All-wheel drive Porsche 911 Carrera 4 lineup revealed

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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No doubt you've already seen the all-new 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera with its sharply angled dagger-style taillights and gorgeous new Panamera-inspired interior. That car is only part of the critically important 911 redo, dubbed 991 in Porsche-speak. The other half is a rework of its all-wheel drive model lineup, which of course includes the iconic Turbo.

For the time being, however, Porsche's Canadian operations aren't talking price on anything loftier than the $134,100 2013 C4S Cabriolet, with the new 2013 C4S Coupe slotting in just below at $120,500, and the 2013 C4 Cabriolet and C4 Coupe priced at $117,400 and $103,900 respectively, plus a $1,085 destination fee.

These prices represent a significant jump from last year's all-wheel drive 911 lineup, with the least expensive C4 Coupe increased by $6,500, the C4S Coupe up by $5,200, the C4 Cabriolet a full $10,400 pricier, and the C4S Cabriolet $9,300 more expensive, but most 911 enthusiasts won't complain.

After all, there's more to the 2013 Carrera 4s than just the new styling update. Under the rear decklid are the same engine upgrades that the 2012 911 C2 cars received, including a 200-cc smaller 3.4-litre direct-injection flat-6 boxer in the C4 cars with 350 horsepower and 287 lb-ft of torque, while the more powerful 3.8-litre C4S upgrade now makes 400-horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. The 7-speed paddle-shift actuated Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) dual-clutch automatic remains optional across the line, while an all-new industry-first 7-speed manual gearbox with two overdrive gears becomes the entry-level transmission.

The new powertrains are up to 16-percent more fuel-efficient than their predecessors, critically important in today's highly regulated market, but Porsche has gone a step further by including an idle-stop system that automatically shuts off the engine at stoplights and instantly restarts it when ready to go. And don't worry if you'd rather listen to the burble of the horizontally opposed engine while waiting for the light to change, as the idle-stop system can be defeated by pressing a console-mounted button.

New aluminum-steel construction makes the new C4 and C4S lighter yet more rigid, while in special applications magnesium lightens curb weights further, improving fuel economy and performance. This, combined with additional weight savings, allows the new all-wheel drive C4 Coupe, for instance, to weigh 65 kilos (143 lbs) less than its predecessor. Weight reduction has improved the performance of all the new all-wheel drive 911s, with the C4S Coupe, the fastest of the four, zipping to 100 km/h in just 4.1 seconds before hitting its terminal velocity of 299 km/h (185 mph). The C4 Coupe, incidentally, can surge past 100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds and tops out at 285 km/h.

Handling has been improved with a wider front track, while all-wheel drive models are also 44 millimetres wider than rear-drive 911s at the back, with 10-mm wider rear tires. The new cars' longer wheelbase improves ride, while additionally adding interior room. Also new, the C4 and C4S models get the same electro-mechanical power steering system as the rear-wheel drive 911s, which delivers Porsche's renowned steering response with the added fuel savings of a partially electric system.

Of course, at the heart of the Carrera 4 models is the revised Porsche Traction Management (PTM) system, which has the ability to read road surface information via sensors to effectively "look ahead" and adjust traction accordingly. And with a reaction time of "100 milliseconds at the very most," you won't notice all that's going on underneath. C4S models get the added bonus of Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) that adds a mechanical transverse lock on the rear axle to distribute torque from side to side as needed, as well as back to front.

While all of this goes on behind the mind's eye, the new C4 and C4S models will stimulate the senses of all those aboard with a dramatically updated interior. Quality of materials is improved while features, such as an electronically controlled parking brake, add an element of sophistication the previous 911 made do without, while again reducing weight. In the C4 and C4S, the revised instrument cluster includes a display to inform the driver of exactly where PTM is distributing torque, while the same updated infotainment system as in the new rear-drive 911s adds the latest connectivity capabilities along with upgraded audio and navigation.

What's more, with the introduction of the new all-wheel drive 911s, Porsche now brings Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) to the options list. When fitted to a car with PDK, Porsche Active Safe (PAS) is also added, helping a driver avoid frontal collisions. For those who order their 911 with the new 7-speed manual, adding the Sport Chrono package includes a new Sport Plus mode that allows a livelier driving experience along with automated double-declutching during downshifts.

The new all-wheel drive 911 lineup will make its public debut at the Paris auto show next month before going on sale in Germany later this fall. The four C4 models will arrive here in North America in February of 2013.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Convertible, Sports Coupe, Porsche, 2013, 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet, 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet, 911 Carrera 4S, 911 Carrera 4, $99,999+,

Organizations: Porsche

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