2012 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS - FROM $110,200
With a new 2012 Porsche 911 entering the mix this year, the definitive sports car continues to improve. With so many variants available, there's probably one that fits your needs.
What's New for 2012
For the 2012 Porsche 911, there are actually two generations of the car on sale. An all-new Porsche 911 debuts and it's longer, wider, lighter and more powerful than before. Initially, this new car will be offered only as a coupe in Carrera and Carrera S trims. Meanwhile, the previous-generation 911 continues to be sold, and it carries over from last year without any significant changes and in a variety of different forms.
While most cars are redesigned every now and then, there is one that evolves slowly over time. This is the Porsche 911, an iconic sports car with a shape that is as recognizable today as when the model was first introduced in 1963. And for the 2012 Porsche 911, you have the chance to actually see the process of evolution in action, because an all-new 991 car is being introduced even as the previous-generation car continues to be sold.
Porsche will be selling this new 911 alongside the "old" 911, so no doubt there will be quite a bit of confusion from a shopping standpoint about the 2012 Porsche 911. To help clarify the two, we'll refer to them here using Porsche's technical code names for each platform: "991" for the new car and "997" for the old one. Initially, the new-generation 991 will only include the Carrera and Carrera S models in coupe body styles. The models of the previous-generation 997 will continue to be sold until their specific 991-type replacements come to market.
From the outside, the more notable changes for the 991 include larger oval headlights, pronounced flares for the wheel arches and slimmer LED taillights. Inside the cabin, you'll find some styling cues from the Carrera GT supercar and Panamera sedan, notably a new center console that extends to the dash and places the gear selector closer to the steering wheel. In the back, where all Porsche 911 engines reside, the Carrera S sports a 350-horsepower 3.4-liter flat-6 engine, while the Carrera S gets a 400-hp 3.8-liter. Either can be had with a new seven-speed manual or dual-clutch automated manual transmission. Other changes for the new 911 include electric-assist power steering and updated suspension designs for improvements in handling and comfort.
Once you factor in the number of 997 variants still in the 911 portfolio, there's likely to be at least one 911 that will satisfy any driving enthusiast with access to between $80,000 and $245,000. A choice from the more affordable part of the spectrum makes for a highly proficient car for sport touring, while a choice from the upper end can vie for all-out track supremacy. This vast range of choices also widens the selection of rivals that include the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Audi R8, Jaguar XK, Lotus Evora, Maserati GranTurismo, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG and Nissan GT-R. But when it comes to a highly evolved and refined front runner, there is no substitute for the 2012 Porsche 911.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2012 Porsche 911 is available in a dizzying array of variants. As this model year marks the debut of the all-new 991 generation, things get even more confusing, as some of the previous-generation 997 variants will also be sold as 2012 models. The first 991 models will include the Carrera and Carrera S, but there will be a few 997 Carrera and S 2012 models available as production concludes. Confused yet? It gets worse. Initially, the 991 Carrera and Carrera S will only be available as coupes, with convertible models to follow along with a multitude of other 911 models.
The all-new 2012 Porsche 911 (991) Carrera and Carrera S feature 19-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, automatic wipers, heated side mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, partial leather upholstery, four-way power-adjustable sport seats with manual fore/aft, split-folding rear seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, partial leather seats, a faux suede headliner, a touchscreen electronics interface, Bluetooth, a navigation system and a nine-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, USB/iPod integration and an auxiliary audio jack.
The Carrera S version has this equipment plus 20-inch wheels, a more powerful engine, larger brakes and an active suspension with selectable Sport or Normal driving modes. The larger wheels and active suspension are available options on the Carrera.
Stand-alone options include polished aluminum exterior trim, front and rear parking sensors, a rear window wiper, folding mirrors, a sunroof, ceramic composite brakes, a torque-vectoring differential, variable power steering, a sport exhaust, full leather seats, a full leather interior, 14-way power sport seats with driver memory, Sport Seat Plus (18-way power seats with more side bolstering) and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel.
There are also bundled options. The Sport Chrono package includes dynamic engine mounts, a dash-top stopwatch, a performance display, adjustable drive settings,