheap date but you knew that going in to it. $97 thousand base for this Carrera S and the new car is only available so far as an S or a base Carrera. On top of that nearly 100 grand, I think I'd only pick a few options. One of them would not be the PDK, saving me $4000. Sport exhaust is kind of fun but $3000? And I'm okay with the middle sound system we had on here, the $2400 issued Bose rig. Now you're over 100 grand no matter what you do on this car unless you take it straight off the floor and I doubt they're shipping a lot to dealers that way, but this remains one of the great refined automotive stories you can ever get into.