Tag Archives: 911

First Look: Porsche 911 (991) Carrera S

22 Feb

The New Porsche 911 (991) Carrera S

Changing something that works isn’t easy. Case in point, the Porsche 911. Roughly every seven years Porsche’s iconic nameplate gets reincarnated, becoming more modern, powerful and efficient with each redesign.  Now in its seventh generation, the two-door sports car has come to symbolize the very essence of what the brand stands for. It’s not just a Porsche, it’s the Porsche.

With the latest 911, the 991, beginning to arrive in showrooms around the U.S., I wanted to get an in-person look at the new Carrera S to see if the changes to the exterior and interior resulted in success or failure.

When compared to its predecessor, the 997, the 991 is .20 inches shorter in overall height, .98 inches longer and has a wider track than the previous generation. Those figures might seem unsubstantial, and they are, especially when the wheelbase has grown by 3.90 inches. The expanded wheelbase is immediately noticeable, giving the car a lower, sleeker stance. A longer car might seem like a waste of raw materials to many people, but it’s actually a good thing. Increasing the wheelbase enables the 991 to have a lower center of gravity, this in-turn, gives the vehicle better stability and control at high speeds. And with a top speed of 188 miles per hour, or 187 miles per hour with the brands seven-speed Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) transmission, you’ll be thanking the engineers for the improvement.

The New Porsche 911 (991) Carrera S

Other prominent exterior changes include the rear taillights, which has a thinner and more blade-like design, and the rear spoiler is has been created to blend cleanly into the rear when not in use. The headlights and taillights have been pushed to the very edges, giving both ends of the vehicle an even wider appearance. As with the spoiler, the sunroof features a new design as well. Instead of sliding into a portion of the roof itself, the glass slides outside the car. When fully retracted the sunroof keeps the streamlined styling intact while maintaining maximum interior headroom

Interior of the new Porsche 911 (991)

The interior has changed just as much as the exterior. But once again, Porsche has been careful to preserve the overall feel and appearance, consistent with all 911 models. Upon entering the passenger cabin the center console instantly grabs your attention. With a sloped figure that leads up to the bottom of the center dash it strongly resembles the center console in the four-door Panamera. Within the center are a number of controls, all clustered together below the PDK gear selector. Of the two 991 Carrera S’ in attendance both were equipped with the aforementioned PDK, not the seven-speed manual I was hoping for.

Besides the center console much of the interior has stayed true to form. The familiar five-gauge instrument cluster allows the driver to keep track of engine speed, vehicle speed, oil pressure, oil temperature, water temperature and fuel level. Aluminum door handles and trim pieces stretched across the dashboard. Overall the interior is a success, the supple leather, high-quality fit and finish is consistent with what you would expect to find on a top-of-the-line sports car. There was just one thing missing, cup holders. Neither example presented has this simple, yet handy option. The aluminum trim has breaks in two sections on the passenger side of the vehicle. As seen in the 997 and Panamera, I expected these to yield to my touch, exposing a concealed cup holder. However I was mistaken. Although this might not be as important as other optional features, the ability to have a bottle of water properly secured, not rolling around on the seat or floor, while on a spirited drive is useful and practical, at least to me.

Doubters continually question how much more innovation can be developed for a model that is now 47 years old, but Porsche seems to have done it yet again. They have adapted an age-old design with modern technology, performance and styling. The 991 might not be the rawest 911 ever made, but it certainly lives up to the hype.

3.8L Flat Six Cylinder Engine in the Porsche 911 (991) Carrera S

© 2012 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

Advertisements

2013 SL63 AMG Unleashed Before Geneva Auto Show

22 Feb

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG: Photo Courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America

Remember the days when it used to take a manufacturer months, if not years to develop a high-performance variant of a model? Well, in anticipation of the 2012 Geneva Auto Show the new SL63 AMG has been unveiled just five weeks after the SL550 made its initial debut.

The new SL63 AMG is lighter, more powerful and is up to 30 percent more efficient than its predecessor. Much like the Porsche 911 (991), Mercedes’ most iconic drop-top has turned to an aluminum bodyshell, reducing overall weight by 275 pounds, counteracting the added technological and safety features that contribute to a greater load. Now, the SL63 AMG is not a light car by any means. With a curb weight of 4,059 pounds it weighs just 500 pounds less than a full-size Chevrolet Silverado 1500.

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG: Photo Courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America

Less mass to accelerate is always a good thing when it comes to a vehicle’s performance, but its even better when less is combined with more, namely in the form of horsepower and torque. For the first time the SL63 AMG will be available with two different power outputs. A standard SL63 AMG comes equipped with the same 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8 found in the CLS63, E63 and CL63 AMGs. In its tamest form the hand-built, power plant cranks out 530 horsepower at 5,500 rpm, and 590 lb-ft of torque from 2000-4500 rpm.

For most, this would be more than enough. But if you want to experience the engine’s full potential you can opt for the optional AMG Performance Package. This boosts the output from 530 hp and 590 lb-ft to 557 hp and 664 lb-ft. The added horsepower and torque aids in 0-60 times too, allowing the SL63 AMG to accelerate to the mark in 4.1 seconds, one tenth quicker than without the package. Other changes include AMG performance steering wheel, limited slip differential and red-painted brake calipers.

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG: Photo Courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America

Putting the power to the rear wheels is the familiar seven-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT sport transmission found in the majority of AMG models. The four driving modes; Controlled Efficiency (C), Sport (S) , Sport plus (S+) and Manual (M) work in conjunction with a revised and upgraded AMG sport suspension and a new electro-mechanical steering system. Additional options include a locking rear differential, AMG performance suspension and ceramic high performance compound brakes and an increased top speed from 155 to 186 mph.

Exterior design has maintained largely the same as the previous generation. The front has a lower and streamlined appearance. The grill is still emblazoned with the oversized three-point silver star, but fog lights integrated into the lower grill have been replaced with sleek LEDs below the headlights. The rear of the 2013 SL63 AMG has changed more than the front, with taillights that are almost entirely red in color. The rear diffuser has been significantly reduced in size, and the AMG sport exhaust tips have changed from round to a trapezoidal shape.

The SL63 AMG will go on sale later this year. If you’re looking for a premium luxury roadster with plenty of creature comforts, and performance that will keep pace with all but the fastest Porsches, this might be the vehicle for you. However, you better have deep pockets. Although no pricing has been announced you can expect a base MSRP in-excess on $140,000.

Interior of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG: Photo Courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America

© 2012 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

At First Glance: All-New 2012 Porsche 911

23 Aug

By Matt McCarron

2012 Porsche 911: Courtesy Porsche North America

After months of partially disguised “spy” photos and unofficial press photos, it’s finally here. Today Porsche officially released the first details and photos of the their most revered vehicle, the 911. After nearly five decades of production the rear-engined Porsche 911 has become one of the most iconic and recognizable automobiles in the world.

Despite having subtle changes over the years the tradition of the 911 has remained largely unchanged. The 2012 911, designated the 991 internally, has stayed true to those roots. Although Porsche says the vehicle is “all-new”, many non-enthusiasts might claim the 991 looks nearly identical to its predecessor the 997. However, a closer look at the new 911 reveals many changes.

2012 Porsche 911: Courtesy Porsche North America

The wheelbase has increased by 3.9 inches, along with a lower height giving the 2012 911 a more aggressive overall appearance. The weight of the body has decreased by roughly 100 pounds thanks to lightweight aluminum-steel composite materials. The new 911 also has a wider front track, new rear axle and electro-mechanical power steering, resulting in greater driving agility, response and dynamics. On top of these features, the new Carrera S also offers Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC).

Another hallmark of the Porsche 911 is the high level of technology incorporated into each generation of the vehicle. The seventh generation is no different. According to Porsche the 991’s fuel consumption is up to 16 percent less than that of the 997. This improvement is made possible via a host of engine management systems, such as a start/stop function and electrical system recuperation. The seven-speed Porsche double-clutch (PDK) transmission also aids in the increased economy by letting the 911 “coast”. In addition to the PDK the 2012 911 will feature the worlds first seven-speed manual transmission.

Rear View: 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera: Courtesy Porsche North America

In terms of performance the new 911 offers more horsepower from a smaller displacement engine. The 2012 911 Carrera is powered by a 3.4-liter flat-six engine, compared with the 3.6-liter in the outgoing model. Regardless of this reduction the horsepower remains unaffected. The Carrera S model still has a 3.8-liter with 15 more horsepower, boosting peak output figures from 385 to 400 hp. These changes enable the 911 Carrera to accelerate from 0-60 mph in just 4.4 seconds (with PDK transmission). Meanwhile the Carrera S does the same sprint with the PDK in 4.1 seconds.

The 2012 Porsche 911 will make its world premiere at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show in September, and is scheduled to arrive in the U.S. beginning in February 2012.

Interior: 2012 911 with PDK transmission: Courtesy Porsche North America

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

Porsche Carrera 4 GTS unleashed

12 May

By Matt McCarron

Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS coupe and cabriolet: Courtesy Porsche North America

The 997 model line of the Porsche 911 will be coming to an end this September at the Frankfurt Auto Show. However, that didn’t stop Porsche from adding one more version to their ever-expanding lineup of 22 different 911 models.

Porsche unveiled the 911 Carrera 4 GTS, adding a four-wheel-drive variant to the recently released Carrera GTS. The Carrera 4 GTS has an additional 23 hp over a standard Carrera 4S. This is made possible by internal changes to the 3.8-liter flat-six-cylinder engine including: a special resonance intake manifold with six vacuum-controlled tuning flaps and a sports exhaust system with four black tailpipes finished with polished, nano-coated inner shells.

This added horsepower enables the GTS to accelerate from 0-60 mph, 0.1 second quicker than the regular 4S. The optional PDK transmission and Sport Chrono Package Plus enables the GTS to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds. The manual coupe GTS also and has an increased top speed of 187 mph (186 with PDK).

The exterior and interior accents are primarily black. The exterior is adorned with black side skirts from the 911 GT2, a black panel between the rear tailpipes and 19-inch RS Spyder design wheels, painted in high-gloss black. The interior is covered in black Alcantara on the center sections of the standard sport seats and on the rim of the three-spoke steering wheel and on the gear and handbrake levers.

The Carrera 4 GTS will go on sale starting in the fall.  The Carrera 4 GTS coupe will have a base MSRP of $110,200, with the Carrera 4 GTS cabriolet starting at a slightly higher base price of $120,100.

Carrera 4 GTS 3.8-liter flat-six-cylinder engine: Courtesy Porsche North America

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

Porsche reveals Cayman S Black Edition

6 May

By Matt McCarron

Well, Porsche has done it again. After releasing the 911 Black Edition, then the Boxster S Black Edition, it’s only fitting that Porsche would apply it to yet another one of their model lines. Today Porsche announced the creation of the Cayman S Black Edition. Like both the 911 and Boxster S variants, the Cayman S Black Edition will be a limited production vehicle, with only 500 units produced worldwide.

As with the other two variants, the goal of the Cayman S Black Edition is to offer added horsepower, exclusivity and a long list of equipment at an affordable price. But is this special Cayman S really worth the added sticker price?

Well, to start with the Cayman S Black Edition gets an additional 10 horsepower from the 3.4-liter six-cylinder engine. The engine, which produces 330 horsepower enables the Black Edition to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds, with the optional PDK transmission and Sports Chrono Package, as opposed to the manual transmission which covers the same distance in 4.8 seconds. A vehicle equipped with the PDK transmission also gets the added bonus of launch control and various shifting modes.

2012 Porsche Cayman S Black Edition: Courtesy Porsche USA

If your particular color preference happens to be well, black, then you’re in luck. This Cayman S is only available in said color, and as with all Black Edition models, is covered from head to toe in black accessories. The car gets 19-inch Boxster Spyder design wheels, painted black of course, and also features side intake grills, model designation badge and it’s exhaust pipes with the same special treatment. The interior features black leather with trim pieces finished in aluminum and stainless steel.

In the end the Cayman S Black Edition is very similar to its two siblings. All three have very similar changes and feature many of the same upgrades. However, whether or not this limited production Cayman S is worthy of the added cash is ultimately up to the individual.

The 2012 Cayman S Black Edition has a base MSRP of $67,500 and will start arriving in U.S. showrooms later this summer.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

SLS AMG Roadster revealed, finally.

5 May

By Matt McCarron

After many rumors that the 2012 SLS AMG Roadster was among one of the three vehicles Mercedes-Benz was scheduled to debut at the 2011 New York International Auto Show, it turned out to be a no-show. So, if it wasn’t debuted at the New York show, then when would Mercedes finally lift the veil of secrecy and show the SLS AMG Roadster to the world. Well, the automotive world got their answer on Thursday when Mercedes revealed the drop-top version of their SLS AMG supercar will make its world premiere at the 2011 Frankfurt International Auto Show in September.

The final details of the SLS AMG Roadster are still being hammered out by AMG engineers, but numerous things have been set in stone. One of the most unusual and intriguing aspects to the roadster is its soft-top. Mercedes claims the soft-top can be deployed or retracted in just 11 seconds, at speeds up to 31 mph, with just the touch of a button.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster testing in Papenburg, Germany: Courtesy MB USA

The soft-top, which is comprised of three layers of fabric has been engineered with a weight-optimized magnesium,steel and aluminum construction, capable of with withstanding the vehicle’s top speed of 197 mph, regardless of whether or not the soft-top is covering the interior cabin, or neatly hidden behind the passenger seats. To ensure this structural integrity the SLS AMG Roadster has undergone high speed testing at three different high-speed tracks, in Papenburg, Germany, Nardo, Italy and Idiada, Spain.

In addition to the high-speed testing, the SLS AMG Roadster and its high-tech soft-top has endured a plethora of other testing including a high-intensity rain test and climate change tests where the vehicle was exposed to a variety of extreme climates around the world.

Mercedes says the SLS AMG Roadster still needs to undergo a number of quality test on other parts of the vehicle before it makes its world premiere on September 13 in Frankfurt. However, if the soft-top has survived such extensive and extreme testing, chances are the rest of the vehicle will also stack up to Mercedes’ and customer’s demands. But only time will tell if this version of the SLS AMG holds up to the reviews and acclaim of its hard-top sibling.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

First ride E30 M3: Superb handling, engine and classic BMW styling

3 May

By Matt McCarron

What do you get when you take an E30 M3 in pristine condition, add a list of modifications as long as the Great Wall of China, some windy back roads and an experienced driver? A memorable experience, that’s what.

When GermanAutoNews was offered the chance to take a ride in an E30 M3, it didn’t take much time to come up with a decision. After all, this is the E30 M3 we’re taking about, a car synonymous with the S14, a high-revving inline four-cylinder that loves to be pushed above 3,000 rpm, and impeccable handling thanks in part to the vehicle’s 52 to 48 weight distribution. However, this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill E30 M3. In fact it’s about as far from the stock North American spec E30 M3 as it could possibly get.

1991 BMW E30 M3

This special E30 M3 was built by Turner Motorsport of Amesbury, Mass. To make this M3 stand out from the pack Turner went all-in with just about every option or upgrade available including a 2.5-liter stroker kit, stage 3 ported/polished head, Evo 3 throttle bodies, Evo 2 camshaft, B&B Triflow muffler, heavy duty clutch, lightweight flywheel, coilover suspension and a whole host of other improvements.

All of these improvements were evident as the M3 rounded the corner of Haigis Mall at UMass Amherst. The vehicle’s exhaust gave off a subtle yet undeniable drone as it made its way toward our camera, and the suspension could be seen trying to keep up with the never-ending bumps and dips that are much too prevalent around the UMass campus. The final component to be experienced before even entering the vehicle was the award-winning sound system, featuring two Focal 27VX 11″ subwoofers,  165EX 3-way and 136EX 2-way speakers and Precision Power 4400 and 2600 amplifiers.

As the ride began we hoped the owner and driver of the M3 would drive the car like it was supposed to be driven. And it didn’t take long to figured out the owner wasn’t intent on leisurely driving around town, all the while being careful to stay under 3,000 rpms and stay at the recommended speed limit.

Actually, from the moment we left the first stoplight it was apparent this was going to be a fun ride. So we fastened our seat belt and away we went. The 2.5-liter S14 screamed with ever-growing intensity as it roared towards redline, while the heavy duty clutch gave the ride a sudden and attention-grabbing snap as it ripped into the next gear. Both upshifts and downshifts came quickly, maybe even somewhat harshly, courtesy of the five-speed Dogleg transmission and upgraded drivetrain.

2.5-liter S14 with Evo II valve and intake cover paint design

The stiff and tight suspension, featuring coilovers along with upgraded camber plates, control arms, strut braces and sway bars made taking corners at high speeds a thing of beauty. There was practically no bending and no nose-diving whatsoever when carving through a corner. The 52 to 48 front to rear weight distribution really showed its worth on the back roads, allowing little to no understeer or oversteer.

As we made our way back toward the campus we really showed the under-appreciated power of the 2.5-liter S14. In today’s high-end, high-performance car industry, where more and more vehicles are approaching or eclipsing 500 horsepower, the 270 provided in this M3 might seem like a pathetic amount. I mean really, the Hyundai Sonata Turbo puts out 274 hp, but that doesn’t matter. The Sonata might have more horsepower, but the S14 delivers all 270 horses to the driver in an unforgettable crescendo of noise and emotion. The S14 screams and howls in ways modern engines just can’t match. In a world where naturally aspirated engines are increasingly being discontinued in favor of forced induction units, the S14 stands alone as one of the truly great naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines of all time.

Our ride in the E30 M3 showed us something. It isn’t the most powerful, quickest or most eye-catching vehicle we have been in. However, when push comes to shove it just might be the best. It combines a raw, un-computerized experience, something that is becoming harder and harder to find in today modern vehicles, and something we will not soon forget.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com