Porsche 911 Carrera 4S (2003)

Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

The 2003 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S combines the 315-horsepower (SAE) normally aspirated 911 Carrera engine with the all-wheel-drive chassis, body design and feature content of the 911 Turbo.

"The Porsche 911 Carrera 4S is the ideal vehicle for the 911 enthusiast who appreciates the performance provided by the normally aspirated 'boxer' engine, and who wants the dynamic capabilities that come with all-wheel-drive and the aggressive look of the 911 Turbo," says Frederick J. Schwab, President and CEO, Porsche Cars North America.

Normally aspirated engine but turbocharged body and chassis

While the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S shares its 315-horsepower (SAE) engine with the 911 Carrera Coupe, Cabriolet, Carrera 4 Cabriolet and 911 Targa, it shares its body with the 911 Turbo.

Like the Turbo, the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S measures 2.3 inches (60 mm) wider in the rear compared with the 911 Carrera to accommodate massive 295/30R-18 rear tires on standard Turbo-style wheels. The wheels give a plain view to the red-painted brake calipers, also shared with the Turbo. As on the Turbo, the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S offers metallic paint choices at no extra cost.

However, instead of the Turbo's two-piece rear spoiler, the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S retains the automatic-deploying rear spoiler used on other 911 Carrera models. The Porsche 911 Carrera 4S gets its own glass-reinforced plastic rear decklid. From the rear, the quick tip-off to the model's identity is its exclusive reflector strip connecting the taillights.

As on the Turbo, three large dark-finish intake grills dominate the lower front fascia. Optional Bi-Xenon headlights use high-intensity gas discharge bulbs for both the low and high beams. The Porsche 911 Carrera 4S employs a different front spoiler than the 911 Turbo. To give an idea of Porsche's attention to detail, the slightly raised center section of the spoiler helps compensate aerodynamically for this model having a different weight and weight distribution than the Turbo, as well as the different rear spoiler.

The Porsche 911 Carrera 4S deletes the Turbo's large intake ducts ahead of the rear wheels, since these are only required on the Turbo to supply air to the turbo intercoolers. The Porsche 911 Carrera 4S does retain the Turbo's lower rear quarter panel louvers.

All-wheel-drive, the Porsche Stability Management system (PSM), and 18-inch wheels inherited from the 911 Turbo combine to make the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S one of the best-handling Porsches ever. Aside from its own specific shock absorber tuning, the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S shares the 911 Turbo suspension, including its engine mounts and longer rear control arms.

The Porsche 911 Carrera 4S also inherits its larger-diameter brake rotors from the 911 Turbo. Any additional weight compared to a rear-wheel-drive 911 Carrera has minimal impact on the car's performance: the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S can accelerate from zero-to-62 mph (100 km/h) in just 5.1 seconds, compared to 5.0 seconds for the standard rear-wheel drive 911 Carrera.

Turbo-type luxury content, too

The Porsche 911 Carrera 4S can be equipped with either the standard six-speed manual transmission or the advanced Tiptronic S five-speed automatic that allows manual shifting control as well. The Porsche 911 Carrera 4S shares the additional standard luxury content of the 911 Turbo, which includes full-power adjustable leather seats for the driver and passenger (with driver's side memory), programmable remote entry, and security system with alarm and immobilizer.

The driver can control the seat memory and open the luggage compartment remotely. The remote determines which of the four car keys is in use and transmits the information for driver's seat position and exterior mirrors to the memory control unit. Apart from the function provided by the four programmable keys, the driver can select two other seat positions via memory buttons to the left of the seat.

The optional Bose automotive sound system combines balanced stereo, a panoramic sound stage, deep bass and smooth frequency response to produce lifelike music reproduction, even in the challenging environment of a car interior. Digital amplifiers provide clean, uncolored sound at any listening level. In the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, the 12 advanced speakers, including a subwoofer, blend seamlessly into cabin trim, raising and widening the sound stage and ensuring balanced stereo.

Like other 911 Carrera models, the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S shares its instrument panel with the 911 Turbo. The standard onboard computer conveys information on an LCD display within the tachometer. In addition to information about fuel consumption and driving range, the computer can display engine oil level, outside temperature and 35 different warning messages in plain text. Likewise, the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S benefits from interior enhancements to the Carrera line, including a three-spoke sports steering wheel and redesigned center vents.

The lockable glove box and a cupholder integrated into the center dash add convenience, while matte surfaces for the switches enhance tactile quality.

The optional parking aid with sensors integrated into the bumper covers can help prevent parking maneuver "fender-benders" by sounding an audible alert as the car gets closer to an obstacle.

The front trunk is equipped with an anti-entrapment release with internal handle, and the car keys feature a color Porsche crest.

Communicating at the speed of light

Porsche's new Communication Management system (PCM) comprises tuners, CD player, navigation system, and trip computer, all linked through Media-Oriented Systems Transport (MOST) digital databus. The MOST system incorporates light-wave conductors that exchange data between the individual components without loss of quality and at ultra-high speeds.

PCM includes a 5.8-inch color screen with its 16:9 aspect ratio and 12-position keyboard for easily and efficiently entering radio frequencies. The system assures excellent audio quality.

The navigation module provides such features as road junction zoom-in, dynamic navigation to avoid congestion, map scrolling so you can see beyond your current position, tour planning with the ability to memorize as many as eight destinations in a row and a CD-ROM system that can be used for the navigation system or for music.

315-horsepower engine with VarioCam technology

For 2002, Porsche increased displacement of the six-cylinder boxer engine in the normally aspirated 911 models, including the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, from 3.4 liters to 3.6 liters. The larger displacement, along with other powerplant changes, boosted horsepower to 315 (SAE), increased torque and provided more powerful and smoother engine response.

Patented LOKASIL high-silicon cylinder liners help reduce friction and wear to such a level that Porsche can recommend a 15,000-mile (24,000 km) oil change interval and a 30,000-mile (48,000 km) oil filter change interval.

Aside from the displacement increase, the biggest change to the 911 engine was the adaptation of the VarioCam Plus valve timing and lift system from the 911 Turbo. VarioCam Plus not only adjusts camshaft position to provide continuously adjustable valve timing, but incorporates two camshaft profiles and two sets of tappets to vary both valve lift and duration, as well. The new system helps broaden and smooth out the torque curve while helping to reduce emissions.

The dual-stage resonance air intake system - optimized for the larger displacement engine - also helps boost power and torque at midrange engine speeds. The 911 engine produces 273 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,250 rpm, with at least 236 lb.-ft. available from 2,500-7,000 rpm and a midrange torque "plateau" of at least 265 lb.-ft. from 3,800-6,000 rpm.

Sequential multi-port fuel injection features separate fuel mixture control for each cylinder bank, and a coil-on-plug ignition system provides quick response and reliable operation. The ME 7.8 engine control module incorporates the E-Gas electronic throttle. In place of a traditional throttle cable setup, E-Gas electronically transmits pedal position to the engine control unit.

All-wheel-drive handling

The all-wheel-drive system that the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S shares with the 911 Turbo is, at just 120 pounds (54 kg), one of the lightest such systems in the auto industry. This proven system is based on a viscous multi-plate clutch located directly behind the front differential. The system directs torque to the front wheels at a rate that varies from 5 to 40 percent, depending on available traction and power applied. The viscous unit compensates for differing wheel speeds during cornering. The 911 Turbo exhibits outstanding traction on all road surfaces.

The four-wheel independent suspension features a Porsche-optimized MacPherson-strut design in front and a multilink setup in the rear, both with aluminum suspension components to reduce unsprung weight. Front and rear stabilizer bars and gas-charged shock absorbers provide flat cornering. Standard power rack-and pinion steering yields a quick 2.98 turns lock-to-lock and a tight 34.8-ft. (10.6-meter) turning circle.

A "staggered" wheel/tire array (wider wheels and wider, lower-profile tires on the rear) contributes to neutral handling. The standard solid-spoke aluminum alloy wheels from the 911 Turbo measure 18 x 8 inches in front and mount 225/40 ZR18 tires. The 18 x 11-inch rear wheels mount 295/30 ZR18 tires.

Even the Turbo's stopping power

The Porsche 911 Carrera 4S employs the four-wheel vented disc brakes derived from the Porsche GT1 racecar and shared with the 911 Turbo. One-piece ("monoblock"), four-piston brake calipers reduce unsprung weight and improve heat dissipation. The front and rear discs measure 13.0 inches in diameter (330 mm), but differ in thickness - 1.34-inch (34 mm) in front and 1.1-inch (28 mm) in the rear. The cross-drilled rotors dissipate heat to maintain braking performance and brake feel even under hard usage. In comparison, the brake rotors on the standard 911 Carrera measure 12.5 inches in diameter and 1.1-inch thick (318 mm x 28 mm) in front and 11.8 inches in diameter and 0.95-inch thick (299 mm x 24 mm) in the rear.

Porsche Stability Management

The Porsche Stability Management system (PSM) is standard equipment on the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S and the 911 Turbo. PSM can enhance handling under a variety of driving conditions. Using data from several sensor inputs, PSM can detect a loss of grip at the front or rear and reduce instability by applying braking to individual wheels and, if necessary, altering engine power.

On slippery roads, PSM can help keep the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S going in the direction the driver steers. The PSM system operates so quickly that most drivers likely will not feel the corrections. The driver can disengage PSM with a dashboard switch. However, for safety, PSM will engage under braking and then disengage whenever the driver lifts off the brake. While the system provides dynamic handling aid, Porsche cautions drivers that PSM cannot counteract the laws of physics.

Choice of transmissions

Porsche offers a choice of two transmissions on the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S: a precisely shifting standard six-speed manual and the optional Tiptronic S five-speed automatic.

Porsche increased the torque capacity of the manual transmission a year ago by using stronger alloy steel on key components. In addition, the output shaft runs in three bearings instead of two, and the differential uses stronger bevel gears. As before, a dual-mass flywheel ensures low vibration, and a hydraulic clutch provides consistent performance.

The Porsche 911 Carrera 4S adopts the Tiptronic S transmission from the 911 Turbo, which can handle greater torque output. The lock-up torque converter and shifting programs have been specially tailored to the naturally aspirated engine.

In automatic mode, Tiptronic S uses infinitely variable shift points to respond to the driving circumstances and the driving style. During leisurely driving, Tiptronic S will upshift early to provide a quiet ride and the best fuel efficiency. With quicker gas pedal action, the transmission responds by raising shift points to hold each gear longer for crisp response and power. The Tiptronic S transmission draws from among 250 different shift maps to provide optimal performance at all times.

Even while in automatic mode, the computer-controlled Tiptronic S responds like a driver working a manual transmission, downshifting or holding lower gears when cornering and driving on hills. Tiptronic S allows the driver to select manual mode by pressing an up- or downshift button, even with the shift lever in the "D" position.

Safe by design

With the high performance potential of the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S comes a high level of occupant protection. A patented crumple zone body structure protects the reinforced passenger compartment. Seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters supplement the three-point inertia-reel seatbelts in all 911 models. All new Porsche models include dual front airbags plus the Porsche Side Impact Protection System that includes boron-steel door reinforcement beams, energy-absorbing door panels, and door-mounted side airbags. The 30-liter capacity sidebags provide additional protection for the chest, head, and pelvis as standard equipment.

At a customer's request, a U.S. Porsche dealer can install a system that deactivates the passenger airbags when a Porsche-approved child seat is used. The system features a cross brace with belt lock in front of the passenger seat. Buckling the special child seat into this brace deactivates the airbags. To install the system, the dealer also must reprogram the airbag control module.

Luxurious equipped

Reflecting its role as a grand touring sports car, the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S comes with many standard luxury features:

  • Anti-theft system with engine immobilizer and alarm
  • Auto-dimming inside and outside mirrors with integrated rain sensor windshield wipers
  • Automatic climate control with dust/pollen and activated charcoal odor filters
  • Bose digital audio system with digital radio
  • Full-power adjustable leather front seats
  • Heated power sideview mirrors
  • Heated windshield washer nozzles
  • Leather-covered telescoping steering wheel
  • On-board computer
  • Power sunroof
  • Power windows with one-touch up/down
  • Remote locking system

All Porsche models feature light-emitting diode (LED) interior orientation lights. One LED provides gentle illumination of the cockpit and center console. An LED on the driver's side door handle illuminates the ignition lock and light switch, and an LED illuminates each door latch.