2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S
2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S. Click image to enlarge
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Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

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2012 Porsche 911

For the worldwide legions who worship at the altar of 9-1-1, the prospect of an all new version of Porsche’s arse-engined icon is met with as much trepidation as giddy anticipation. It’s here, so let the grinning, squirming, hand-wringing, and fist-pumping begin.

The 2012 911 (internally code-named 991 following the outgoing 997… confused?) is as all-new as it gets, this being the seventh generation of that sloped-back Teutonic terror that first roamed the earth way back in 1964. So many questions. What if Porsche frigs it up? Can you make the 911 “better” without compromising its, well, compromises? Will it still look like a 911? And what about that electric steering?

To answer these: They didn’t. They did. Yes, but sexier. Pretty damn good.

2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S
2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S. Click image to enlarge

At first glance, not a lot of newness jumps out. That’s probably good. Gaze a little longer and you’ll start to see a more languid, flowing, and, yes, better resolved interpretation of the classic profile. This newbie is lower, wider, and longer thanks to a 100-mm wheelbase stretch that translates to marginally increased interior dimensions (there is an additional 6 mm of rear legroom if someone wants a ride bad enough). The integrated rear lip crease that runs the width of the car is a fetching touch.

You could even call the new 911 pretty.

This tester, rolling on 20-inch wheels and in Lime Gold ($3,590, thank you) was a head turner. Interestingly, this paint colour was universally loved by male observers (myself included) whereas just about every female hated it.

The 991 (not a typo, remember) initially comes only in rear-wheel drive (Carrera and Carrera S). As such, all 2012 all-wheel-drive 911s are carryover 997 models.
While the 2012 base Carrera is fitted with a 350-hp 3.4L flat-six (replacing the 3.6L), the $110,000 rear-drive S retains its direct-injection dry-sump 3.8L, getting a 15-hp boost to 400 ponies with a 325 lb-ft peak at 5,600 rpm. This car was fitted with the exceptional seven-speed twin-clutch PDK tranny ($4,660) that economically short-shifts in Granny-going-to-bingo mode or will send the flat-six to its 7,500 rpm red line in every gear, seamlessly banging off ratios like Mike Holmes driving in framing nails. Paddles on the refreshingly naked three-spoke wheel give immediate control over the proceedings.

2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S
2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S. Click image to enlarge

Inside, the cabin has an airy ambience thanks to more elbow room, a windshield that sits about 75 mm further away, and, weather and wallet permitting, a full-size sunroof ($1,710). The rising centre console with its array of buttons echoes that of the Panamera, but purists will welcome the classic 911 cliff-face dash.

Ergonomics are vastly improved with HVAC, audio, and other controls more accessible and intuitive. Navigation is standard and of course the driving position is spot on.

Could these optional 18-way adaptive sport seats be the best combination of comfort and support my butt has had the pleasure of experiencing? I believe so.
Initial impressions of this 2012 remake suggest a more compliant ride and increased cabin isolation. The luxury quotient rises too. The cabin looks richer and with this tester a $3,800 upgrade had just about every surface swathed in black leather. Porsche’s quest for improved fuel economy shows in the standard auto start-stop function (defeatable) that shuts down the engine when the car rolls to a stop. How un-911 like.

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