By Cars.com EditorsJuly 12, 2012
About the video
While it may look the same, the Porsche 911 was completely redesigned for 2012. Refinements include a new electromechanical power steering that loses some feeling, according to Cars.com Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder.
(rock music) <v Male Narrator>Cars.com Auto Reviews. Hi, I'm Joe Wiesenfelder with Cars.com, and I know what you're thinking.
You're thinking here's another car journalist, who's going to rave and gush over the redesigned 2012 Porsche 911, and let me tell you, that would be correct. Now, there are some drawbacks to the 911. This is a 911 Carrera S, which is the more powerful version. It starts at over $97,000, and as equipped, full of options like this, you can pay almost $129,000. The car is 2.2 inches longer than the previous generation, but more important than that is the wheel base is almost four inches longer, and what that has done mainly is moved the rear axle farther apt relative to the location of the engine. In this version, 62% of the weight's in the back and 38's in the front. The rear end really likes to go this way. Our car is equipped with an automatic transmission. It is the dual-clutch automated manual called PDK, Porsche Double Coupling, which is dual clutch. Now, I'm not going to say I didn't miss the manual transmission because they really are different things. And the manual transmission like this one has 7-speed, which is pretty interesting. But I have to say, as this type of transmission goes, it's really, really well done. I drove the car on the Road America Raceway and strictly in automatic mode, and I have to say the thing read my mind. It seemed like it was always in the right gear, shifted at the right time. Didn't shift when I didn't want it to. Now it does have a manual function either with the stick or with these steering wheel buttons. For what it's worth PDK makes this car as quick as it can be. Having 400 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque in the S version here, the shifts are so quick in this version that you get 0-60 in about 3.9 seconds. Also some adjustments here, you can hit the Sport button or optionally the Sport Plus button, and what that does is it holds the transmission in low gears longer and also makes the shifts faster. At high revs and heavier loads, the mufflers automatically bypass some chambers and you get a terrific sound out of the exhaust. Now, if you like that sound when the chambers are open, you can push this manual button here and hear it all the time. I played with this button on average, every 4.5 seconds. Now, if I have any complaints, it's actually a really minor one, and that is the steering feel. This is now electric power steering instead of hydraulic. And it is very good, but I have to say on the racetrack and high speeds with more load, there, it has really good feedback, but normal driving, it's not quite as good. On Road America, Torque Vectoring allowed me to follow a tighter line. There's Dynamic Chassis Control to keep the body flat. I drove that track like I was a freaking genius. In reality, the car was doing a lot of the work. I'm not sure that that's the pure experience that people necessarily want. Not all of those technologies can be turned off. I have to share a few things that bug me. This particular car has a very light tan dashboard. And with the new dramatically raked windshield, there's an awful lot of glare. I wear polarized sunglasses during the day, that helps a lot. But even at night, I was getting some flashing from streetlights and they're like, not so great. Another is the fake aluminum trim here on the dashboard. Cars like the mid-level 3-series have real aluminum, even the Nissan Murano. They really ought to go with the real thing. And speaking of the trim, these are the cup holders in a car that was redesigned for 2012? Come on Porsche. The rest of the German automakers have assimilated, they know we need real cup holders, these aren't them. Finally, if you're curious about the backseat, don't kid yourself. This is not really a backseat. You can put stuff back here, and, added bonus, the backrest folds down, and it gives you a little bit more cargo space. You'll take all the extra space you can get because the trunk, even though it's nice and deep, surprisingly deep, only as 4.75 cubic feet, which is not too much. Overall, this car is still terrific. Even with the redesign, not many cars on the market are as revered as this one. I see every reason that it should still be revered. If you're willing to pay the price, there's really nothing else like it. <v Male Narrator>For more car related news, go to Cars.com or our blog KickingTires.net.
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