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2011 Porsche 911

Overview
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2011 Porsche 911 Review

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The 2011 Porsche 911 remains an icon of the sports car world. While Porsche continues to probe into other market segments, the 911 remains, first and foremost, a pure and unequivocal sports car. Porsche is expected to reveal the next-generation 911 soon, but that doesn't mean the current version of the vehicle offers anything less than impressive performance. For 2011, Porsche has rolled in new levels of standard equipment on both 911 and 911 Turbo models.

You'll Like This Car If...

Few brands command the kind of respect on and off the track as Porsche, and for good reason. Both the Porsche 911 and 911 Turbo offer excellent performance with style to match.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Porsche has notoriously taken few risks in the design of the 911, and the look may not be fresh enough for everyone. At the same time, large wheels and LED daytime running lights may be seen by long-time fans as gimmicks. And, it's expensive.

What's New for 2011

The biggest news for the base 911 and its Turbo sibling is that buyers can now enjoy Bluetooth hands-free calling and a universal audio interface for a variety of MP3 players as standard equipment. Those convenience features were previously cost options.

Driving the 911
Driving Impressions

The Porsche 911 had a reputation as a fast car that could catch inexperienced and over-enthusiastic (and irresponsible) drivers off-guard. But whatever fickleness might have been exhibited by previous generations...

... has been routed from the current 911. On the race track the Porsche 911 is a supremely controllable car that rewards more experienced drivers while simultaneously encouraging novices behind the wheel. Handling limits are high and stability at the upper limits of the speedometer is all you might reasonably expect. The brakes are powerful and as good as it gets in feel and fade-resistance. Acceleration is strong in both Carrera and Carrera S trims and the optional PDK transmission actually helps deliver faster acceleration than available with manual-equipped cars. All-wheel-drive Carrera 4 models provide improved traction in slippery conditions, albeit at the cost of slightly slower acceleration. Despite its on-track excellence, the 911 is actually quite livable on public streets, providing a reasonably plush ride during long stints on the highway.

PDK Transmission
The proper name for the optional twin-clutch seven-speed automatic transmission in the 911 and 911 Turbo is Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe. Simply called PDK here in America, it offers the direct feel and control of a manual with quicker shifts than any driver could achieve. With all the best traits of an automatic and a manual transmission and without the need for a clutch pedal, we'd think twice about passing up PDK.

Touch-screen audio system
The Porsche 911's intuitive new touch-screen interface makes controlling the audio system or a connected MP3 player far easier than the confusing array of buttons found in previous models.

2011 Porsche 911 Details
Interior

With a complete generational change just around the corner, Porsche has kept the interior of the 911 and 911 Turbo identical to 2010 models. That is, buyers will still find interior appointments that are acceptably luxurious. Optional ventilated seats are available, as is an intuitive touch-screen based audio system. Inside, there's room for two adults and their coats, thanks to the traditional 2+2 seating configuration. We wouldn't recommend trying to subject anyone you like to the rear seats.

Exterior

Porsche is a company that trades heavily on its heritage, and that shines through in a purely positive way in the 911. It's clear that the design department prefers evolution over revolution, and the years have delivered a series of gradual changes that have culminated in the 2011 model. The logical progression carries round headlights, an inset hood, a sloping roof line and pronounced rear fenders (all carry-overs from 2010). Bi-xenon headlights, flashy LED daytime running lights and LED taillights all add a technological flair to a profile that can trace its roots all the way back to 1964.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2011 Porsche 911 features bi-xenon headlights with washers, 18-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, automatic climate control, cruise control, rain-sensing windshield wipers and a nine-speaker audio system with 6.5-inch touch screen display. Standard safety features include tire pressure monitoring, six airbags and Porsche's PSM electronic stability control, which includes the functions of anti-lock brakes and traction control. The Turbo model, in addition to its more powerful engine and other features, is fitted with 19-inch wheels and tires.

Optional Equipment

Buyers can outfit both the 911 and the 911 Turbo with a number of optional features, including rear parking sensors, auto dimming mirrors, heated seats, ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel, navigation, sport seats and an audio interface with auxiliary and USB inputs. Additional performance is available thanks to an optional limited-slip differential and the company's PDK dual-clutch transmission and active suspension management. Those looking to take their vehicles to the track will likely want to choose the incredibly expensive ceramic composite brake system. A number of aesthetic options are also available, including wheel designs, paint colors and interior customization selections.

Under the Hood

The 2011 Porsche 911 delivers between 345 and 385 horsepower from either a 3.6-liter opposed-six-cylinder engine or a 3.8-liter opposed-six. While more than fast enough, the base 911 is trumped by the 500-horsepower turbocharged 3.8-liter six-cylinder engine in the 911 Turbo. Both models feature a standard six-speed manual transmission or Porsche's optional PDK twin-clutch seven-speed automatic transmission. Zero-to-sixty-mph acceleration times vary from 4.7 seconds in a manual transmission-equipped Carrera to 3.4 seconds in the 911 Turbo with the PDK. Rear-wheel drive is standard for the Porsche 911 while all-wheel drive is included on Carrera 4 and Targa models.

3.6-liter Horizontally opposed-6
345 horsepower at 6,500 rpm
288 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 (manual), 19/27 (PDK)

3.8-liter Horizontally opposed-6
385 horsepower at 6,500 rpm
310 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 (manual), 19/26 (PDK)

3.8-liter Turbocharged Horizontally opposed-6
500 horsepower at 6,000 rpm
480 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,950-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 (manual), 17/25 (PDK)

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