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2009 Porsche 911 Overview

For 45 years, the Porsche 911 has set the standard as one of the world's legendary sports cars, thanks to its timeless design, innovative German engineering, and hold-on-to-your-hat performance. And the 911 shows no signs of slowing down, as it gets even faster and sportier for 2009. For starters, two new engines drive the 911: Porsche drops a 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine into the 911 Carrera (and Targa 4) trims, while the Carrera S (and Targa 4S) trims receive a new 3.8-liter six-cylinder. Both engines feature direct injection, a first for the 911, which ensures better fuel efficiency and lower emissions, as well as a boost in horsepower.

The Carrera's 3.6-liter six-cylinder pumps out 345 hp, an increase of 20 hp over the previous year's engine, while horsepower for the 3.8-liter six in the Carrera S jumps to 385, an increase of 30 hp over the previous year's powerplant. Torque increases as well, with the 3.6-liter producing 288 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 (up from 273 the previous year), and the 3.8-liter producing 310 lb-ft at 6,500 rpm (up from 295 in 2008), resulting in better acceleration and overall performance. In addition, the new six-cylinder boxer (horizontally opposed) engines have 40 percent fewer parts and weigh less than previous engines, improving overall efficiency.

Both engines link to either a six-speed manual transmission or a new optional seven-speed PDK (Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe) automatic transmission, which replaces the Tiptronic S. This dual-clutch, air-cooled transmission, which has received high marks from reviewers, offers a range of shift modes designed to provide spirited acceleration, better fuel economy, or a combination of the two. Overall, the PDK transmission provides up to 60% faster shifting, and along with the new engines, drives the 911 Carrera from 0 to 60 in 4.5 seconds and the Carrera S to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds.

Like the Tiptronic transmission it replaces, the PDK offers drivers the option of shifting manually using ergonomic paddle shifters integrated into the three-spoke sports steering wheel. Drivers can press or pull either paddle to shift up or down, or use the gear lever to shift.

Porsche matches the new engines and transmission with a number of other upgrades for 2009. Exterior improvements include bi-xenon headlights, which now come standard, and larger air intakes up front, which enhance engine cooling. Porsche also restyled the 911's rear end for improved aerodynamics, and added LED taillights and new stainless steel exhaust pipes. Modified exterior mirrors provide improved rear views. In addition, the Carrera receives new, wider 18-inch wheels, while the Carrera S gets wider 19-inch wheels.

Inside, Porsche redesigned the 911's front center console and added a new Porsche Communication Management center with a 6.5-inch touchscreen, which drivers can use to control the 13-speaker Bose Surround Sound audio system, XM satellite radio, navigation system, and Bluetooth phone, as well as a connected iPod or MP3 player. Other interior features include standard partial leather seats with electric backrest adjustment.

Porsche also added larger brakes with greater stopping power, an enhanced stability management system with brake assist, and an enhanced two-mode Active Suspension Management system, which provides a sportier or more comfortable ride, depending on the driver's preference. The ASM system comes standard on Carrera S trims and is optional on Carrera trims.

Drivers can choose from a total of ten 911 trims for 2009, including the hardtop, rear-wheel-drive Carrera and Carrera S; the hardtop, all-wheel drive Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S; the convertible, rear-wheel-drive Carrera Cabriolet and Carrera S Cabriolet; the convertible, all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 Cabriolet and Carrera 4S Cabriolet; and the sliding-glass-roofed, all-wheel-drive Targa 4 and Targa 4S.


Rob has been a contributor to CarGurus since 2007, and an automotive test-driver and writer since the early ’90s. He’s test-driven everything from BMWs and Jags to Bentleys and Saabs, with an occasional Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini thrown in. He also created the annual Car of the Year and Exotic Car of the Year awards for Robb Report magazine. He currently resides in California.

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