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2009 Porsche 911 Carrera

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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2009 Porsche 911 Carrera front-left view

2009 Porsche 911 Carrera

Photo © Aaron Gold

The Bottom Line

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2009 is a big year for the 911. Oh, it may not look like it from the outside, where the most noticeable differences are new turn signals and standard bi-xenon headlights (link goes to photo) up front and LED taillights out back. The most exciting changes are hidden from immediate view -- all new entertainment and navigation, all new engines, and PDK, Porsche's first production dual-clutch automatic transmission. So is the updated 911 a better 911? Read on.

Larger photos: Front - rear - interior - all photos

Pros

  • Amazing new PDK (twin-clutch) automatic transmission
  • New engines deliver more power with no significant fuel economy penalty
  • Brilliant to drive and beautiful to behold

Cons

  • Small trunk and back seat
  • Expensive

Description

  • Updated 911 Carreras get all-new engines, new twin-clutch automatic, updated entertainment and nav
  • Price range: $76,460 - $155,175
  • EPA fuel economy estimates: 18 MPG city/25 MPG highway (3.6/3.8 manual), 19/27 (3.6 automatic), 19/26 (3.8 automatic)

Guide Review - 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera

I just recently posted my 2008 Porsche 911 Carrera test drive, in which I gave you an earful (eyeful?) of how wonderful the 911 Carrera is. There are a lot of changes afoot for 2009, so I'll skip my usual drooling and get right to the nitty-gritty.

Inside the 2009 911, you'll find a new stereo with in-dash CD changer (finally! Last year's changer was in the trunk), Bluetooth phone compatibility, full (and extremely well-executed) iPod integration, and a new navigation system with a touch screen in place of last year's buttons. But that isn't the big news.

2009 Carreras get all-new engines with direct fuel injection. Though the engines entirely new, displacement is unchanged from last year; the Carrera's 3.6 liter flat-6 puts out 345 horsepower, up 20 from last year, while the Carrera S' 3.8 is up 30 hp to 385. But that isn't the big news, either.

No, the big news is Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe -- PDK to its friends -- which is Porsche's new 7-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission. Similar in operation to Volkswagen/Audi's DSG (explained in detail here), PDK is the best twin-clutch I've driven. Stomp the pedal and the transmission goes from 7th gear to 2nd in the blink of an eye -- and with no surge, no lurch, absolutely no interruption in power. Truly amazing. PDK can be shifted manually with steering-wheel buttons or the shift lever, but with two sport modes you can let the transmission pick the gears and never be left wanting for power. PDK is expensive ($4,080) but worth it for the performance it delivers. For purists, Porsche still offers a 6-speed manual.

Touch-screen nav, Bluetooth, iPod and in-dash CD player were much-needed updates, and the PDK transmission is a huge leap forward. The 911 Carrera is better than ever, and I'm disappointed -- not in the 911, but in the fact that I can't afford one. -- Aaron Gold

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