Porsche's long-lived 911 gets a major makeover for the 2005 model year. For the first time since 1977, different engines power the regular 911. A 3.6-liter flat six-cylinder in the 911 Carrera produces 325 horsepower, while the 911 Carrera S holds a 3.8-liter flat six-cylinder that develops 355 hp.
One of the 911 Carrera S's standard features is Porsche Active Suspension Management technology, which uses continually adjustable shock absorbers. Larger wheels, bigger brakes with red calipers, bi-xenon headlights and aluminum-look interior trim are also standard.
The redesigned 911 uses a new six-speed-manual gearbox, new seating options are available, and airbags that deploy from the side windowsills are installed. Motorsports enthusiasts can opt for a Sport Chrono Package Plus that features a dashboard-mounted stopwatch.
A new 911 Turbo S coupe and cabriolet join the 911 lineup for 2005. Based on the 2004 911 Turbo, the 911 Turbo S uses a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter flat six-cylinder that produces 444 hp.
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Porsche hasn't tampered with the basic profile of the 911. Nearly devoid of extraneous trim, the low, smooth-bodied 911 looks the part of a serious performance machine. Porsche notes that the latest 911 Carrera models have a wider track and a slimmer, more accentuated waistline, which contribute to a more powerful and athletic stance.
The wheelbase is unchanged at 92.5 inches. The car's width has grown by nearly an inch and a half, and the front and rear suspensions are more than an inch wider. Anti-roll bar pivot points have been revised to reduce body roll. New aluminum springs are about 70 percent lighter than comparable steel springs.
The 911 Carrera rides on standard 18-inch wheels, while the 911 Carrera S holds 19-inchers. Neither model comes with a spare tire, but tire sealant and an electric air compressor are included. Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes are available on both models.
New variable-ratio steering and a new generation of the Porsche Stability Management electronic stability system are installed. PSM can be turned off if desired, and the system reactivates only when the brake pedal is pushed hard enough to exceed the antilock braking system's threshold.
Called four-passenger automobiles by Porsche, 911s have plenty of space for front-seat occupants but backseat riders are in for a squeeze. The seats, steering wheel and gauge cluster have been revised for 2005. Standard front seats adjust in six directions, while optional power seats adjust in 12 directions. Sport seats with more support are available as alternatives.
As in prior 911s, the driver faces a large tachometer and the ignition switch is on the left. Dials have black faces in the 911 Carrera and an aluminum finish for the ones in the 911 Carrera S. A DVD-based navigation system is available.
Under the Hood
Dubbed a boxer engine because of its horizontally opposed cylinder layout, the base, rear-mounted 3.6-liter six-cylinder develops 325 hp. The 3.8-liter six-cylinder in the Carrera S produces 355 hp and 295 pounds-feet of torque. Each engine teams with a six-speed-manual transmission, but an enhanced Tiptronic S five-speed-automatic transmission is available. The automatic gearbox allows manual gear selection using steering-wheel buttons or the console lever.
All-disc antilock brakes and six airbags — including seat-mounted side-impact airbags and new head airbags that emerge from the windowsills — are standard.
Piloting a Porsche 911 in any form is like savoring a legend. The current models are comparatively easy to drive and quite civilized. They blend a reasonably smooth, extra-stable ride with vigorous performance and superior handling. Acceleration is energetic, even in non-Turbo models. The familiar engine whine isn't as omnipresent as it used to be, and the exhaust note is subdued yet exuberant. Porsche's six-speed-manual gearbox is as good as they get.
Performance differences between the Carrera and the more powerful Carrera S are noticeable — especially on a racetrack — but both deliver enthusiastic responses. Other than a brief downshift delay when coming out of curves, the Tiptronic automatic transmission operates impressively. Porsche's available Sport Chrono Package Plus instrument package is potentially helpful for motorsports-minded individuals, but it's somewhat complicated and distracting otherwise.
Even though the highway ride is super, the 911's suspension sometimes reacts harshly on rougher pavement. The snug seats should fit most riders but may be disdained by some occupants.
911 Turbo S
The 2005 model year brings new 911 Turbo S models with more potent engines. The Turbo S's appearance is even bolder than the regular 911 and features a wider stance, especially at the rear. Three large intake grilles that send air to the Turbo's radiators dominate the lower front fascia. Air scoops integrated into the leading edges of the rear fenders channel air to intercoolers. Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes are now standard.
Twin turbochargers in the 911 Turbo S help its 3.6-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder crank out 444 hp and 457 pounds-feet of torque. A six-speed-manual transmission and all-wheel drive are standard. A five-speed Tiptronic S automatic that permits manual gear changes is also available. Back to top