That continues to be the case with the new seventh-generation 911 (991) line, which launched as Carrera and Carrera S models, in Coupé and Cabriolet form for the 2012 model year. Other variants continued to be built on the previous (997) platform.
Now the next phase of the transition begins with the introduction of the all-wheel-drive (AWD) Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S Coupé and Cabriolet at the Paris auto show in September.
They will become available in Canada early in 2013.
Porsche Traction Management
In most respects, the AWD versions are identical to their rear-wheel-drive counterparts, including their lightweight body design, suspension, engines and gearboxes. The significant exception is the addition of the latest version of the Porsche Traction Management (PTM) active all-wheel drive system.
Porsche’s PTM is said to "look ahead," then feed power to the front wheels via a multiple-plate clutch, as it determines to be optimum for the driving conditions. It does so within 100 milliseconds, which Porsche says is faster than even the quickest driver will feel or notice.
Also standard on Carrera 4S models is Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV), which adds a mechanical transverse lock on the rear axle, further enhancing the driving.
Sharing its core structure and features with its rear-wheel-drive siblings, the new 911 Carrera 4 is up to 65 kg lighter and all four models consume significantly less fuel than their immediate predecessors, while providing a higher level of engine and driving performance. Total fuel savings for individual models are as much as 16%.
Visually, the most distinct identifying feature of the AWD 911s, as in earlier versions, is their wide rear bodywork. It is 44-mm wider than in two-wheel drive 911 Carrera models and the rear tires are each 10-mm wider.
The traditional red light band that connects the two taillights has also taken on a new form and is now lighted. In addition, the front air intakes are specific to the Carrera 4 models.
Power, performance and fuel efficiency
All new AWD models have a 7-speed manual gearbox as standard, and the Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) gearbox is available as an option.
Porsche says the 911 Carrera 4 Coupé – with 350-hp, 3.4-litre six-cylinder boxer engine – can accelerate from 0-to-100 km/h in as little as 4.5 seconds (Cabriolet: 4.7 s) and reach a top speed of up to 285 km/h (Cabriolet: 282 km/h), depending on equipment.
NRCan highway fuel consumption ratings with PDK are 7.1 L/100 km for the Coupé and 7.3 L/100 km for the Cabriolet.
With a 400-hp, 3.8-litre engine, the 911 Carrera 4S accelerates from 0-to-100 km/h in 4.1 seconds (4.3 seconds for the Cab), with a top speed of 299 km/h (Cabriolet: 296 km/h), with a suitable equipment configuration.
Inside, a new menu in the instrument cluster informs the driver how the PTM all-wheel drive is distributing power at any given side.
With the debut of the all-wheel drive models Porsche is introducing Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) , which controls both speed and distance to traffic ahead, as an option on the entire 911 range.
When ordered with PDK, the ACC system adds the safety function Porsche Active Safe (PAS), which helps to prevent front-end collisions.
The 911 with a manual gearbox and Sport Chrono pack is now even sportier: In Sport Plus mode, it automatically double-declutches during downshifts.
The addition of the new AWD Carreras is particularly important in Canada as the Carrera 4S was the most popular 911 model in this country in its last iteration.
Prices will start from $103,900 for the 911 Carrera 4 Coupé and $117,400 for the Cabriolet, while the prices for the 911 Carrera 4S begins at $120,500 for the Coupé and $134,100 for Cabriolet.