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2013 Porsche 911

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2013 Porsche 911 Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 8.5

Porsche continues the serial updating of its iconic 911 sports car; for 2013, the all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 models migrate to the new platform – designated 991 – introduced last year on the rear-drive Carrera. This seventh-generation architecture advances the ongoing refinement of the 911's signature rear-engine layout, with a longer wheelbase, improved roadholding, new technology and better fuel efficiency. Only the Turbo models remain on the previous (997) foundation, probably for this final year. For now, Targa and GTS models are off the menu. Porsche allows devotees to revel in the light steering, quick direction changes and strong braking that the 911's unique tail-heavy layout affords while progressively taming the tendency to spin when the cornering limit it exceeded. The 911 is a unique and wondrous sports car.

You'll Like This Car If...

For generations the standard automotive trophy for those who've succeeded financially in life has been the Porsche 911. Whether you want to show that you've arrived, or just enjoy the drive along the way, the 2013 Porsche 911 remains a compelling sports-car choice.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The 911's historic success has come at a cost: Porsche is forever locked into the quirky and challenging weight-and-balance issues of the rear-engine layout. Consider the Nissan GT-R or Audi R8 if you appreciate truly advanced design and the handling benefits of an engine located between the axles.

What's New for 2013

For 2013, the all-wheel-drive (AWD) Carrera 4 models (4 and 4S, in both coupe and cabriolet bodies) migrate to the new longer-wheelbase, seventh-generation platform (designated 991) introduced last year on the rear-drive Carrera models. Only the Turbo models remain on the previous (997) architecture.

Driving the 911
Driving Impressions

Hanging the engine out over the rear axle creates a weight-and-balance reality no designer would choose today. The rock-on-a-string effect has always let 911s change direction eagerly but at the...

... risk of spinning off the road if ham-handled. With each new platform, Porsche has sought to retain the benefits but further control the liabilities of the unique layout. In the 2013 Porsche 911, the result is a quick, responsive and communicative car, but one that is also stable and confidence-inspiring. It's even comfortable and accommodating on long trips. The car runs plenty strong with the "base" Carrera engine's 350 horsepower, but for even more, you can choose 400 (Carrera S), 500 (Turbo) or 530 (Turbo S). The manual gearboxes – 6-speed on Turbos and an industry-first 7-speed on Carreras – work beautifully but we prefer Porsche's spectacular twin-clutch PDK transmission, which bangs off gear changes with a press of wheel-mounted rocker switches.

7-SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSION
Last year Porsche introduced the world's first 7-speed manual transmission. It has six close-ratio gears for good acceleration and a tall overdrive 7th gear for relaxed and economical cruising. A smart lock-out system allows 7th gear to be selected only from 5th or 6th.

PDK TWIN-CLUTCH TRANSMISSION
Porsche's delightful 7-speed PDK transmission can operate automatically or be shifted manually using either the lever or rocker buttons on the steering-wheel spokes. This is simply the model of sporting, manually shifted automatics, changing ratios more cleanly and quickly than you and we can using a stick and pedal.

2013 Porsche 911 Details
Interior

The interior of the 2013 Porsche 911 feels familiar, with round gauges, an ignition placed left of the steering wheel, lush materials throughout and, of course, rear seats sized for little more than whisking Frodo to the shire. The Power Sport front seats are quite comfortable and supportive, a tilt-and-slide sunroof improves headroom, and the full-length console recalls the Carrera GT supercar. The 911's front trunk offers a modest 4.7 cubic feet of cargo space but that can be supplemented by an optional roof-rack system and rear seats that fold down individually to create a parcel shelf.

Exterior

The seventh-generation platform that now underlies all Carrera (not yet Turbo) 911s carries on the unmistakable traditional appearance even though the roof is now lower, the length and wheelbase have increased a lot, and detailing, fascias and lighting are new. The car looks both sleeker and more muscular. Porsche certainly could have pushed the boundaries further but overall the designers did their job, delivering a 911 that looks fresh yet classic.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The "base" 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe and Cabriolet come well equipped with bi-xenon headlights, 19-inch wheels, an electric parking brake, dual-zone automatic climate control, Alcantara trim, a navigation system with a 7-inch display and a 235-watt 9-speaker audio system with USB and auxiliary inputs. Standard safety features include stability control, traction control and eight airbags, including front-occupant knee airbags. The Carrera 4 models include the excellent AWD system.

Optional Equipment

Highlights from the 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera and Carrera S option sheet include heated and ventilated front seats, a sport exhaust system (with "loud" button), 12-speaker Bose and Burmester premium audio systems, ceramic-composite brakes, Porsche's Active Suspension Management (optional on the Carrera, standard on the Carrera S) and the Sport Chrono package with its selectable performance enhancements including (with the PDK transmission) launch control. Another notable option is PDCC, or Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control, a system that uses active anti-sway bars to drastically reduce body roll when cornering.

Under the Hood

As Porsche continues moving its many 911 models from the previous 997 platform to the new 991, the powertrain lineup simplifies this year. There are now just two normally aspirated engines, making 350 horsepower in Carrera trim and 400 in Carrera S, and two turbocharged engines, tuned for 500 horsepower (Turbo) and 530 (Turbo S). All are sophisticated liquid-cooled flat-6s with four valves per cylinder, variable intake-valve timing and direct fuel injection. Any of these engines can be paired with Porsche's excellent 7-speed PDK twin-clutch shiftable automatic transmission. The manual alternative in the normally aspirated cars is the unique 7-speed box Porsche introduced last year. (Turbo models use a 6-speed.)

3.4-liter flat-6
350 horsepower @ 7,400 rpm
287 lb-ft of torque @ 5,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy:
Rear-wheel-drive Carrera: 19/27 mpg (manual), 20/28 mpg (automatic)
All-wheel-drive Carrera 4 Cabriolet: 19/26 mpg (manual), 20/27 mpg (automatic)

3.8-liter flat-6
400 horsepower @ 7,400 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 5,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy:
Rear-wheel drive Carrera S: 19/27 mpg
All-wheel-drive Carrera 4S: 18/26 mpg (manual), 19/26 mpg (automatic)

3.8-liter turbocharged flat-6
500 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
480 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500 rpm (516 lb-ft on overboost)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 mpg (manual), 17/25 (automatic)

3.8-liter turbocharged flat-6
530 horsepower @ 6,250 rpm
516 lb-ft of torque @ 2,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 mpg

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