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  (Source: Jamie Lipman/Inside Line)

Porsche 911 designers have the easiest job in the world. A nip here, a tuck there and "boom", new 911. Pictured above is a prototype 991 911  (Source: Jamie Lipman/Inside Line)

The new 911's interior takes styling cues from the Panamera  (Source: Jamie Lipman/Inside Line)
Porsche's 911 will get a major overhaul for 2012

We reported earlier this week that Porsche is looking to add what is essentially "cruise control on steroids" to its future vehicles. The Porsche ACC InnoDrive system will take full control of throttle inputs and "learn" the routes that the driver regularly travels. Only the steering will be left for the driver to control when the system is enabled.

Now, we're getting some more information on the most famous member of the Porsche family: the 911. The next generation model will be revealed before the end of this year, with production models going to North American customers next year.

The new 911, codenamed 991, is growing in length again. The 911 will sit on a 4-inch longer wheelbase, while overall length grows another 2.2 inches. Compared to the last air-cooled 911, the iconic 993, the new 911 is roughly 10 inches longer with a 7-inch longer wheelbase.

Despite the expanded dimensions, the new 911 will be lighter than outgoing 997 variant. Instead of relying primarily on steel for the construction of the vehicle, the majority of the vehicle will now be constructed of aluminum with high-strength steel being deployed used for "major crash paths" according to Inside Line.

The extended wheelbase will also leave more legroom for the two rear-seat passengers (in reality, kids only) and for an optional hybrid system that should be available for the 2016 model year refresh of the 991 platform.

The hybrid system isn't the only concession being made to improve fuel efficiency for the 911; Porsche has also done the unthinkable and ditched the 911's wonderful hydraulic steering system for an electric one. Porsche 911 project manager Roland Achleitner explains that the excellent steering feel will remain and that "you would not be able to tell it is electric." Another buzzkill is that Porsche is moving to an electronic parking brake for the new car. 

When it comes to powertrains, the new 911 Carrera will share a 3.4-liter flat-6 engine with the Boxster S that produces 350hp. The Carrera S will be blessed with a larger displacement flat-6 producing roughly 400hp. Power will be delivered to the rear wheels (or all four wheels in Carrera 4 guise) using a 7-speed dual-clutch (PDK) transmission or -- wait for it -- a 7-speed manual transmission.

Overall efficiency is said to improve by 12 to 15 percent over the outgoing model.

For more information on the next Porsche 911 and the development of the car, you can check out Inside Line's write-up. They actually got some passenger-seat time with a prototype of the vehicle.

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RE: I like manuals but 7 speed ?
By amanojaku on 7/1/2011 11:19:15 AM , Rating: 2
I think they mean electronically controlled brake, not emergency brake.

As to the gears, more gears means more shifts, but it can also mean better fuel economy. A good gearbox for this type of car is usually:

1 - 0-62mph (a single gear yields the fastest start time)
2 - 63-90mph
3 - 91-120mph
4 - 121-140mph
5 - 141-160mph
6 - 156-175mph
7 - 176-190mph

Most people will only hit 3rd.

RE: I like manuals but 7 speed ?
By mcnabney on 7/1/2011 11:29:08 AM , Rating: 1
That isn't really how gears work.

I am curious what the gear ratios are. How many OD gears are there? I mean, it is only 350-400hp between the two models. Not exactly an astounding amount of power. The Corvette Z06 produces over 500hp and ZR1 goes well over 600hp. They do just fine with six gears. I am suspecting they are just 'manualizing' their automatic transmission. Having seven gears doesn't mean you won't row through five while driving in traffic.

RE: I like manuals but 7 speed ?
By amanojaku on 7/1/2011 11:53:06 AM , Rating: 2
Where did I ever explain how gears work? I just listed gears with a range of speeds that are higher than the previous gear's. What I left out is why I choose this arrangement, because I figure people already know or don't care.

But if it helps... It has to do with torque.

RE: I like manuals but 7 speed ?
By theapparition on 7/1/2011 2:12:18 PM , Rating: 4
But if it helps... It has to do with torque.

I'm sorry, but your example is untennable.

Depending on the gear arrangment, a minimum of two gears will problably be overdrives. Overdrives work by LOWERING torque at the wheels, because thier gear ratio is lower than 1:1 (technically, the final drive ratio needs to be factored in as well).

Current 6 speed sports cars top speed is accomplished in 5th gear. 6th gear may be able to reach higher speeds on a gear calculator chart, but in real life can't accomplish it for two reasons. One is that the lower torque output to the wheels is quickly overcome by aerodymanic drag at high speeds, and second that typical 6th gear ratios can't handle the stress. Anyone that has done any racing will never touch 6th gear.

5th is usually an overdrive as well, but close enough that it doesn't drastically lose the torque that 6th does. 6th is only there for highway fuel economy, not top speed.

Without more details, who knows? But I doubt Porshe will do anything but add two or even three overdrives, which will pretty much make 6th and 7th worthless for top speed. Gear ratio calculators don't equal real life examples.

By amanojaku on 7/1/2011 3:40:06 PM , Rating: 1

I quoted 190mph. I believe the example shows 215mph. Why is my example (which does not include actual ratios, mind you) untenable? I never said people were going to push 190mph, or any speed. I HAVE heard if deaths in street racing accidents over 100mph. These cars can do 60mph in 3.5 seconds, don't count out their ability to accelerate. That's what happens when you have a transmission with a lot of gears: you're always at peak power.

Oh, yeah:

RE: I like manuals but 7 speed ?
By Noya on 7/2/2011 4:21:06 AM , Rating: 2
But I doubt Porshe will do anything but add two or even three overdrives, which will pretty much make 6th and 7th worthless for top speed. Gear ratio calculators don't equal real life examples.

Are you kidding me? 7-spds allow tighter gearing in 1-6 for quicker acceleration all the way to top speed, while 7th is for high speed interstate cruising.

You're thinking of the Camaro, Mustangs and certain Corvette models that will only top in 5th due to the necessity of the super tall 6th gear to achieve decent mileage figures.

By beerhound on 7/2/2011 11:44:01 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly right! I have a Formula Firebird with the 6 speed. Don't remember first through third, but fourth is a straight 1 to 1, fifth is 1.25 to 1 and sixth is 1.5 to 1.

The top speed of the car was 151 in fifth gear. It would only get to 140 in sixth, the engine didn't have enough torque to spin to redline against that 1.5 to 1 ratio. That from a motor whose torque curve was so flat that it made at least 300 ft/lbs from 2000 rpm through the 5800 rpm redline

On the other hand, I was turning just 1500 rpm @65 mph. I had to get up to 88 mph just to see 2000 on the tach. (insert time travel joke here) Made for some excellent mileage for a 350 ci iron block, push-rod V8. I routinely got 28~29 mpg on highway trips and got above 30mpg quite a few times. (best being 32.5)

I know American cars aren't generally as sophisticated as European ones, but I think I got a hell of a bargain out of mine. How many mid 90s era cars can top 150, do 0 to 60 in 5.0 sec, the 1/4 mile in the high 13s and corner at better than .9 g? All for an out the door price of $19474. I drove it home in Feb of 94 and I've just started shopping for it's replacement.

By theapparition on 7/2/2011 1:56:39 PM , Rating: 2

You just made my arguement. 7th will not be for top speed. It will be supertall, for exactly the same reasons as you mentioned.

That was my original assesment that's the OP's mpg vs gear range example was unrealistic in a production car.

RE: I like manuals but 7 speed ?
By Stuka on 7/1/2011 12:34:30 PM , Rating: 3
That is actually how gears work. The ratios are established to provide a usable ground speed range at an optimum engine speed range. It works the same both ways (2+3=5=3+2).

Most cars I've driven have been optimized to allow cruising at most speed limits in a particular gear without the engine getting much over 3000RPM. My German 6spd has broken the mold slightly, as 1st is only good til 10mph, 2nd to 20, etc. This puts me in one higher gear for each cruising speed mark from before. 6th is still better off at 60 than the 5spd would be. Unfortunately, it still means my turbo is spooling at 65 on the freeway. As such, I would suspect the Porsche design here is simply to add a super-cruise gear on top.

RE: I like manuals but 7 speed ?
By soydios on 7/1/2011 1:28:47 PM , Rating: 1
1st gear doesn't go to 60mph...

RE: I like manuals but 7 speed ?
By theapparition on 7/1/2011 2:19:19 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, no kidding. You want a gear that gets you to 60mph, you better be prepared for 15sec 0-60 times.

Would be a complete dog.

RE: I like manuals but 7 speed ?
By Reclaimer77 on 7/1/2011 3:51:47 PM , Rating: 2
Nah you could do it if you had insane Corvette ZR1 levels of torque and HP. I don't think this Porsche is going to have anything like the gear ratios hes describing.

RE: I like manuals but 7 speed ?
By theapparition on 7/2/2011 4:39:33 PM , Rating: 2
Ahem.....I have a ZR1.

1st gear does make it to 60mph, just barely if you run it up to redline, 6500rpm.

1st gear is 1:2.29 and rear end is 3.42. At 6500rpm, the rear wheels are turning 830rpm. Tires are 345/25/zr20 with a circumferance of 84.16". That gives a theoretical top in 1st gear of 66mph. But torque and power starts falling off before that, so it doesn't fully pull that hard past 60. You get best 0-60 performance with a quick shift.

By Reclaimer77 on 7/3/2011 3:37:01 AM , Rating: 2
I said "could" do it. I didn't say you should :)

By amanojaku on 7/1/2011 2:45:04 PM , Rating: 3
Why not? It's possible.

Corvette ZR1
Ferrari F40
Ferrari F50
Ford GT 2005
Lamborghini Diablo
Porsche 959

The list is much longer.

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