The silhouette of the new Porsche 911 Carrera
channels both heritage and evolution.
The Porsche 911 has matured into a classic since its introduction 50 years
ago. But it’s also grown more like itself, so to speak—“an icon, continuously
refined,” as Porsche AG Head of Design Michael Mauer likes to
put it. At the Porsche Museum in Zuffenhausen, outside the German
city of Stuttgart, a display of the silhouettes of 911 models over the years shows how
similar and yet how unique each iteration is, with the roofline being its essence.
The latest 911 is no exception. The key to its identity, says Mauer, “is the width-toheight
ratio. The roof of the new car is only slightly lower, but [the vehicle] appears
flatter and lower, especially from the front. The windshield is more angled.” The
rear window, which the Porsche
designers call the fly line, falls
away more dramatically.
The Porsche 911 is in its seventh
generation—a sacred mark
for the company. Fittingly, the
roofline of the current car echoes
that of the one unveiled at the
Paris auto show in 1963 by F.A. “Butzi” Porsche. But there are refinements, what
Porsche designers call its “flat, stretched silhouette.”
The changes in Porsches from one generation to the next seem fairly small,
incremental at the time—even the shift in 1998 from an air-cooled to a water-cooled
engine did not radically reshape the body. It’s a nifty design achievement of both
bloodline and evolution: Look at the first 911 and the latest 911 and the difference
is marked, yet the cars are immediately identifiable.
The new 911 offers more power but nevertheless has better fuel economy, with
its 3.4-liter base engine putting out 350 horsepower, fed through a seven-speed
manual transmission. It is lighter thanks to more use of aluminum. Other innovations
including the active anti-roll system, called Porsche Dynamic Chassis
Control, are state of the art. But these things lie underneath, behind the car’s iconic
outline. MSRP: $84,300