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Porsche explains every generation of the 911 [w/video]

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Article by Damon Lowney
Photos courtesy Porsche

The sports car that took the reigns from Porsche’s stalwart 356 in 1964, the 911, was an improvement in almost every way. Yet the basic formula to which the 911 adhered — engine at the rear, rear-wheel drive, sporting pretentions — were all present in the 356. And so it goes at Porsche, an automaker obsessed with finesse and fine-tuning rather than radical change.

Leading up to tonight’s debut of the newest generation of the 911 (click here to watch the livestream at 8 PM PST), Porsche has sought to explain how the 911 has evolved over seven generations. The eight-part series is listed below with descriptions, photos, and links to the full articles at Porsche’s Newsroom website.


911: 1964—1973

The original 911 replaced the aging 356, and although it utilized a similar rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive layout, it was a totally new platform that housed an engine with two more cylinders: the venerable air-cooled flat-six. The engine grew from 2.0 to 2.4 liters in the normal production models, and 2.7 liters in the high-performance Carrera RS. Click here to read more in "The original 911: the masterpiece from Zuffenhausen"


911 (G Series): 1974—1989


Above: 1983 911 SC Cabriolet.

The G Series era encompasses quite some time, but it can be broken down into three distinct sub-eras. Model year 1974 brought a significant visual change to the car with the addition of required five miles-per-hour "accordian" bumpers. During this period, the 911 came standard with a 2.7-liter flat-six. The 911 SC was produced for model years 1978-83, and was equipped with a 3.0-liter flat-six. Finally, the 3.2-liter Carrera was the star of Porsche's lineup for model years 1984-89. A 911 Turbo with 3.0- and 3.3-liter turbocharged flat-sixes was offered in North America from 1976-79, and again from 1986-89. Click here to read more in "The G model: The 911 gets off to a flying start with technical innovations"


964: 1989—1994

The 964 was the first modern 911 Porsche offered, starting in 1989 with the all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 (followed by two-wheel-drive Carreras in 1990). The air-cooled flat-six was now 3.6 liters in the naturally aspirated Carrera offerings and made 247 horsepower. Porsche claimed the car used 85% new parts, though it looked very similar to previous 911s, aside from the new bumpers. Click here to reard more in "The type 964: a new start with this 911"


993: 1995—1998


Above: 1997 911 Carrera S.

The 993 generation marked the end of the line for Porsche's air-cooled flat-sixes. Produced for model years 1995-98 in the North American market, the 993 retained the 3.6-liter displacement, but saw output increase to 272 hp (285 hp for 1996-98). A sophisticated multi-link suspension replaced the strut-type setup the 911 had always used, and perhaps more significantly, the shape of the 911 had changed relatively drastically. Click here to read more in "The 993: Pinnacle of the air-cooled era and the last of its kind"


996: 1999—2005

If the 964 or the 993 were considered fairly big leaps forward by Porsche standards, the 996 could be seen as the Olympic long-jumper. Porsche did away with the air-cooled flat-six and replaced it with a water-cooled flat-six that made close to 300 horsepower. Though you can't see them in the picture above, the headlights were the most controversial design feature on the 996, which was 100% new and paved the way forward for Porsche. Click here to read more in "The 996: First 911 with water-cooled flat engine"


997: 2005—2012


Above: 997 Carrera GTS.

The 997 can be seen as a sort of natural evolution of the 996, taking all of the good from that platform, yet improving it in many ways. Water-cooled flat-sixes ranged from 325 horsepower in the 2005 Carrera to 620 hp in the 2011 GT2 RS. The exterior design was more cohesive, and the headlights more closely resemebled the classic round units air-cooled 911s had used for decades. Click here to read more in "The 997: Technology offensive, new design and great variety for the 911"


991 (991.1 and 991.2): 2012—2019

The 991-generation 911 was introduced for model year 2012 and runs through 2019. The 991.1 pre-update models were predominantly powered by naturally aspirated flat-sixes (aside from the 911 Turbo modes) and ran through model year 2016. The 991.2 was introduced for 2017, and brought radical change: a turbocharged flat-six for every variant except the GT3 and GT3 RS. Click here to read about the 991: "The 991: the 911 passes the one million mark"

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