The 2009 Porsche 911 is in a class of its own, and if you have your heart set on one, there's very little else to compare it to.
For more than 40 years, the Porsche 911 has been thrilling car enthusiasts by constantly raising the performance bar, and 2009 is no different from previous model years. Highlighting the upgrade sheet are new engines for the 911 Carrera Coupe and Carrera Coupe S, as well as the addition of Porsche's seven-speed double-clutch transmission.
The new engines are constructed with a new two-piece crankcase design, and they feature direct fuel injection and Porsche's VarioCam Plus intake-valve timing and lift system. Porsche claims a 6.2 percent increase in horsepower, from 325 to 345 hp, for the standard 3.6-liter engine and an increase in torque from 273 to 288 pound-feet. The larger 3.8-liter engine in the 2009 Porsche Carrera S jumps from 355 horsepower to 385 and an equally impressive improvement in torque to 310 from 295 lb-ft. Top end speeds and 0-60 times for each vehicle are 180 mph and 188 mph, and 4.7 seconds and 4.5 seconds, respectively.
There's a 911 GT3 edition this year with 435 hp and 0-60-mph acceleration of 4.0 seconds, too. The king of the hill is the 911 GT2; with its 3.6-liter flat-six and 530 horsepower, it rockets to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. Fuel economy of all versions ranges from 16/23 mpg to 15/22 mpg, amazing figures for such high-performance cars.
There is no better-steering car on planet than the 911 Porsche; it is simply brilliant and a joy to drive in any scenario. There's no practical way to approach the 911's grip limits on the street—more so for the all-wheel-drive models, which have even wider tires. The ride is always comfortable, and the wheels never seem to be anything except squarely and firmly planted on the pavement. Dual front, side, and curtain airbags are standard, along with Porsche's excellent PSM stability control system.
The Cabriolet versions of the 2009 911s are fitted with an impressively snug top and equipped with a heated glass rear window. Putting the top down is a one-button affair that snugly retracts the whole thing in just a few seconds and sends it back up in a few more.
Porsche offers a staggering array of options and custom features, including an active suspension, ceramic brakes, 19-inch wheels, and leather trim for nearly every surface. The rear seats on any 911, however, are token gestures, not even large enough for small children.