2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S Review

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The Porsche 911 debuted in 1965 with a 148-horsepower flat-six, "boxer" engine that could propel the lightweight sports car to 60 mph in a respectable but unimpressive 9 seconds, and a top speed of 134 mph. As time went on and technology advanced, the 911 became one of the greatest sports cars to ever grace the asphalt. In 2012, the Carrera S variant of the 911 rolled into its seventh generation, which incorporated plenty of aesthetic and performance updates.

Exterior

  • The Porsche 911 has long been one of the slowest-evolving vehicles in terms of restyling, as its shape still slightly resembles the original 1963 model. For 2012, things got even stranger for Stuttgart, Germany’s pride and joy, as the 911 Carrera and Carrera S entered in a new generation with a complete redesign, and the rest of the 911 lineup remained in sixth-generation format.

    Typical for Porsche, this redesign of the 2012 Carrera S wasn't revolutionary, as it retained the basic shape of the sixth-gen 911, with minor tweaks. These tweaks included a revised front fascia with elongated air vents and front repeaters to give the 911 Carrera S a wider look; mirrors repositioned to the top edge of the door panel instead of the corner of the door glass; longer and thinner taillights; a wider rear spoiler; and wider front and rear wheel arches for a beefier look.

    The 911 Carrera also became slightly larger in 2012, as Porsche extended its overall length by 2.2 inches to 176.8 inches and its wheelbase by 3.9 inches to 96.5. Despite the fatter wheel arches, the 911 Carrera S’ overall width remained at 71.2 inches and its height grew slightly to 51.3 inches. Lastly, the Carrera S went on a healthy diet of aluminum-steel composite to help drop 100 pounds, which brought its curb weight to 3,042 pounds.

Interior

  • On the inside there were some changes, as well. The front seats came standard with a new four-way power adjustment and Porsche revised the rear seats to allow them to fold forward separately to allow for 7.2 cubic-feet of luggage space.

    Also revised was the automatic climate control, as Porsche worked hard to lower its noise output while also making it more efficient.

    Standard features on the inside of the 2012 911 Carrera included: a nine-speaker, 235-watt AM-FM-MP3-CD-DVD audio system; Porsche Communication Management; Bluetooth hands-free connectivity; leather-wrapped, three-spoke sport steering wheel; Alcantara headliner; power windows and doors; Homelink; cruise control; and grained-leather seating.

Drivetrain

  • The 2012 Carrera S came standard with a 3.8-liter boxer-style six-cylinder engine that produced 400 horsepower at 7,400 rpm and 325 foot-pounds of torque at 5,600 rpm. This was an increase of 15 horsepower and 15 foot-pounds of torque over the previous generation. To help increase fuel economy, Porsche fitted the 2012 911 Carrera S with an automatic stop-start system that shut the engine off at stop lights.

    This potent six-cylinder powerplant was mated to an industry-first, seven-speed manual transmission as standard that delivered the power to the rear wheels. Buyers could opt for the PDK automated-manual transmission for a little added performance and convenience.

    The standard “Sport” button remapped the engine and sharpened throttle response for a sportier feel almost instantaneously. On PDK-equipped models, the “Sport” button also revised the shift points.

    With the optional Sport Chrono Package, the 911 Carrera S with a manual gearbox could hit 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds, and the PDK-equipped model could reach 60 mph in 3.9 ticks of the second hand. Top speed was 188 mph and 187 mph, respectively.

Handling and Braking

  • The 2012 911 Carrera was a true track car with all of the modern technology needed to keep the sports car glued to the tarmac. Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control was new for the 2012 model year and activates hydraulic actuators when it sensed the vehicle entering a corner. This helped keep the body from rolling toward the outside of the corner and maximized tire contact on the road.

    Porsche Stability Management and Porsche Torque Vectoring helped keep the car headed in its intended direction by the former applying the brakes on a slipping wheel or briefly reducing power to prevent loss of control. Additionally, PSM pre-pressurized the brake system when it sensed the driver lifting his foot off of the accelerator pedal abruptly, so the brakes were primed for action.

    The PTV system is a locking differential system – mechanical with a manual transmission and electronic with the PDK transmission – that helped keep the 911 stable. On PDK-equipped models,, the PTV system also applied the brakes to the inside wheel in hard cornering to allow the outer wheel to push the car through the corner.

    The braking system on the 2012 Carrera S included 13.4-by-1.3-inch perforated rotors up front and 13-by-1.7-inch rotors on the rear. A set of aluminum, six-pot caliper did the squeezing up front, while four-piston calipers took care of the rear.

    The Carrera S sat on a set of 20-inch five-double-spoke wheels sized 8.5 inches up front and 11 inches out back. These wheels were wrapped up in 245/35ZR20 tires up front and 295/30ZR20 on the rear.

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  • Photo Credit Feng Li/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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