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2009 Porsche 911 CarreraThis was another one of those test drives about which I debated what would be the best approach to take. The 911 Carrera and 911 Carrera S see a host of important changes for 2009, including updated stereo and nav systems, new engines with direct fuel injection, and Porsche's first production twin-clutch automatic transmission, the Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (mercifully known as PDK). But aside from the extra power and the new automatic transmission, the car's basic character is unchanged -- it still has that same wonderfulness that pervaded the 2008 Porsche 911 Carrera I recently reviewed. So rather than re-hash everything I'd just said, I decided to get right to the point and concentrate on what's new and, most importantly, how well that new PDK transmission works. Get the details in my 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera test drive. -- Aaron Gold

Comments
October 27, 2008 at 8:48 am
(1) B Rubble says:

Well color me jaded, or paint me a purist, but all the fancing twin-clutch technology in the world can’t make up for a third pedal. Yes, VW group is probably the front runner with its experience in the much overhyped DSG tranny, so this is probably an “amazing evolutionary step”…toward disconnecting yourself from the driving experience. Sure, it may be a few tenths quicker to 60, or a few mph faster in the quarter sprint, but a clutch pedal makes a Porsche live up to its heritage.

Not to step on anyone’s toes, but instead of differentiating the transmission options by saying Porsche offers a six-speed manual for purists, why don’t we say “the 911 comes standard with a six-speed manual, and there’s some new trick automatic doohickey for poseurs.” Guess that’s why I’m more of a GT3 guy than a 911 guy. At least they gave the Carrera a power bump. I wonder if they can even increase the power of the GT3′s already monsterous 415 naturally aspirated ponies…

Side note: I find it funny that Porsche, known for years to be the King of Option choices, waited so long to offer things like Nav, iPod connection, CD changer, etc. Guess they were too busy engineering something “amazing”…

October 27, 2008 at 10:20 am
(2) Aaron Gold - Cars Guide says:

B Rubble — A good point, and one I used to agree with until a conversation I had at dinner following my PDK drive. I am working on an editorial discussing this, look for it in the next day or two. — Aaron

October 27, 2008 at 11:03 am
(3) J to the G says:

@B Rubble:

I agree with you wholeheartedly that cars like this need to have that 3rd pedal sitting there… but the fact that the PDK is 0.2 seconds quicker that manual versions of the same Porsches means those “poseurs” will be the ones in the lead.

Still, I agree with you… give me 3 pedals in anything and everything (including the Unimog I saw the other day!! Awesomely off topic, but it still deserves mention…)

October 27, 2008 at 7:40 pm
(4) bill says:

Aaron, at the risk of redundancy, your critical evaluation of vehicle performance must be taken with a grain of salt, particularly when evaluating power train systems. Anyone who criticizes a P-car because “the pedals are too close together” isn’t qualified to judge, since they’re too inexperienced to understand concepts like heel and toe. Stick to rating interiors – sport.

October 28, 2008 at 10:39 am
(5) J to the G says:

@bill: actually, i have to disagree, it is good to hear a review of a high-level sports car such as the 911 from the point of view of someone who is not a typical 911 driver.

The average person doesn’t think about pedal placement when they are evaluating vehicles and there are plenty of people who drive Porsches who may be out of their league in terms of what they are sitting behind the wheel of.

You can’t really say someones observation can be thrown out just because they spend more of their time in more inexpensive and less sporting vehicles… it is simply a different eye on a vehicle and I like to hear about cars from every angle.

October 28, 2008 at 1:52 pm
(6) Aaron Gold - Cars Guide says:

Bill — Actually, I’m quite familiar with the concept of heel-and-toe (though I do need a little practice at it). That doens’t change the fact that it’s easy to catch the brake when you to go step on the clutch — a problem whether you’re on the track or pulling out of your driveway. Luckily for Porsche (and countless other consumer-goods companies), there are plenty of die-hards who can be convinved that defects in the product are actually specialized features that the uninitiated simply don’t understand. — Aaron

October 28, 2008 at 4:05 pm
(7) AndyS says:

All this pedal placement reminds me of a funny story… A long time ago, I was selling my 1987 Pontiac Fiero GT (5sp), and the kid that bought it was wearing a pair of shoes that I likened to moon-boots. The 2 shoes placed next to each other covered the entire 3 pedals. He couldn’t drive the car properly without removing his shoes first. Some people have wider feet than others, but for most people who wear normal (non-moon-boot) shoes, this is usually not an issue though. Regardless of heel and toe, pedal placement is important. A friend of mine drives a 1987 Porsche 911, where the pedals are offset to the right, leaving him sitting at a slight angle, which he finds noticeable and irritating. Ideally, you SHOULD be able to sit straight and cenetered in your seat while driving (In some cars, the wheel well makes that nearly impossible). And pedals SHOULD be placed at heights close enough to each other allow proper heel-and-toe driving (Some cars have an accelerator pedal that is too far behind or away from the brake pedal, making heel-and-toe nearly impossible unless you are a monkey).

October 28, 2008 at 5:16 pm
(8) Mark Proulx says:

Aaron:

It’s too bad that you have to put up with insulting posts that contribute nothing to people’s understanding of or appreciation for the subject.

October 28, 2008 at 5:26 pm
(9) Aaron Gold - Cars Guide says:

Thanks, Mark. It comes with the territory. :) — Aaron

October 28, 2008 at 8:01 pm
(10) hawaiian don says:

Whether one chooses the traditional 3 pedal or new PDK is all a matter of the desires and needs of the buyer. If I was to buy this Porsche and use it every day in San Diego traffic, the PDK would be my choice. If it was used primarily as an occaisional driver in the mountains, then I’d definitly pick the stick, just for the sheer fun and total sense of control. Then again, do you have to share the car with someone who might not shift your baby the way you know it should be shifted…DEFINITELY THE PDK!!!

October 29, 2008 at 8:26 am
(11) B Rubble says:

Alas, hula don has made a point: having to share the vehicle. A relative of mine was recently looking into buying a new GTI. However, he knew he would have to share the car with his wife (who refuses to drive a manny-tranny), but the DSG option rocketed the price of the GTI too high for him. He instead went for the Rabbit with the tap-shift auto (still not bad with 170hp), and I’ve felt sorry for him ever since. At least his wife is happy, and he seems to be content with the compromise. I fear I may never be able to teach my fiance how to drive a manual, especially on my Speed3 (NOT a learner car), and therefore may need to make a compromise of my own some day. *Sigh*…

October 29, 2008 at 4:16 pm
(12) LWATCDR says:

Okay DSG/PDK is faster and more efficient. While I do love driving with a clutch I think calling people that choose DSG poseurs is a bit off.
If fact I would say the opposite is true. Hate to tell you folks this but F1 cars don’t have clutch peddles anymore. I don’t think that many F1 drivers are poseurs.
Hey I love manual cars also. I also love tube and fabric biplanes. But a Gulfstream pilot sure isn’t a poseur.
Get off your imaginary high horses. DSG/PDK is faster than a manual box. It may not be as much fun for some of us but it is faster.
It is nice to have a two good choices.

October 29, 2008 at 4:46 pm
(13) AndyS says:

I enjoy the feeling of automotive one-ness-with-your-car that a manual transmission provides. I often wish that my monster //AMG C32 (Shameless plug: L.E.T.-tuned stage 3+ WOOT!) had a manual transmission. Even in manual shifting mode, my left foot wants to find a pedal – alas it is not there. But I suppose that I can live with an automatic car that pulls 0-60 in a hair under 4.0 sec. *evil grin*

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