Porsche has followed its traditional staggered rollout for the 991-generation Carrera. For 2014, the latest GT3 and Turbo join the lineup. The 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 comes to market with a radical, some would say heretical, change -- an automatic transmission. Don’t accuse the 475-hp track-ready 911 of going soft. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: Porsche wanted a faster GT3 and saw the old clutch pedal as an impediment to that pursuit. What remains to be seen is whether the new GT3 feels as special as its predecessor in more mundane conditions, such as loping along an American highway.
The 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo continues its decades-long evolution, which is to say it’s even faster (0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds) and easier to drive fast -- just stomp on the gas and let the computers figure out the rest. ..more
The 2014 Porsche 911 is as timeless and as well engineered as a Rolex watch. After five decades of excellence, it is the benchmark for premium sports cars. The 911 underwent a significant redesign for 2013 and is now more refined and more powerful than ever.
The 2014 Porsche 911 looks to be frozen in time. Even after its latest redesign, it essentially looks like the same car that debuted in 1963. Looks, however, can be deceiving, for the 911 is a model of progress. Porsche has continuously polished the sports car to the point that it is very nearly perfect.
The most famous element of the 911 is its engine layout, inherited from the Volkswagen Beetle and the Porsche 356. The engine still sits in back, but Porsche engineers have completely tuned out the malicious rear-biased handling characteristics of old. The 911 now corners predictably at its limit and, should you run out of talent, features a host of electronic aids to keep you pointed in the right direction. The engines themselves are more efficient than ever. The base 3.4-liter flat-six -- downsized from 3.6 liters -- produces 350 hp and gets 28 mpg on the highway. The 400-hp, 3.8-liter flat-six in the Carrera S is nearly as efficient. Each can be paired with either a seven-speed automatic or a seven-speed manual. Whatever you choose will get you to 60 mph in well under five seconds.
The 911’s interior, always very nice, is now even nicer. Porsche stubbornly continues to rely on buttons. No surprise, there are lots of them, which can be intimidating at first. But with time, they prove easier to interact with than trendy multi-controllers. You’ll certainly want to memorize the location of the button that controls the optional sport exhaust so that you can turn up the volume of the flat-six’s wicked, raspy exhaust.
Progress doesn’t always connote improvement. The 911’s appeal for some purists lay in its intractability. Now Porsche has polished the car such that nearly anyone can drive it quickly. Neither does it offer quite as tactile of a driving experience as its predecessors, which transmitted steering sensations even at parking-lot speeds. Mind you, few 911 drivers will ever notice what they’ve lost. For the traditionalists, we can only say that there are many used 911s.
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