The images in the Gallery below are from photography sessions in which the 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S posed for Porsche’s press gang. There will be criticism and applause in response, but from The Good Car Guy – traditionally a 911 fan because of its on-road capabilities; not its styling – there’s a solid ovation for this 991-generation Carrera.
Going back to 1998 and the 996 Carrera, the disappointment was keen. The headlights were all wrong, it appeared to ride too high in base form, and the delicacy of the new-to-market Boxster made the 911 seem heavy-handed. The 997 Carrera of 2005 fixed those problems and made the interior worthy of the heady price tag, as well. Yet the 911 still felt as though, if you didn’t know any better, these were simple restyles of a car that had been around for decades.
Now this 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera (pictured above), and the Carrera S from the image Gallery, is a retinkering on design terms, and yet that tinkering has gone far enough to make the 991-generation Porsche 911 a thoroughly modern package. Obviously the 911 has been a thoroughly modern package for years, but in defense of my theory, understand that I’m not talking about the ridiculous levels of technology or the powertrain advancements. No, photos of this 2012 Porsche Carrera convince me that parking a basic 911 beside something as gorgeous as an Aston Martin V8 Vantage or as visually arresting as a Nissan GT-R won’t have all eyes looking away from the Porsche.
How did this result come about? The wheelbase is 10 centimetres longer and the 911’s ride height has been reduced. In truth, that about did it. In profile, the primary view by which vehicle styling should be judged, the new 911’s stretch presents a longer, lower, leaner appearance. Yes, the headlights are round and the engine’s in the back and the roof rises steeply and falls gently. It is, after all, still very much a Porsche 911. But it’s different enough to look very new and very good.
Here are a handful of other details you’ll demand to know. A garden variety 991 Porsche 911 will feature a 350 horsepower 3.4L boxer-six cylinder. The Carrera S makes 400-hp from a 3.8L boxer-six. As standard the Carrera S rides on 20-inch wheels. Porsche’s PDK remains as an option. However, you’ll want to at least test drive the world’s first 7-speed manual transmission.
As for Sales Stats, Porsche sold 3783 911s in the United States in the first seven months of 2011. That’s up 7.3% from the first seven months of last year. The 911 makes up 21% of all Porsche USA sales this year. Porsche ended 2010 having sold 5737 911s in the United States, down 16.1% from 2009.
In Canada, Porsche 911 sales rose 6.1% to 525 in 2010. Through July, Canadian 911 sales are down 5.7% to 361, forming 23% of all Porsche Canada sales. Many of these cars, as would be the case in the United States as well, aren’t basic or even 911 Carrera S models. They’re GT2s or Turbos or Cabriolets, 991 versions of which haven’t yet been introduced.