Specifications prices Modifications and Image 2011 Porsche 911
Here are the first decent spy shots we’ve seen of the 2011 Porsche 911 in something resembling its own metal; it’s the car which Porschephiles call the 998, although it's actually being referred to internally as the 991. Clearly, this prototype wears the expected placeholder front lighting elements—these ones cribbed from a pre-face-lift version of the current 997-gen Carrera—bulging from tacked-on front fender extensions that conceal a flatter, Panamera-like nose. The roofline and doors appear very close in design to the current model—no surprise there—but the rear fenders of this car conceal a vastly wider track than the current 911, leading us to believe that this car could be an all-wheel-drive 4 or 4S model.
Build quality is exceptional in the 2011 Porsche 911. Even those surfaces not swathed in soft hide are made with material that's pretty consistent with the cow-sourced stuff. Other material highlights include a standard Alcantara headliner and deep carpet that extends up onto the doors, eliminating the possibility of scuffing any sort of lower door plastic.
As far as interior space goes, it doesn't get much better in the sports car realm. Sure, the 2+2 rear seats are mostly useless, but when folded, they provide a large cargo space that complements the frunk (front trunk). Up front, the supportive bucket seats do a great job of holding both driver and passenger in place while cornering.
Roomy footwells and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel mean the 911 can accommodate drivers of nearly all sizes. Interior controls are relatively simple to operate, and items like navigation, Bluetooth, the iPod interface and ventilated seats help make this sports car a viable daily driver.
With its signature sloping rear, the 911 has always needed all the aero help it can get. Thus, the appendage on this prototype’s back end, which appears to be sprouting the grille of a Kenworth, is in fact merely shrouding the latest iteration of the deployable rear spoiler that has helped keep the rear end of every standard Carrera since 1990 on the ground at triple-digit speeds. New, however, is the roof-mounted spoiler that deploys from the leading edge of the rear window. Front active spoilers are also said to be in the works, which this car’s odd, droopy lower front air dam and hash-style flaps on the fascia must be intended to impersonate.
But Porsche may think that even those measures are not enough, and rumors have swirled about how Porsche plans to make this one slip through the wind even better. Some suggest that Porsche may use active vents that open and close in order to stabilize the car in corners, and others claims that the 911 could be the first car to do away with side mirrors in favor of some other rear vision devices. Indeed, could cameras—not parking sensors—be peering through those small dimples in the corners of the rear bumper.
Porsche set the stage for the RS 4.0 as nothing less than an all-out performance machine, noting that it packs the largest displacement engine ever to come in a factory-baked 911. As the name suggests, that engine is a 4.0-liter version of Porsche's flat-six, equipped with forged pistons, titanium connecting rods, and the same crankshaft as found in the GT3 RSR racer. The result is a solid 500 horsepower at 8250 rpm (and an eyebrow-raising 125 horses per liter), with 339 pound-feet of torque available at 5750 rpm and a power-to-weight ratio of 5.99 lbs/hp.
The car is, natürlich, fitted only with a six-speed manual transmission, which has gear ratios specifically designed for track work. Porsche says the car can hit 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and 124 mph in 12.0 seconds, with a maximum velocity of 193 mph. Of course, those are the exact same benchmarks as Porsche specifies for the standard GT3 RS, which offers 450 horsepower from its 3.8-liter flat-six. That means the 4.0's quoted times may be on the conservative side, but we'll have to wait until we're offered some track time with a RS 4.0 to know for certain.
Straight-line blasts aside, the car should be just as competent on the track as its GT3 RS progenitor. Porsche says the RS 4.0 reportedly lapped Germany's famed Nürburgring in 7:27, a time that will no doubt light up Internet forums for the next six months (look out, Nissan GT-R). The rapid time was facilitated in part by a low curb weight of 2998 pounds, 22 fewer than the GT3 RS. Dietary measures include carbon-fiber front fenders and front trunk lid, lighter carpeting, and carbon-fiber bucket seats. The large rear wing and front "dive plane" aerodynamic add-ons keep the car stuck to the road at speed, conspiring for a claimed 426 pounds of downforce at 193 mph.
Every 2011 Porsche 911 comes with antilock ventilated disc brakes, stability control and front, side and side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, the Carrera 4 and the Turbo came to a stop from 60 mph in 104 feet. The GT3 stopped in 99 feet. Given this excellent performance, you'd only need the available ceramic composite brakes if you frequent high-performance driving events.
For a car with an exaggerated rear weight bias, it's always impressive how beautifully composed this classically designed Porsche remains in corners. While 911s of yore earned a reputation for tricky at-the-limit handling, with the exception of the hard-core GT2 RS, those demons have long been exorcised -- especially when you get an AWD model. The 2011 Porsche 911 is all about composure and man-machine communication (that goes double for the phenomenal GT3), and it has a lightweight finesse to it that no bruising Nissan GT-R can match.
The PDK transmission is a welcome happy medium for those who desire the traffic-friendly nature of not having a clutch, yet still want the rapid shift performance of a traditional manual. However, we're not fans of the awkward shift buttons. These can be replaced with optional shift paddles on the Turbo, but sadly you can't get them on other models.