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Culture / Cars

The Most Striking Porsche Ever

Trendsetting Sports Car Brand Revs Up Its Game — Again

BY Jim Shi // 11.11.16

Turning heads since 1963, the Porsche 911 remains the world’s most admired and, thanks to more than two dozen variants, accessible sports cars. Its iconic exterior immediately recognizable, the road hugging coupe has profited from countless upgrades scattered over roughly seven generations — helping maintain its curves in all the right places without projecting even the slightest iota of design fatigue.

With familiarity part of its immense popularity, the 911 is still, first and foremost, recognized for its mechanical pedigree: the unmatched handling, the modern power trains, the outstanding 0-60 mph times and, of course, that enticing flat six-cylinder rear-mounted engine.

Dubbed internally as the 991.2, this second iteration, mid-cycle refresh of the seventh generation 911 is by far the most striking modern Porsche (pronounced PORSH-uh) ever. Although subtle, the surface changes are significant: new, and iconic, four-point daytime running lights square off the oval headlights and, on AWD 4S models, the light strip between the rear lights is sharper with a wider rear end with flared wheel arches.

The 911 lineup runs the gamut from the standard (and fabulous) Carrera all the way up to the track-oriented GT3 RS. While nothing beats the sheer joy of a lightweight 911 mated to a manual gearbox, the exceptional PDK dual-clutch automatic posts faster acceleration times. Its new flat-six engine, fitted with standard twin turbos and downsized to 3.0 liters, provides a 20-hp bump with more torque at much lower rpm. Opt for the Sport Exhaust System and a pair of round twin-exhaust pipes get mounted in the middle — much like its racing-oriented siblings.

porsche 911
The Porsche 911

And how sweet the sound emanating from those pipes. In normal mode at low speed it’s refined inside and out. In sport mode with the baffles opened, that enticing warble explodes with fervor and scintillating power. It’s this dynamism that is so endearing about the 911 — which starts at $89,400 and goes up from there.

The 911 Carrera uses a new, lightweight twin-turbocharged 3-liter flat six-cylinder engine that makes 370 hp, or 20 hp more than the outgoing engine, while twin turbocharging makes 331 lb-ft of torque available.

The Sport Chrono package includes the GT steering wheel, which is features a drive mode switch derived from the 918 Spyder hypercar. Drivers can toggle between Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual Mode, which is a customized blend of inputs. Porsche Active Suspension Management (adjustable dampers) is now standard.

Inside, Porsche’s new infotainment system (Porsche Communication Management) is a pure delight to use — and one of the best this writer has ever utilized. Highlights include handwriting recognition on the seven-inch touch screen that mimics one’s iPhone: Pinch and zoom, rotate maps and connect with Apple Car Play.

The rear seat backs fold down to extend a bit more space from the little hatch shelf above the engine. Not enough for two sets of golf clubs, but there is enough space for longer, flatter items that won’t fit in the front trunk, or frunk.

There is something about the 911’s essence that is more than just a car. It’s intelligent, athletic, sexy, dynamic, adaptable, restrained yet dangerously powerful, confident yet sensitive to its surroundings.

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