Revised Porsche 911 Debuts at 2011 IAA Frankfurt Motor Show

The most famous sports car in the world, except for, maybe, the Chevrolet Corvette?

In Paris back 1964 the Porsche 911 debuted, starting a remarkable 48-year run for the renowned sports car that replaced the beloved 356. Porsche, now a Volkswagen owned company, will introduce the latest generation of its 911, a fabled rear-engine, two seat performance car at the Frankfurt Motor Show this fall.

Revising an icon is always a tricky proposition, and at first glance the 911 – a terrible name, but proof that a great car makes the name, not vice versa – is a deft combination of some things old, and some things new, and none of it in French blue.

The ignition lock is to the left of the steering wheel.

With a longer wheelbase of almost 4 inches, and slightly reduced height, the 911 remains instantly recognizable. A new aluminum and steel body translates to a weight reduction of 45 kilograms. In a nod to the Japanese and a global video game culture, the instrument cluster has five round instruments – one of them a high resolution multifunction screen – shame, shame Porsche design.

Both the 911 Carrera and Carrera S increase performance and are, slightly, more efficient. All versions consume less than ten liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (that’s ~23 mpg). Fuel consumption and emissions are about 16% lower compared with predecessors, according to Porsche. Efficiency is helped by a start/stop system and what appears to be the world’s first seven-speed manual transaxle. The new electro-mechanical power steering – sure to be controversial among enthusiasts – has what Porsche claims is “precision and feedback,” while reducing fuel-consumption.

A 911 Carrera with the new 350 horsepower (~ 257 kW) 3.4-litre boxer engine consumes 8.2 liters per 100 kilometers (~ 28 mpg.) based on the so called New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) – 1.6 l/100 km, about 5 mpg less than its predecessor. At 194 g/km of CO2 emissions, the 911 Carrera with its new engine is the first Porsche sports car to make it below 200 g/km in CO2 emissions.

The hot one is the 911 Carrera S, which accelerates from zero to 100 km/h (~ 62 mph) in 4.3 seconds. A “Sport Plus” button on the optional Sport Chrono package decreases that to 4.1 seconds. The base 911 Carrera traverses the pavement in 4.6 seconds to 62 mph.

The launch of the new 911 models starts on 3 December 2011. However, the new Porsche sports cars can be ordered starting in September. Prices in Germany are €88,038– hold your breathe, that’s $127,000, for the 911 Carrera and €102,436 – or $148,000 for the 911 Carrera S, including a punitive 19% VAT in effect in Germany.

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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