AWD traction expands usage window
The Porsche 911 Carrera 4 is the Porsche for Canada. Why? Traction at all four compass points - that's why.
All-wheel-drive traction = all-weather performance
Before exploring this week's tester, I want to emphasize the "grip and rip" benefit derived from the distribution of power to all four wheels. It rains a lot in Canada, and it snows a lot as well. Such conditions are not ideal for Porsche ownership unless talking about the Cayenne -- and we're not.
We are focused this week on the iconic 911 sports coupe, a car that sets performance benchmarks on dry pavement -- and that's great if living in Arizona where the sun is a sure bet. North of the 49th, the odds make Vegas look promising.
While the Carrera 4 isn't meant for heavy snow days, its all-wheel traction greatly extends its usage window to include everything else, and that's why it's Canada's Porsche. As a daily driver, which the 911 is, the Carrera 4 with proper snow tires won't be laid-up awaiting the crocuses of spring; albeit the AWD traction of the Carrera 4 is about much more than winter driving.
Four-wheel grip and technology enhance stability
The Porsche AWD system isn't something thrown willy-nilly beneath the 911. It's a highly sophisticated setup that utilizes intelligence known as Porsche Traction Management (PTM) along with an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch combined with an automatic brake differential (ABD) and an anti-slip program (ASP).
That's a tremendous accumulation of cutting-edge technology engineered to maximize the benefit of the Carrera 4's AWD capability. And if it's not sufficient to confuse, allow me to throw in the Carrera's mechanically locking rear differential and Porsche's Stability Management program.
The point in citing this shopping list of electronics and mechanized wizardry isn't to baffle and befuddle but rather to illustrate the significance and sophistication of the Carrera 4's AWD setup.
My experience in the wet
My 2012 Carrera 4 tester was equipped with winter tires. Thanks to the abundance of grip at all four corners and the aforementioned technology, I could rocket off the line on slick pavement with nary a slip or spin from the snow tires as the full force of the Porsche powerplant exploded to life.
The degree of control the Carrera 4 provides under full acceleration in such unfavourable conditions is outstanding, whether attacking a hairpin or shooting a straight line. The Carrera 4 isn't unsettled when thrown a curve during a launch, wet or dry. It simply hunkers down and goes where it's pointed while the boxer brute behind the seat howls in delight.
3.6L boxer engine strong and responsive
The 6-cylinder horizontally opposed boxer engine - for which Porsche is renowned - produces 345 hp @ 6,500 rpm and 288 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm. Power flows through a 6-speed manual gearbox or an optional 7-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) manual gearbox with an automatic mode.
My tester was PDK-equipped, which included shift paddles to eliminate the need to remove a hand from the beautifully contoured steering wheel. The PDK is a remarkable component that provides the benefits of a manual gearbox with the ease of using an automatic transmission.
Thanks to the optional Sport Chrono Package, my tester was equipped with 'Sport' and 'Sport Plus' modes that revised engine response and vehicle damping to enhance performance and extend handling thresholds.
Sport Plus also includes Porsche's 'Launch Control' function, which allows the vehicle to literally leap off the line at 6,500 rpm, reaching 100km/h in just 4.6 seconds according to Porsche.
Outstanding performance in a daily driver
Everyday drivability is one of the attributes making the 911 Porsche Carrera so popular. This is an exotic vehicle that is sufficiently refined and adequately comfortable to use as a daily commuter. While the ride quality is firm, it's not punishing or race-car stiff unless the Sport Plus mode is activated.
And while it's not a particularly quiet car, the deep, symphonic engine note is pure bliss to those who care about such characteristics. My tester was tight and rattle-free, which again added to the delight it delivered day after day.
997 vs. 991
Sharp-eyed Porsche aficionados will correctly note that my 2012 Carrera 4 tester is a 997 generation 911. It will eventually be replaced by the all-new 991 generation, which was recently launched in Santa Barbara, California. I wrote a "First Impressions" review of the 991. For now though, the 2012 Carrera 4 will continue as a 997 generation.
Wrapping the 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera 4
The 911 is a masterful sports coupe that enjoys immense popularity around the globe. The Carrera 4 enables its Canadian owners to drive through some of the worst that Mother Nature assails upon our polite mild-mannered population, justly expanding the usage window of this exhilarating automotive icon.
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