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Porsche Carrera 911s
Like any updated car whose changes stop short of a full redesign, the 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera bears the typical scars of midcycle fiddling. There are new headlights, new taillights, and a new touch-screen dashboard display. And that matters not one iota to us. In fact, those are but infinitesimal flickers in a grand night sky compared to the new 911’s biggest step forward, which requires you step back and peek under the engine covers of the Carrera and Carrera S. There, affixed to familiar flat-six engines, you’ll find twin turbochargers. Close the lids, and nary a script “Turbo” badge is visible.
We have entered a brave new world in which the base 911 Carrera and its zippier Carrera S sibling have given up natural breathing for forced induction. It’s been expected for some time that Porsche would drop the Carrera duo’s naturally aspirated flat-sixes for turbocharged versions. Still, now that it has happened, we can’t help but lament the loss of Porsche’s signature and wonderful-sounding non-turbo flat-six. And that’s all the space we’ll devote to our mourning period. The new engine, shared in essentially the same form by both the Carrera and Carrera S, is a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged ball of mechanical fury.
In the Carrera, the twin-turbo engine produces 370 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque; different compressor wheels, a special exhaust setup, and a specific ECU tune nets the Carrera S 420 horsepower and 368 lb-ft of torque. Both entry-level 911 models now serve up 20 horsepower more than their non-turbocharged predecessors, while the Carrera’s torque peak rises by 44 lb-ft and the S’s swells by 43. Both Carreras can register 7500 rpm on their tachometers, a lofty engine speed for a turbocharged engine. And both are said to be 12 percent more fuel efficient, although final EPA fuel-economy estimates are still forthcoming.
Porsche claims that the 911 Carrera with the PDK automatic transmission and the Sport Chrono package shaves 0.2 second off of its zero-to-60 time (for a 4.0-second run) while increasing its top speed to 183 mph. The S is said to hit 60 in 3.7 seconds, again a 0.2-second improvement, while achieving 191 mph on the top end. We recorded a 4.4-second zero-to-60 time and a 182-mph top speed in a manual-transmission 2012 911 Carrera, and the best we’ve gotten from a Carrera S—also a 2012 model—was 3.6 seconds to 60 (top speed was claimed to be 188 mph). That means Porsche’s performance estimates for both turbocharged 911s are, as is usually the case, conservative. As far as transitions affecting iconic nameplates with far-reaching consequences for enthusiasts’ nostalgia go, Porsche’s embrace of the turbo is looking good.