As in the past, the 911 Carrera 4 uses the same flat-six engine as the regular Carrera, though this time its the updated 350-horsepower unit, and also has the added benefit of Porsche's intelligent all-wheel drive system. The car has moved to the 991 platform as well, meaning it's longer and larger, while inside, a Panamera-like central console has been adopted that flows down in between the two front seats.
As in the previous Carrera 4, the rear track is wider compared to the rear-wheel drive model (in this case by about 1.5 inches), making the car easier to spot by aficionados. Thanks to a new shell and a thorough reengineering, the car weighs about 143lbs less than the old car as well. From the rear, the red reflector strip that joins the rear LED brake lights is a sure-fire sign of the car's grip-enhancing underpinnings.
Buyers get a choice of the industry's first seven-speed manual or Porsche's 7-speed Doppelkupplung (PDK) dual-clutch unit for an extra fee. In either case, the transmission mates to a 3.4-liter flat-six, rated at 350 horsepower at 7,400RPM and 287lb-ft at 5,600RPM, with the redline set at 7,800RPM. It also sports a 12.5:1 compression ratio.
It's a sign of the times and technology that the PDK-equipped cars will be two tenths of a second quicker in the official 0-60mph sprint than the manual cars, at 4.5 seconds versus 4.7. The shift-for-yourself crowd does get an advantage on the top end, however, as the top speed is rated at 177mph in manuals compared to 175mph in the autos. The auto car is also 44lbs heavier, at 3,197lbs.
As for fuel economy, the Carrera 4 manual gets 19/27/22MPG in the city/highway/combined cycles, respectively, with the PDK enjoying 1MPG improvement in all three tests. Either transmission is paired with an Auto Stop/Start system, a first for a manual-transmission Porsche.
The car rides on 19-inch wheels, though they are 11 inches wide in the rear to accommodate the 295/35-19 rear tires compared to the 8.5-inch wide rims and 235/40-19 tires up front.
The Porsche Traction Management AWD system gets a screen in the 4.8-inch TFT screen in the instrument panel that shows drivers how the power is being distributed in the car.
Comfort, convenience, and safety
Active safety systems in the 911 Carrera 4 include Porsche Stability Management and ABS. The Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) lets users adjust the ride comfort and height of the car in a 0.8-inch range. There is a Normal and Sport mode.
As you can see in some of the photos, a black sphere in the lower grille is the Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) system that's optional for the first time.
The iconic 911 Carrera 4 faces competition from a range of diverse rivals, including two-seater performance machines like the base Chevrolet Corvette and Audi R8 as well as luxury four-seater coupes such as the BMW 6-Series and Jaguar XK. It remains the only rear-engined car among them, however.