Driven: 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S

By | March 28, 2012

2012 Porsche 991 Carrera S

In 1963 Porsche launched the 901 at the Frankfurt Auto Show.  A year later a production version was shown in Paris and a month after production started the name was changed to 911 thanks to Peugeot and their claim to ownership of “0″ as the middle digit to their models. 49 years later, the 911 lives on in the new “991″ 911.

At first glance you know it is a 911 and it doesn’t look much different.  But if you park a 997 beside it the differences become apparent.  The taillights on the new car are much more wedge-shaped, the headlights are bubbly, and the fenders give the car a more widebody look.  And a widebody it is!  The car is nearly an inch longer, 2 inches wider, and .20 inches lower than the previous model.

2012 Porsche 911 997 991 Carrera S

The interior makes much more sense too.  In the 997 all the buttons for pretty much anything were all shoved on the dash behind the shifter.  The new car takes on a more Panamera-like center console where all the buttons are easily accessible and their placement make much more sense.

A cool feature in the 991 is the new gauge setup.  It essentially retains the old design with the large tach located dead in front with the rest of the gauges flanking either side. The difference is the gauge just to the right is actually a digital display that does everything from being a GPS, show your TPS readings, and even becomes a G-force meter!

So how is the car to drive? Simply put, fantastic!  The car we had featured the new 7-speed PDK transmission which was very smooth shifting and, when in manual mode, shifts on command practically instantly.  Put it in Sport Plus mode and you will do 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds thanks to Launch Control and 400 hp.  Once you get to 60 you will be cruising comfortably and not really notice your car eats the previous 911 GT3 RS 4.0‘s lunch.

2012 Porsche 991 Carrera S Interior

Take it out of Sport mode, and the suspension suppresses the bumps with ease; however, hit the suspension button on the dash, and you will feel every imperfection in the road.

The steering is so precise, it’s almost telepathic.  Just think where you want to go, and it obeys. Add that to the sticky Pirelli P Zero tires and you get a Nurburgring lap time that ties the GT3 record with a blistering 7:40 (A full 14 seconds quicker than that of the 997!)

We won’t leave the 997 out of this – it’s a fantastic car as well.  We were actually amazed at how different the two cars felt.  We all agreed that the new 991 is a driving dream.  The 997 was a few years old and we still loved it and it was still equally everything we could ask for.  One of our Senior Editors, AJ Wilcox, actually even preferred it.

2012 Porsche 991 997 Carrera S

It wasn’t quite as refined, it was worn in a bit, and had racing bucket seats.  Although the seats were perfect for holding you in place, they didn’t make you look very cool when trying to climb in and out of the car, nor were they ideal for everyday use. Standard sport seats in this 991 FTW!

We don’t know how Porsche does it, but they always manage to take a perfect car and make it even better!  All in all, if we were given either car, we’d be perfectly happy and taking the backroads all the way to MMP.

2012 Porsche 991 997 Carrera S

Photos by Chance Hales

For a full gallery follow this link


Matthew S. Davis on March 29, 2012 at 7:23 am.

Great article Chance! The pics look great.

AJ Wilcox on March 29, 2012 at 8:12 am.

I have a new-found respect for Porsches after driving the famed 911. I always thought they were underpowered, overhyped, and expensive for what you got. Everything about the cars was solid – even the switches were heavy. They do a LOT with the power they have. Both of these models have made me a fan.

Matthew S. Davis on March 29, 2012 at 11:11 am.

 I’ve been a life long fan and haven’t so much as sat in one… I think a drive would would ruin me financially for life.

Coilpacks are the new cool on March 29, 2012 at 11:17 am.

I’ve been a critic of Porsche’s 911 design not changing at all over the years, but that list side by side shot really shows how much of a departure from the old body style the 991 is. 

Those new wheels also make the 991 look so much bigger, too. Great review Chance. 

Also, it’s pretty impressive Porsche was able to get 400 HP to push what I’m guessing is a really heavy car to 60mph in 3.5 seconds.

Chance Hales on March 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm.

The car is actually 88lbs lighter than the outgoing 997.  It weighs a respectable 3120lbs and I forgot to mention rated at 26 hwy mpg!

Chance Hales on March 29, 2012 at 5:52 pm.

I always thought these were over-hyped too but they really are as good as they say they are! Aboso-freaking-lutly brilliant!

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