More than any other sports car on the road, you know a Porsche when you see one. And that distinctiveness hasn't changed with the new 911 Carrera S, which retains the brand's iconic contours and egg-shaped headlamps that make for a classic-looking car.
But look closer. While the newest addition to the Carrera family springs from the same genetic pool, it's replete with evolutionary adaptations. Porsche even has a number to back it up: 90. According to the carmaker, that's the percentage of 911 Carrera components that are either new or fundamentally revised.
For starters, the new model looks bigger, stronger and fitter, which is quite an accomplishment considering the seventh-generation Carrera is also 100 pounds lighter than its predecessor. That partially explains why it finished 17 full seconds faster than the last Carrera around the Nurburgring in Germany, known as the "Holy Grail of speed." That said, this model is being touted as a daily driver.
"This car is geared to be a much more accommodating car for the average driver," said Kelly Wolf, general manager at Porsche of North Houston. "I think it appeals to everyone from the weekend warrior at the race track to the executive doing their daily commute."
The wheelbase has been stretched by 3.9 inches, the snout is more aggressive, and the vehicle rides lower to the ground. Add the increase in power, and the difference between the old Carrera and the new one is like the difference between Harvard-era Jeremy Lin and the Knicks-era Jeremy Lin. Both are exciting, high-caliber players who stand out among the best competition. But one of them is a boyish baller while the other is a sinewy, square-jawed assassin, capable of dropping 38 points on the Lakers and making it on the cover of Sports Illustrated -- two weeks in a row. But enough with the Linsanity, let's move on.
For all its muscular bite, the new Carrera, which starts at just over $96,000, is still practical for daily driving. Inside, the windshield has been pulled forward, creating a larger sense of space, and a sloped center console places the gear shift closer to the steering wheel, adding another touch to the intuitive cabin.
"I never thought I'd see a ventilated seat in a Porsche," said Gerald Tito, a sales consultant at Porsche of North Houston, who noted that Porsches didn't even have glove compartments until a few years ago. "This car has all the current amenities -- Bluetooth connectivity, iPod connections and real-time traffic and weather in the navigation screen."
The Carrera S, which stands for sport, features a 400-horsepower, 3.8-liter boxer engine -- 15 more horsepower than its predecessor. The Carrera S sprints from zero to 60 in 4.1 seconds. When it's equipped with the Sports Chrono Package Plus, the time drops to 3.9 seconds. And the top track speed for the Carrera S is 188 mph. But we don't recommend taking advantage of that feature during your commute.
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