Porsche For 1999
By Carey Russ
The 911 name graces a completely new Porsche for 1999. Although still powered by a flat-six engine located behind the rear wheels, that engine is now liquid cooled and the chassis and body are new.
The Boxster roadster continues unchanged. Porsche has also entered the fashion world with the "Porsche Selection" collection of fashion and lifestyle accessories.
During its 34 years of production, the air-cooled Porsche 911 changed considerably but was always readily identifiable as a 911. The 911 has changed again for 1999. Introduced as a 1999 model early in 1998, the newest generation is the most radically-changed 911 ever. Only the engine location and general shape remain the same.
The new 911 was developed concurrently with the Boxster and shares many design and technical features with the Boxster. The 911's horizontally-opposed six-cylinder engine is, as always for a 911, mounted behind the rear axle. It is now liquid-cooled instead of air- cooled, and so is more compact and makes more power despite being slightly smaller in displacement than the last air-cooled engine. It makes 296 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque from 3.4 liters of displacement. It is the first double-overhead-cam, four-valve-per- cylinder engine used in a 911, and features "VarioCam" variable valve timing. Transmission choices are a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic with "Tiptronic" manual shifting. Both are new, and the Tiptronic's five gears should improve performance over the old automatic's four.
The new 911 is longer and wider than its predecessors, and has greater cabin space. Interior appointments are at the luxury level, and the ignition key is still to the left of the steering wheel. The monocoque unibody structure is more rigid than that of earlier 911s, for improved handling and lower noise levels. The independent strut front and independent multilink rear suspensions are similar to those of the previous 911. Porsches have always been as well-known for their stopping abilities as their acceleration and handling, and the 1999 911 is no different. Antilock, vented, cross-drilled discs with four-piston calipers are found at all four wheels.
The 1999 Porsche 911 is available in coupe or cabriolet body styles.
The junior member of the Porsche line enters its third year with few changes.