When it comes to German performance, engineering and quality Porsche is one automaker that will never disappoint – so it’s no surprise that Porsche held the No.1 spot on J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study for three consecutive years until Lexus took the title in 2009. Porsche has something else to be proud of this year though; the “Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe” (try pronouncing that one), otherwise known as the Porsche double-clutch (PDK). The new transmission delivers quicker acceleration than a standard manual gearbox while maximizing fuel-economy.
When Porsche called us to come out to Atlanta to check out the PDK, we quickly packed our bags, created our driving-music playlist and headed down south. Upon arrival in Atlanta, Porsche gave us a PDK equipped 2009 Porsche model to drive from its headquarters to Birmingham, Alabama. We then strapped ourselves into a 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and began our journey to Barbar Motorsports track where we were allowed to let lose after 4-hours of city/highway driving.
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Reviewed: 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera 4:
“˜Why fix something that isn’t broken?’ That seems to be Porsche’s philosophy when it comes to redesigning each generation. The 2009 911 did see a few subtle changes to the exterior however, that did add a touch of elegance to the car. On the 2009 design, Porsche said “Knowing full well that Porsche owners prize the classic shape of the 911 Carrera, and that wanton and radical redesigns simply for the sake of change undermine a marquee’s value, Porsche’s designers and engineers allowed only minor refinements to the appearance of the model range for 2009.”
The most notable differences on the front of the car are the new horizontal covers for the BI-XENON headlights and the LED daytime running headlamps, which now extend to over the air inlets. Look closely though, and you’ll notice that the center radiator is missing on models equipped with the PDK. On the back of the car, all of the lighting elements, save for the reversing lamp, have been equipped with LED lighting, and there are now two single oval exhaust pipes.
One of the biggest change though, is that the 911 Carrera 4 models are 1.73 inch (44mm) wider than their two-wheel-drive siblings (something you’ll hardly notice).
Besides the paddle-shifters on the steering wheel and the engraved PDK on your gearbox, the most notable feature on the inside of the 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera models is the new Porsche Communication Management System (PCM) with its 6.5-inch screen. The new PCM is now controlled by a touch screen, and comes with an optional 40GB hard drive. Other available features include Bluetooth, iPod, and USB connectivity.
Run your hands over the interior and you’ll notice how much effort Porsche puts into creating a high-quality look and feel. Each and every inch of the 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 indicates a crisp, solid build-quality, and in the 95 + degree heat, the cooled seats option was most welcome.
The 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 does come with back seats; though they are more than useless, and could really only be used to store groceries or your laptop bag that couldn’t possibly fit in the small front-trunk.
This is where the 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 shines. Yes there have been minor exterior and interior upgrades, but all 2009 Carrera models received technological upgrades on their core components; engines, transmissions and the all-wheel-drive system. In addition to the Tiptronic S transmission, the Carrera 4 is also offered with a Porsche dual-clutch transmission with paddle-shifters on the steering wheel.
The new 7-speed PDK dual-clutch is lighter, provides quicker shifts and quicker acceleration than the previous Tiptronic S. The PDK may look like a regular automatic transmission; but it acts and feels more like a 7-speed manual gearbox with its two electro-hydraulically controlled, oil-bathed multiplate clutch packs. One pack controls the odd-numbered gears and reverse while the other controls the even-numbered gears. As one clutch pack engages the gear based on engine weight and speed, the other pack disengages the previous gear. The process results in a seamless and quick shift (60% quicker) when compared to the Tiptronic S. However, like the Tiptronic S, the PDK shifts up and down automatically, though the driver may shift manually via the steering wheel mounted paddles should they so desire.
So what does all this PDK-talk mean for the 2009 911 Carrera 4? All in all, the PDK 7-speed dual-clutch helps increase performance and driving dynamics, while reducing weight, emissions, and fuel consumption.
For 2009, all 911 Carrera models receive direct fuel-injection technology, a new two-piece crankcase, a revised intake and exhaust system with Porsche VarioCam Plus intake-valve timing and lifting system. This results in a 6.2 percent increase in horsepower with the 3.6L straight-6 engine producing 345-hp instead of the previous 325-hp. There is also a 5.5 percent increase in torque, from 273 lb-ft to 288 lb-ft. That allows the PDK equipped 2009 911 Carrera 4 to go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, compared to 4.8 seconds with a manual gearbox equipped model.
Breaking comes courtesy of four, cross-drilled, inner vented, 12.99″ diameter brake rotors, and four-piston calipers used on the 911 Turbo. The result is an amazingly responsive breaking system.
While we weren’t able to test the all-wheel-drive system on the 2009 911 Carrera 4, Porsche did tell us that the model now features the same Traction Management found under the 911 Turbo, which allows engine power to be distributed to all four wheels offering quick response time during adverse driving conditions.
While everything mentioned above may sound brilliant and may have you ready to jump out of your seat to go buy a 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera, just remember; all that improvement and outstanding German engineering comes at a price. The 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 starts at $81,700. Add the PDK 7-speed dual-clutch transmission for $4,080 and a whole bunch of optional extras, and you’re looking at a whopping $93,295. Oh and for those concerned with fuel-economy, the 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 averages an EPA-rated 18/26 mpg (city/highway).
Is all this technology really worth $93,295? In our opinion, absolutely, just so long as you don’t have kids and have a bank account that can sustain such damage.
Reviewed: 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera 4:
– By: Omar Rana