• Coupe and Cabriolet models with superior, all-weather traction.
  • 350-horsepower Carrera 4 or 400-horsepower Carrera 4S variants.
  • 7-speed automatic transmission available.

As with several earlier generations, the latest 2013 Porsche 911 is now available with all-wheel drive (AWD) to improve traction, especially in slippery conditions. Porsche calls it "Carrera 4" and offers four models with the designation.

All-wheel drive is a popular choice on the 911; about a third of the previous-generation 911 models were sold with the optional Carrera 4 setup. The all-new version is available as the 350-hp Carrera 4 or 400-hp Carrera 4S, with each of those offered as either a Coupe or Cabriolet. The manufacturer's suggested retail prices start at $91,030 for the Carrera 4 Coupe--a premium of about $9,000 over the base rear-drive 2012 911 Carrera Coupe--and rise to $117,530 for the Carrera 4S Cabriolet, the priciest of the Carrera 4 models.

Porsche shaved weight compared with the previous generation, and the new models are faster and more economical. In the Coupe equipped with the optional 7-speed automatic transmission, the 3.4-liter engine in the Carrera 4 now yields up to 28 mpg on the highway. Yet performance is excellent. Properly equipped, the Carrera 4 can hit 60 mph from a standstill in 4.3 seconds and continue to a top speed of 177 mph. With its 3.8-liter engine, the 4S can do it in 3.9 seconds and tops out at 185 mph.

All Carrera 4 models are available with either a standard 7-speed manual transmission or Porsche's optional PDK dual-clutch automatic, also a 7-speed unit. The PDK allows the driver to select gears manually or let the machine handle the job.

Aside from power going to all four wheels, the difference between the Carrera and Carrera 4 models is minor. The body of the Carrera 4 is wider at the rear by 1.72 inches and accommodates wider tires. Although the AWD system, called "Porsche Traction Management" (PTM), is biased toward the rear, power can be delivered to maximize traction, improving safety and performance in wet, dry or wintry conditions as well as on a variety of road surfaces.

A new menu in the gauge cluster displays how PTM is applying power. Additionally, a few features like a glass sunroof and adaptive cruise are available for the first time on the Carrera 4.

The shape of the 2013 Porsche 911 is a convincing reminder that the German sports car maker prefers the evolution of its designs over starting from scratch with a new model. The 911 is immediately recognizable as the latest in a series that stretches back to the 1960s and, although it has grown in size and complexity, the formula remains consistent--a relatively lightweight, rear-engine 2+2 sports car. Carrera 4 models continue to build on that formula with the enhanced safety, performance and all-weather capability of all-wheel drive.

What it means to you: Take advantage of legendary Porsche performance and the improved traction of all-wheel drive with the 911 Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S models.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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