Flash Drive: 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S
This 2009 review is representative of model years 2005 to 2011.
By Staff of MSN Autos
The slogan "the ultimate driving machine" may belong to BMW, but it's a perfect description for this latest-generation Porsche 911. It may not be as flashy as a Ferrari or as flamboyant as a Dodge Viper, but the 911 is pure sports car. As expected, acceleration is strong, with a wonderful aural accompaniment from the big dual-exhaust pipes. Hit the Sport button and the 911 is even more responsive, with the Sport Plus button for ultimate performance, keeping the revs at maximum. Steering is superprecise. While handling is excellent, it doesn't hurt the car's ride. The rear seat is basically unusable for passengers, but the trunk space up in front is surprisingly spacious. With a comfortable, attractive interior, classic good looks and fantastic performance, this 911 Carrera S would be welcome in my driveway any time. – Perry Stern
Porsche's iconic sports car continues to evolve, and the 2009 Carrera S incorporates the latest technology, including a 385-horsepower 3.8-liter flat-six combined with Porsche's PDK transmission. The PDK can function fully automatically, or the driver can shift manually. I prefer the Sport mode, which holds the lower gear longer and downshifts more quickly compared with the Normal mode, which is programmed for economy. It will get you nearly 20 mpg around town. Leave the Sport Plus mode for the track, since it holds every gear until redline unless the driver shifts manually. It seems odd, with Porsche's racing heritage, that the driver shifts up by pushing the lever forward and shifts down by pulling back, the opposite of a sequential racing transmission. The shift buttons on the steering wheel are a bit clunky — I prefer paddles behind the steering wheel for this type of transmission, or better yet, I'll go for the traditional experience with the 6-speed manual and operate the clutch with my left foot. – Mike Meredith
The Porsche 911 Carrera S is beautifully made. I own a 10-year-old 911 myself (a 1999 996, if you're into that sort of thing) and the difference between the old and new is almost night-and-day. Porsche's new semi-automatic gearbox, called PDK, works great! The transmission sounds and feels much sturdier than the one in the Nissan GT-R, and is far better at smoothly managing steady speeds under 25 mph while still offering fast shifts when you're driving vigorously. As in every new 911 before it, this version is faster than its predecessor while being easier to drive and safer, too. It's a reliable recipe for increasing sales while still maintaining a fantastic supply of used cars for the nostalgic buyer. – Paul Hagger
If only the United States had an Autobahn, you could really exploit the true capabilities of the new Porsche Carrera S. Ours came equipped with the new 7-speed PDK transmission, which was laser-quick when making shifts. The Carrera S accelerates superfast off the line, and keeps charging until you are well above the speed limit. While the design has become smoother and more aerodynamic over the years, it unfortunately doesn't look as attractive as the earlier 964 series. The interior is top-notch, with great materials and easy-to-read controls. The rear seats are really only for kids, and if you need an infant seat, you can only use a specially designed Porsche seat. While priced close to $100,000 with all the options, the satisfaction and pride of driving one of the best performance cars on the road is definitely worth it. – Joe Chulick