Porsche’s latest addition to the 500-horsepower club is the 2010 Porsche 911. Thanks to a larger six-cylinder engine (3.8 liters versus 3.6 in last year’s Turbo) and direct injection, the new 911 Turbo puts nearly double the Boxster’s chutzpah to the road via standard all-wheel drive. A six-speed manual is standard, with Porsche’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission replacing last year’s five-speed Tiptronic as the automatic option. When it hits dealerships early next year, prices will run $132,800 for the coupe and $143,800 for the convertible.
You get the dual-clutch transmission with Porsche’s launch control feature, and the automaker says zero to 60 mph takes just 3.2 seconds. That’s a couple ticks ahead of the Corvette ZR1 and few more out front of a V-10 Audi R8. It’ll kick the stones out of an Aston Martin V8 Vantage or a Maserati Gran Turismo.
Naturally, we doubt the 911 Turbo will score as many looks as any of those. While most automakers come out with completely new models every few years, Porsche’s core product takes an entirely different approach: the 911 is the same basic design that has been used for decades, only tweaked to perfection over the years. In typical Porsche tradition, this year’s changes comprise of a tucked taillight here and a redesigned wheel there. Only the detail-obsessed will notice the differences.
At least you’ll be pumping that gas a bit less often. Thanks to direct injection and the more efficient automatic, Porsche spokesman Dave Engelman said highway mileage could increase similarly to what it did when lesser 911s received similar mechanical improvements last year. Though official EPA figures are pending — Engelman said he didn’t want to give any guesses — we’d estimate mileage on automatic-equipped 911s could hit 24 or 25 mpg. Not too shabby.
Expect the new Porsche 911 (with 500-hp, 3.8-liter turbocharged six-cylinder with six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic; all-wheel drive) to hit dealerships in January 2010.