Porsche 911 Carrera - 2003 Model

Porsche 911 Carrera


New engine, new face

Already one of the world’s most significant and widely respected sports cars, the 911 Carrera has recently been the subject of a wide range of enhancements aimed at further cementing its glowing reputation. High on the list of changes is a new engine, which has grown in capacity from 3.4 to 3.6 litre, and features the innovative Porsche VarioCam Plus.

Thanks to the redesigned front, the second generation 996 model series Carrera looks even more powerful and dynamic than ever. A key element of the styling changes is the adoption of the 911 Turbo’s distinctive headlights, although restyled air intakes in the nose also play their part in enhancing the looks of the Carrera. Styling changes to the back of the car include twin oval tailpipes and a bold contour line on the lower-third of the rear bumper assembly.

VarioCam Plus at the heart of the new 3.6-litre engine

The 911 Carrera’s flat-six powerplant has been enlarged in size from 3.4 to 3.6 litre, through an increase in stroke from 78.0mm to 82.8mm. This has helped raise maximum power to 320bhp (235kW) at 6800rpm, while lifting the torque peak to 273lb ft (370Nm) at 4250rpm. Despite these increased outputs throughout the entire engine speed range, average fuel consumption (to EU standards) has fallen by approximately 6 per cent to 25.2mpg (11.1 litres per 100km).

Now standard on all Carrera models is VarioCam Plus, comprising camshaft adjustment on the intake side together with a variable valve-lift function. This variable valve-lift system is made up of two interacting, switchable cup tappets on the intake side of the engine, which are operated by two cam lobes of differing sizes on the intake camshaft. This arrangement harnesses the best dynamic characteristics of what are essentially two different cam set-ups, allowing the optimisation of the engine’s power and torque outputs on the one hand, while on the other improving economy, emissions and refinement.

Enhanced aerodynamics

Porsche aerodynamicists have further improved upon the Carrera’s aerodynamic package. Firstly, they have increased the flow of cooling air through the front of the car by 15 per cent, for even better ventilation of the front wheelarches. The second, and more significant, achievement is a substantial reduction in lift on both the front and rear axles. Front wheel lift has been cut by 25 per cent, from cFA = 0.08 down to cFA = 0.06, while rear wheel lift has been sliced by 40 per cent, from cRA = 0.05 to cRA = 0.03. What makes these improvements all the more remarkable is that they have been achieved without altering the Carrera’s excellent Cd 0.30 drag coefficient.

New light-alloy wheels for even lower weight

Style meets efficiency in the new designs of light-alloy wheels for the revised Carrera. Slender spokes help reduce weight significantly; the standard equipment 10-spoke 17-inch wheels are 9.1 per cent lighter (3.6kg/7.9lb) than the wheels they replace. The difference is even greater with the optional five-spoke 18-inch alloys, which weigh 10.6kg (23.4lb) less than their predecessors, a 21.3 per cent reduction in mass.

On-board computer with an extra-large display

Apart from detail differences, such as the red zone in the rev counter, the new Carreras come with the same instrument cluster as the 911 Turbo. The lower-third of the centrally-positioned rev counter now houses a large digital display area, with space for several types of data to be displayed at one time. In its basic setting, it presents not only the overall and trip mileage, but also additional information from the on-board computer, such as the outside temperature. The driver can select other information to be displayed, such as like average speed, current fuel consumption, and the car’s range with actual fuel in the tank.

Upgraded interior equipment

To complement its enhanced mechanical package, the Carrera now has an even longer list of standard equipment. This includes: partial leather upholstery, automatic air-conditioning, heat-insulating glass, CD/radio, electric windows, electrically-adjustable and heated external rear-view mirrors, central locking, an electronic immobiliser and an alarm system with interior surveillance, a three-spoke steering wheel, a new twin-cup holder fitted beneath the central air vents, and an illuminated, lockable glovebox. The new glovebox is situated below the passenger airbag, and is large enough to accommodate a road atlas.

Published 25 October 2002 Melanie Carter

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