Inside Story: 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK porsche inside story
Inside Story: 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK porsche inside story
Inside Story: 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK porsche inside story
2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK. Click image to enlarge

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2009 Porsche 911

Leave your heel-and-toe, your friction points, and your shifter savvy at the door. It’s over. It’s done. Your driving mettle has been officially reduced to two pedals. Porsche has built an automatic transmission that no test driver could better by traditional manual gearbox means. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that the Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) is actually a manual transmission with dual electro-hydraulic clutch packs. (Or maybe it’s German for the Apple Dumpling Gang.) Whatever it is, the Inside Story question is simple; does it work? There’s a surprising amount of new additions within the Carrera S for Oh-Nine, which carries an as-tested MSRP of $133,160. (Prices shown do not include freight, taxes, regional incentives, or out-of-body experiences.)

The cockpit/centre stack

As much as I can appreciate the need for 0-to-60 mph blasts in the four-ish second range, I have found myself struggling in press Porsches of my recent past. My issue surrounds the lack of new creature comforts, whether they be driver-specific or cupholder-terrific. The good news is that the Carrera team is not resting on their lederhosen. Let’s begin with the three-spoke Multifunction Steering Wheel, with manual tilt and telescopic thrust. It’s also equipped with the best $260 you’ll ever spend on an option box tick; heat. The switch is cleverly hidden on the backside of the downspoke.

The trackwheel access dials will certainly appeal to those members of the Blackberry Nation. Even without the optional voice prompt interface, the trackwheels can easily access the navigation system and phone functions.

Inside Story: 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK porsche inside story
2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK. Click image to enlarge

(That’s right; you can actually ‘dial’ a phone number again!) Speaking of dialing, the previous Porsche Communication Management’s numeric pad has been eliminated, now incorporated into a larger touch screen. Your wireless phone can make a Bluetooth handshake for hands-free operation, or you can opt to plug in your handset’s SIM card: very Jason Bourne.

Conversations with unsuspecting members of the Clark Inner Circle returned reports of impressive voice quality while in hands-free mode. HVAC controls incorporate an Auto temperature setting. The Fun Button array is found below the HVAC controls, AKA Sport, Sport Plus, Porsche Stability Management cancel, and adjustable shock dampening. (The Sport Plus engine/transmission mapping will have you speaking in tongues, with extra drool.) The PDK is engaged like any automatic shift. Leave it in ‘D’, and enjoy your fuel savings as you tool about town in 7th gear, at 60 km/h.

Inside Story: 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK porsche inside story
Inside Story: 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK porsche inside story
Inside Story: 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK porsche inside story
2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK. Click image to enlarge

Your manual needs can be satisfied via the steering wheel-mounted paddles, or by locking the floor shift into the manual shift quadrant. Whichever method you choose, your inputs will be rewarded with non-existent lag between shifts. Windshield wipers get rain sense, with heated washer nozzles. Speaking of heat, the exterior self-dimming power mirrors receive the much-needed Electro-Warmth. The keen Stuttgart eye will notice that the exterior mirrors have increased in size, with a spring-loaded breakaway. Window lifts include Auto descent/ascent.

Cubbies!

The usual gang of suspects appears for your stuff within the Carrera, such as the flock-lined locking glove-box, swing-out/concealed dual cupholders, and armrest flip-top cubbies. But what’s this? Nestled within the confines of the centre console is the optional Universal Audio Interface, with auxiliary inputs for USB, iPod, and the lowly yet effective plug-in jack. In the Little Known Facts Department, the Carrera S is equipped with four coathooks; one on each seatback, and one on each B-pillar, because you’ll never know when you have to switch the blue blazer/ascot for the corduroy/elbow patch, or the leather for the synthetic substitute. (And people wonder why I don’t date.) Speaking of dates, a sure way to end one would be to add spark to any form of tobacco product within this S. And yet, the Carrera is still equipped with a smoker’s package, with no sign of a delete option box.

The overhead

This is the first Carrera I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy with the power sunroof, which opts for a steel panel instead of a Windex-hungry glass pane. There’s a proper pop-up wind deflector included. Provisions exist for future accessory racking, and the satellite/GPS antenna has been tastefully incorporated into the rear of the panel. Inside, backlit vanity mirrors are joined by an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and Homelink access keys.

Inside Story: 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK porsche inside story
Inside Story: 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK porsche inside story
Inside Story: 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK porsche inside story
2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK. Click image to enlarge
Seat treat

I’m a little confused here. The Power Comfort Seats include electrical adjustments for all manner of comfort tuning, including driver and passenger lumbar bladders. (Note the handy-dandy power release switchery for the trunk and engine compartment.) There’s even two-step heat, and three-step ventilation, which can actually be used together. Here’s where it gets weird; the driver’s seat has three memory positions. Hmmmm. Oh, I get it! Those three settings are to adjust for my wardrobe selections based on the seasons! For a minute there, I thought it was for other drivers. Like that would ever happen.

After much coaxing, the Inside Story Comfort Dummy made his debut appearance in the rear ‘seat’ of a Carrera. (11) When he regained consciousness, he embarked on an incoherent rant involving compressed vertebrae and legal action. He did mention that the wedging of his noggin’ against the headliner would be particularly useful to counter-act G-force loads during four-passenger track testing. Like that would ever happen.

Cargo embargo

Instead of Comfort Dummies, why not use the Carrera rear seats as a cargo platform for you and a significant other’s weekend getaway? Or maybe a Costco run. Either way, the Carrera line has ample storage possibilities for your stuff, be it of dreams or ointment creams.

Spare care

Inside Story: 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK porsche inside story
Inside Story: 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK porsche inside story
Inside Story: 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK porsche inside story
2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK. Click image to enlarge

Save weight, drives great! Instead of a cargo-robbing, acceleration-hogging spare tire, Porsche has opted for an air compressor/magic sealing goo combo. Roadside assistance is provided during the first four years or 80,000 kilometres of ownership.

The mill

Is it me, or can I almost make out a flat boxer six in there? Revamps to the induction system appear to have opened up accessibility to the 3.8-litre 385-horsepower mill, though your driveway tweaks are pretty much limited to fluid checks.

The Verdict

Even the most casual observer of Inside Story is probably expecting the preceding fawning session to be a five-star slam-dunk. So back into the archives I dove. The 911 brand has continually made the most of its tweaks and adjustments since 1964, and will most likely continue doing so after I’m in a pine box. It has always been about the performance first, and when you consider that we’re now sitting at 4.3 seconds to reach 60 miles an hour, (I checked, repeatedly.) the MSRP seems downright reasonable. The interior tech is starting to keep pace with the times, so let’s hope that this new direction refuses to rest on its laurels. If only one could rest in the back seat. Four stars.

Next week: 2008 Mitsubishi Endeavor