Porsche 911 Named
International Sports Car of the Year - Most Sex Appeal
by Road & Travel Magazine
2012 Porsche 911 Road Test Review
by Martha Hindes
|Porsche 911 Named 2012 International Sports Car of the Year - Most Sex Appeal. Accepting the award (l) are Detlev von Platen, CEO & President of Porsche Cars NA; and Bernhard Maier, Executive Board Member, Sales & Marketing for Porsche AG. Presenting the trophy (r) are Courtney Caldwell, Editor, Road & Travel Magazine and ICOTY founder; Mike Martini, president Bridgestone America OE and ICOTY sponsor; and Martha Hindes, auto contributor for Road & Travel Magazine. (Photo by Jeff Kowalsky)
What do Carly Simon, Heinz Ketchup and the 2012 Porsche 911 have in common? In a word, "Anticipation!" OK, so when Simon wrote the song back in 1971 she wasn't referring to a subsequent ketchup commercial using her music, or a blazing fast sports car. But her wait for a late date must have been almost as frustrating as it was for Porsche fans who endured a long, long wait for the seventh generation of the classic auto that finally hit the ground running in September.
Porsche probably relished the ongoing drumbeat of speculation that had preceded the launch. Automotive experts had turned over just about every facet of the 911 Carrera as they speculated about the upcoming changes a full redesign would bring some two years in the future. Would the 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera have cameras instead of side view mirrors? Would the manual trans be history in lieu of (gasp) a continuously variable transmission (CVT), the bane of some enthusiasts who cringe at the idea of not having perceptible shift gates to rip through?
Seems the longing was well worth the wait. While it must be a challenging job redefining something with such iconic status, the wizards at Porsche have managed to refine the 911 in such a way that it has kept its hot cool without disrupting its lofty aura. Since the agonizing delay finally ended at its Frankfurt, Germany motor show reveal late last fall, it has reached a new level of respect. And adoration.
For ICOTY judges, this all must have been somewhat amusing, since those autophiles know the true meaning of "gotcha" goes well beyond a stat sheet when it comes to a vehicle's allure. ICOTY -- short for International Car of the Year awards -- metes out honors based on that indefinable, yet tantalizing quality a car can have that makes it simply delicious to be around and breathtakingly lusty to drive. Those judges in fact found the new 2012 Porsche Carrera 911 so appealing, they voted it the International Sports Car of the Year for its high sex appeal X factor, eliciting the most passion of all 2012 vehicles.
ICOTY founder and Road & Travel Magazine publisher Courtney Caldwell knows well the impact such allure can bring. People who have a true emotional attachment to their vehicles tend to stay in the fold rather than straying towards other brands, whether it's a budget compact or a sports car with a six-digit price tag, she said. The automaker that can tap into that emotional passion has half the game won when it's time for someone to look at a new set of wheels.
Awards are not about power and performance,
but rather about personality, passion and personal lifestyle," said Caldwell.
Bridgestone, longtime lead sponsor and supporter of the ICOTY Awards, recognizes the consumer-product relationship as critical to vehicle success.
“Bridgestone is proud to support the ICOTY awards, and applauds the efforts of Porsche that like our company demonstrates a strong commitment to innovative technology,” said Michael Martini, president, Consumer OE, Bridgestone Americas. “Through the combined efforts of everyone in the auto industry, and led by automakers like those being recognized in the 2012 International Car of the Year Awards, we will continue to meet and exceed the demands of the motoring public.”
|Detlev von Platen, CEO & President of Porsche Cars NA; and Bernhard Maier, Executive Board Member, Sales & Marketing for Porsche AG (l), were thrilled to hear the 2012 Porsche 911 won the International Sports Car of the Year for Most Sex Appeal! (Photo by Jeff Kowalsky)
Now that anticipation has moved aside for a reality check, there are plenty of 911 revisions to go around. While it's sometimes referred to as a commuter's Porsche that can function well in rush hour traffic rather than being savored only during track or winding road time, it has gotten the royal treatment.
First, and foundationally, are changes to the body itself, although visually they are subtle. The new 911 has gone on a diet, thanks to liberal use of a lighter and more stable structure, what Porsche calls "intelligent lightweight construction," with a new aluminum-steel body. Size has grown slightly in length and width with 3.9-inches added to the wheelbase. A more substantial, adjustable-height spoiler keeps it anchored in flat out runs.
Interior trim is just gorgeous, with a blonde rendition to weep for, piqued by a new setting for controls. New seats offer a sportier feel. Trims can range from "sporty" carbon and brushed aluminum to classic wood.
A new engine powers the revised, rear drive 911 Carrera, a 3.4-liter, flat-6 that (in Euro talk) exudes the equivalent of 350 horsepower (400 for the 3.8-liter Carrera S) with a beautiful accompanying roar. A seven-speed manual trans joins the new seven-speed double clutch automatic with paddle shifters. Park assist is available. Of course the 911 Carrera uses premium fuel in its 16.9 gallon tank. Fuel economy numbers haven't been provided yet, but with a top speed of 188.9 miles per hour, does anyone really think twice about mileage here?
In a cadre of autos that can surpass the six-digit mark in price, a base 911 Carrera coupe can be had for as little as $82,000. But not if two years of anticipation has fueled the fire of desire for, say, a prize-winning Burmester High-End Sound System. Somehow, we figure during that long a wait, one could come up with the extra change to add a little -- or a lot -- more.
Road & Travel Magazine
2012 Porsche 911 - International Sports Car of the Year
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