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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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Several comments
By Colin1497 on 7/3/2011 8:51:43 AM , Rating: 2
1) A tall 7th gear would be nice to eek out more highway mileage, but I probably wouldn't touch the existing gearing. Currently 3rd pulls to about 100mph and that's fine. They are under a lot of pressure to get better mileage and you're seeing the results here. The US's new formula relates mileage and wheelbase, so if build a big car you're allowed poorer mileage, if you build a small car you have to get better mileage. Ironically, the 911 gets pretty good mileage for a sports car (I get mid-20's away from the track), but its short wheelbase means US mileage law hates it. The answer? Stretching the wheelbase 2" is part of it, adding another cog is part of it, more aluminum, etc.

2) Interesting that they're downsizing the base engine back to 3.4l, matching the Caymen. This makes a lot of sense. It allows the S to be a bigger step and it gives the base car more commonality and allows it to be a little cheaper.

3) Electric steering makes me cry. The thing that makes a 911 what it is is that you can hop in it and drive it close to 10/10's because the car gives such wonderful feedback. Several times C&D has noted that they take a 911 and a Corvette to the track and get near their best lap times for the 911 in the first session while they gradually get braver and braver and thus faster and faster in the vette. It's hard to describe, but the first time I drove a 911 I knew I had to have one, and I really don't want anything else, now.

4) Nobody who owns a 911 is cross-shopping the Corvette. If you have a vette, good for you, I'm glad you enjoy it. I'll continue reading about them in C&D, but that's the end of my interest in that vehicle at this point. Maybe the next generation will be interesting, maybe not.

5) The GT3RS is a fun car and on my want to have list, but if you want to know the best daily driver, it's a Targa. The Targa rear glass is a hatch and you can thus put larger items in the back. I put suitcases back there all the time when heading to the airport. The other 911's leave you with only the trunk for luggage...

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