Due to be released in the second half of 2004 as a 2005 model, Porsche’s latest incarnation of the timeless 911 includes a slew of new features, amenities and design improvements. While mainstream information is still somewhat limited, Roadfly was able to learn a little about what the newest 911 plans to deliver.
For the first time ever, Porsche will offer the 911 as two separate “models” – the base Carrera will be delivered with a 3.6-liter 325-hp flat six, while the Carrera S will come standard with a new 3.8-liter 355-hp flat six. Due later in 2005 are the Cabriolet and Carrera 4, with a Turbo and Carrera 4S due in 2006. To satisfy the racing crowd, Porsche says a GT3 and GT2 will be available sometime in 2007. Targa fans may want to hold on to their current rides – Porsche says they’re phasing out the Targa. The Carrera and Carrera S will come standard with a 6-speed manual transmission, with the carryover Tiptronic as an option.
While the new body at first appears to be little more than a minor face lift, Porsche assures us that there are major changes lurking beneath the skin. Dimensionally speaking, the 997 measures 174 inches long, 71 inches wide, with a wheelbase of 92.5 inches. Porsche stats-junkies will note the 997 is about 1.5 inches wider and just a hair shorter (overall) than the 996, while the wheelbase remains the same. Porsche says that every body panel (save for the roof) has been reworked, which helps to lower drag to 0.28 from 0.30.
The 997’s silhouette bulges more at the wheel openings to accommodate the Carrera S’ standard 19-inch alloy wheels (base Carrera will ship with 18-inch alloys). Larger brakes will reside behind those new shoes, with ceramic discs available as an option on the Carrera S.
Up front, new headlights and a slightly longer beak are sure to spark discussion in the Porsche enthusiast camps. Gone are the tear-drop style headlamps that we’d come to accept, replaced by oval housings that are positioned more vertically. Turn signal indicators find themselves in the bumper cover. Out back, the 997’s tail lights appear more sculpted and elongated, while the pop-up spoiler/engine cover loses three cooling slots from the previous model.
Under the surface, Porsche says the 997 chassis has an 8 percent increase in torsional rigidity and a 40 percent increase in overall chassis stiffness. Improved manufacturing processes are to thank for this newfound reinforcement. Redesigned MacPherson struts and a refined multi-link rear suspension improve ride, handling and noise characteristics. Porsche’s Active Suspension Management will be standard on the Carrera S and utilizes Bilstein’s adaptive dampers to automatically adjust the level of damping.
Inside, expect the 997 to resemble the more modern looking Cayenne, complete with three-spoke steering wheel, and aluminum-look trim. Entry and egress may prove to be a little more challenging than before, due to wider sills, ala the 993.
All of these changes push the 997’s weight up to 3075-lbs for the Carrera and 3131-lbs for the Carrera S. Thanks, however, to the increased engine output, drivers shouldn’t notice any performance hits. Porsche claims a 5.0 second 0-62 figure for the 325-hp Carrera, and a 4.8 second 0-62 figure for the 355-hp S model. Expect top speeds for each model to hover near 180 mph, and pricing for the Carrera to start at about $70,000. The Carrera S should come in at just under $80,000.
We’ll make more information available as soon as it’s released.