Like any updated car whose changes stop short of a full redesign, the 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera bears the typical scars of midcycle fiddling. There are new headlights, new taillights, and a new touch-screen dashboard display. And that matters not one iota to us. In fact, those are but infinitesimal flickers in a grand night sky compared to the new 911’s biggest step forward, which requires you step back and peek under the engine covers of the Carrera and Carrera S. There, affixed to familiar flat-six engines, you’ll find twin turbochargers. Close the lids, and nary a script “Turbo” badge is visible.
We have entered a brave new world in which the base 911 Carrera and its zippier Carrera S sibling have given up natural breathing for forced induction. It’s been expected for some time that Porsche would drop the Carrera duo’s naturally aspirated flat-sixes for turbocharged versions. Still, now that it has happened, we can’t help but lament the loss of Porsche’s signature and wonderful-sounding non-turbo flat-six. And that’s all the space we’ll devote to our mourning period. The new engine, shared in essentially the same form by both the Carrera and Carrera S, is a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged ball of mechanical fury.
In the Carrera, the twin-turbo engine produces 370 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque; different compressor wheels, a special exhaust setup, and a specific ECU tune nets the Carrera S 420 horsepower and 368 lb-ft of torque. Both entry-level 911 models now serve up 20 horsepower more than their non-turbocharged predecessors, while the Carrera’s torque peak rises by 44 lb-ft and the S’s swells by 43. Both Carreras can register 7500 rpm on their tachometers, a lofty engine speed for a turbocharged engine. And both are said to be 12 percent more fuel efficient, although final EPA fuel-economy estimates are still forthcoming.
Porsche claims that the 911 Carrera with the PDK automatic transmission and the Sport Chrono package shaves 0.2 second off of its zero-to-60 time (for a 4.0-second run) while increasing its top speed to 183 mph. The S is said to hit 60 in 3.7 seconds, again a 0.2-second improvement, while achieving 191 mph on the top end. We recorded a 4.4-second zero-to-60 time and a 182-mph top speed in a manual-transmission 2012 911 Carrera, and the best we’ve gotten from a Carrera S—also a 2012 model—was 3.6 seconds to 60 (top speed was claimed to be 188 mph). That means Porsche’s performance estimates for both turbocharged 911s are, as is usually the case, conservative. As far as transitions affecting iconic nameplates with far-reaching consequences for enthusiasts’ nostalgia go, Porsche’s embrace of the turbo is looking good.
The Other Noteworthy Notables
The turbos’ only visual giveaways are a pair of 911 Turbo–like vents in the rear bumper, a retro-appearing cooling panel on the rear deck, and new exhaust outlets. A quadrant of LED lamps in each headlight and taillight—which is fast becoming Porsche’s lighting signature—is standard. Functional improvements were thrown at the 911’s interior and chassis, too. A new seven-inch touch-screen infotainment display offers Apple CarPlay integration, touch response familiar to smartphone users (e.g. pinch, pull, swipe), and Google Earth and Street View maps. The screen it replaces did none of those things, and it did so while looking dated and being somewhat tedious to use.
Every Carrera now has Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) standard; the previously optional (on the Carrera, they were standard on the S) active dampers lower the ride height by 0.4 inch and are keyed into a new steering-wheel-mounted drive-mode selector on models equipped with the Sport Chrono package. The selector is derived from that on the 918 Spyder and includes Normal, Sport, Sport Plus, and Individual settings that, depending on which options are selected, manipulate the settings for the transmission (on PDK-equipped cars), exhaust, PASM, and the engine stop-start feature.
There’s trickle-down technology elsewhere on the new cars’ chassis, with the rear-wheel-steering apparatus from the 911 Turbo and GT3 now available on the Carrera S, as well as a supercar-like front-end suspension-lift feature within the 911’s front struts that, at the press of a button, raises the car 1.6 inches vertically to eke out extra ground clearance for steep driveways and speed bumps. The rear wheels are half an inch wider than before—now 11.5 inches—and the S gets mighty fat 305 (vs. 295)-width tires.
In the Don’t Care, It’s Boring category of 2017 911 improvements, there are new safety features such as post-collision braking and blind-spot monitoring, as well as a coasting feature built into the adaptive cruise control on models with the PDK transmission. File these enhancements along with everything else that isn’t the new twin-turbocharged engine. As we said, the new engine is the updated 911’s most significant change. Well, that and the new prices. Assuming Porsche’s $995 destination charge holds, a 2017 911 Carrera will run $90,395—that’s $5100 more than a 2016 Carrera—when it goes on sale in March 2016. A $4500 increase applies to the 2017 Carrera S, which will start at $104,395. The Carrera cabriolet is $5500 more ($102,695), while the Carrera S cabriolet is now $4900 dearer ($116,695). For the added power and standard equipment, we can’t argue with those price increases. Will we miss the naturally aspirated flat-six? The better question is: Where can we find some sweet used “Turbo” badges?
source: caranddriver.com By ALEXANDER STOKLOSA