out of 10

The 2012 911 marks the arrival of a completely redesigned version of Porsche’s iconic sports car, and possibly the best yet.

The new car, which is currently available in either coupe or convertible bodystyles and either regular Carrera or sportier Carrera S trims, improves on the model it replaces in almost every way. This is all the more impressive when you consider how good the last one was!

After 48 years of production, the 911 is now in its seventh generation. This 2012 model, or 991 as it’s known to fans, comes with more space on the inside, a wider track to improve handling, and drivetrains that not only gain power but also efficiency.

The base model, which represents great value considering the cachet of the Porsche brand and the bespoke nature of the car, is priced from a very reasonable $82,100 before destination. It gets a 3.4-liter flat-six engine with 350 horsepower on tap and a seven-speed manual--yes, a manual with six forward gears and reverse.

However, unless you’re a sports car die-hard, we recommend the brilliant seven-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox. It guarantees 0-60 mph acceleration in 4.4 seconds; 4.2 when you using the optional Sport Chrono Package’s Launch Control function. Top speed is 179 mph.

Opt for the $96,400 Carrera S and you get a 3.8-liter flat-six engine with 400 horsepower. This model will sprint from 0-60 mph in just 4.1 seconds, or 3.9 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package. Top speed for the Carrera S is a claimed 188 mph.

The 911, in a nutshell, is an agile, relatively light, powerful, and easily-placed sports car. Handling and feedback, on the whole, is very good--for electromechanical steering. Compared to a typical electric solution, the 2012 911's steering is in an entirely different class, which is one of the reasons we voted the car the best in our 2012 Best Car To Buy comparo.

And when you’re away from the track or your favorite mountain road, the rest of the 2012 911 is also a benchmark of quality, fit and finish, and material selection. Note, despite the extra four-inches added to the overall length of the 991 Porsche 911, the rear seats, as seat-like as they appear to be, are still best left to very small children, as even moderate-height adults up front will reduce rear leg room to near zero.

Safety remains a strong suit as the car is equipped with a wide array of safety equipment, including a full complement of airbags, traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes, and Porsche's proprietary Torque Vectoring Control and Dynamic Chassis Control.

For a more detailed look at the 2012 Porsche 911, check out our comprehensive first drive report.

UPDATERUF’s First Take On The 991 Porsche 911 Is The New Rt 35 Anniversary Edition

German tuner RUF has managed to draw out more than 630 horsepower from the Porsche 911 Carrera S. Read Update

UPDATEPorsche Celebrates 60 Years Of Clubs With 911 Club Coupe

The 2012 Porsche 911 Club Coupe celebrates sixty years of Porsche Clubs with a very special limited-edition car. Read Update

UPDATEFerdinand Alexander Porsche, 911 Designer, Dead At 76

The designer of the original Porsche 911 has died. Read Update

UPDATEPhoto And Video Of The First 2012 Porsche 911 Crash

The sad-looking 991-series Porsche 911 involved in this crash is believed to be only a month old. Read Update

UPDATEPorsche Engineer Predicts Demise Of Manual 911s

The Porsche 911 may no longer come with a three-pedal manual option by the end of the decade. Read Update

UPDATE2012 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet Spotted On The Road: Video

The 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet has been spotted on the road near Porsche's Zuffenhausen headquarters. Read Update

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