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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 Strunf on 7/1/2011 12:49:24 PM , Rating: 2
My Golf 4 only has 5 and I sure miss a 6, if you go over 100km/h a 6 gear is needed.
A 7 gear makes sense if you drive in Germany where there isn't a speed limit!

RE: I like manuals but 7 speed ?
By Philippine Mango on 7/1/2011 6:53:12 PM , Rating: 2
What you're really trying to say but you don't realize it but your 5th gear is 'too short' meaning that the engine revs high at only 62mph. That's intentional so that lazy drivers don't have to downshift to accelerate quickly. If they added another gear to your car, the sixth gear would be the equivalent of your current 5th gear and they'd just have more gear ratios in between. This is an issue of automakers making the cars 'peppy' in top gear opposed to not having enough gears.

RE: I like manuals but 7 speed ?
By Samus on 7/17/2011 4:36:54 PM , Rating: 1
We totally need more wide-ration transmissions. The close-ration 6-speed in the Civic R, Mini Cooper, and even the Mustang GT, are all ridiculous to drive with around town. The only benifit is the 1-2 upshift leaves your rev's higher, resulting in a faster 0-60, but if you were concerned with a 0-60, you wouldn't have a manual transmission.

An automatic will always shift faster than a manual, which is why nearly every strip car has an automatic, perhaps with a manual throttle body, but the guts are a clutchless automatic.

RE: I like manuals but 7 speed ?
By FITCamaro on 7/2/2011 3:05:35 PM , Rating: 2
You need 6 gears to go over 60ish mph?

RE: I like manuals but 7 speed ?
By Murloc on 7/3/2011 5:59:25 AM , Rating: 2
you don't, but if you're driving a random smallish car at 120 km/h, the fact that you don't have a sixth gear sucks, because you waste petrol and it makes a whiny noise when it could be totally silent with a sixth gear.
The guy above said that they'd just make all the gear shorter, I don't know about that, but by "need a 6th gear" people means that they need a real 6th gear without modifying the others.

RE: I like manuals but 7 speed ?
By shiftypy on 7/13/2011 9:03:54 AM , Rating: 2
It is a curse for all modern cars, top gear too short for efficient highway cruise

Where is the sense in this? Say this 911. Excellent engine with great dynamics throuhgout rev range and they stick 7 speeds on it, probably chopped into tiny intervals. 5 gears with tall intervals would be enough! And no less efficient.

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