Porsche brings its latest 911 to L.A.
As expected, the new Carrera is evolutionary, not revolutionary. But, oh, what an evolution it is.
2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S
Porsche strutted out its newest 911 here at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show. Though the 2012 911 may appear startlingly similar to the outgoing model, it boasts all-new dimensions and is more efficient and slightly more powerful than its predecessor.
While Porsche fans typically recoil at the slightest change in their beloved 911, the 2012 model is a clear leap forward. How big a leap? Porsche says the base Carrera S is capable of lapping Germany's Nurburgring racetrack in the same time as the outgoing race-bred 997 GT3.
2012 Porsche 911 Carrera and Carrera S
What is it? The latest incarnation of an industry icon.
What's hot? Porsche stretched the wheelbase of the 2012 911 by nearly 4 inches, but grew the overall length of the vehicle by less than an inch. That change allowed engineers to provide more cabin room as well as a more stable platform at high speed. It also helped shift a considerable amount of the engine's weight ahead of the rear wheels, which reduced the dreaded 911 oversteer considerably. Porsche maintains that the 911 is still a tried-and-true rear-engine sports car, but the vehicle continues to evolve toward midengine status with every subsequent generation. We can hear the groaning of vehicle's loyal fans from here, but that's good news for anyone who didn't grow up wrangling a rear engine around a track. Speaking of engines, the 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera is equipped with a direct-injection 3.4-liter flat 6-cylinder that produces 350 horsepower and 287 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers are slightly more impressive than the outgoing 3.6-liter engine, despite the drop in displacement. The Carrera S, meanwhile, sports a 3.8-liter engine, which pounds out 400 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque.
What's not? It's a lot of money for 350-horsepower machine, especially in a world where the BMW M3 coupe offers 414 horsepower and costs more than $22,000 less.
How much and when? February 2012. Prices start at $82,100.
MSN Autos' verdict: The 2012 Porsche 911 is an impressive piece of engineering by anyone's measure. But the luxury sports-car segment is more competitive than ever before. While we think the 911 offers substantially more refinement than the BMW heathen, the price differential is substantial enough to give any sane mind pause.
James Tate cut his teeth in the business as a race team crew member before moving to the editorial side as Senior Editor of Sport Compact Car, and his work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Automobile, Motor Trendand European Car. When not writing, Tate is usually fantasizing about a vintage Porsche 911.