Porsche 911 Carrera (2003)

Porsche 911 Carrera


Whether it's the engineers who worked on the enhancements for the 2003 Porsche Boxster, those hard at work developing the Porsche Cayenne sport utility vehicle (SUV), or those from other sports car manufacturers, their benchmark for handling and performance is the Porsche 911 Carrera.

"The Porsche 911 is the world's standard for sports cars," says Frederick J. Schwab, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America. "This is what a sports car should be. It's fun. It's powerful. It's precise. Whether you're club racing on the weekend or finding new curves to explore on your daily commute, it can make every drive an exciting experience."

For 2003, the Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe and Cabriolet are powered by Porsche's 3.6-liter, horizontally opposed six-cylinder "boxer" engine, which produces 315 horsepower (SAE) and 273 lb.-ft. of torque. A true sports car, the 911 Coupe weighs less than 3,000 pounds and sprints from a standing start to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 5.0 seconds on its way to a top test-track speed of 177 mph (285 km/h).

And, Porsche owners know that such speed is only part of the equation. The Porsche 911 Coupe and Cabriolet achieve optimum balance between performance and handling, between exciting dynamics and luxury amenities, and between active and passive safety technologies.

New digital radio and in-dash CD player for 2003

The Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe and Cabriolet underwent extensive enhancements for 2002, including a larger and more powerful engine and a strengthened body structure with updated styling. Those changes carry over for 2003, with the Coupe and Cabriolet also equipped with a standard digital AM/FM radio and in-dash CD player.

Such updates and upgrades have been a consistent part of the 911's nearly 40-year history, yet throughout its lifetime the car has retained a basic - and now classic -- profile designed around its rear-engine architecture.

VarioCam enhances engine's power curve

With 315 horsepower (SAE), the 911 Coupe and Cabriolet are the most powerful normally aspirated 911 models ever offered in North America.

Although based on the water-cooled Porsche 911 Carrera engine introduced in model year 1999, the reach of this "boxer" expanded through the installation of new crankshaft, pistons and connecting rods. Its output was further enhanced by the latest iteration of Porsche's patented VarioCam Plus valve timing and lift system. 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.

The previous VarioCam system used variable cam positioning to vary valve overlap to boost torque through the midrange without sacrificing high-rpm horsepower. Now, 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 "fatten" and smooth out the torque curve, while helping to reduce emissions.

The dual-stage resonance air intake system - optimized for the larger displacement engine - helps boost power and torque at midrange engine speeds. The 2003 911 Carrera engine produces 273 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,250 rpm, with 214 lb.-ft. as low as 2,000 rpm and at least 236 lb.-ft. from 2,500-7,000 rpm, including a midrange torque "plateau" of at least 265 lb.-ft. from 3,800-6,000 rpm.

The latest ME 7.8 engine management controls instantly calculate the precise supply of fuel needed from the tank. Formerly, fuel not needed by the injectors - but heated by the engine - went back to the tank. This system reduces hydrocarbon emissions caused by heated fuel. 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. New mufflers with less backpressure than before emit a more powerful sound through newly designed tailpipes.

The Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe can accelerate from rest to 62 mph (0-100 km/h) in just 5.0 seconds, the Cabriolet in 5.2 seconds when equipped with the standard six-speed manual transmission. A five-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission remains an option for all Porsche 911 Carrera models.

Choice of manual or Tiptronic S transmissions

Porsche offers a choice of two transmissions on the Porsche 911 Carrera models: a precisely shifting standard six-speed manual and the optional Tiptronic S five-speed automatic transmission. Porsche increased the torque capacity of the manual transmission for the more powerful 2002 models 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 models adopt 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 driving circumstances and 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 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.

Aluminum suspension components

The four-wheel independent suspension under the 911 Coupe and Cabriolet 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 flatter 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 in the Porsche 911 Carrera models. Carrera II 17-inch wheels use a slender spoke design to reduce unsprung weight by more than five pounds per wheel over the previous design.

The standard aluminum alloy wheels measure 17 x 7 inches in front and mount 205/50 ZR17 tires; the 17 x 9-inch rear wheels mount 255/40 ZR17 tires. The optional 18-inch wheel/tire package further enhances the already sharp handling. The wheels measure 18 x 8 inches in front and 18 x 10 inches in back; tires are 225/40 ZR18 in front and 285/30 ZR18 in back.

Racecar-derived brakes

The Porsche 911 Carrera models stop with four-wheel vented disc brakes with ABS 5.3 anti-lock control. Derived from the Porsche GT1 racecar, one-piece brake calipers reduce heat and unsprung weight. The front discs measure 12.5 inches in diameter and 1.1-inch thick (318 mm x 28 mm). The rear discs measure nearly as large at 11.8 inches in diameter and 0.95-inch thick (299 mm x 24 mm). The cross-drilled rotors dissipate heat to maintain braking performance and brake feel even under hard usage. (Porsche requires brakes to provide 25 consecutive full-force stops without fade.)

Porsche Stability Management

Optional on the 911 Coupe and Cabriolet is the advanced Porsche Stability Management system (PSM). 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 911 going in the direction the driver steers. The PSM system operates so quickly that most drivers likely will not feel it make corrections. The driver can disengage PSM with a dashboard switch. However, for safety, PSM will engage under braking and then disengage when the driver lifts off the brake.

While the system provides dynamic handling aid, Porsche cautions drivers that PSM cannot counteract the laws of physics.

Safe by design

With the high performance potential of the Porsche 911 Carrera models comes a high level of occupant protection. A patented crumple zone body structure protects a reinforced passenger compartment. Supplementing the three-point inertia-reel seatbelts, the Porsche 911 Carrera models have seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters. 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.

Cabriolet has reinforced structure

The Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet has boron-steel reinforced A-pillars and windshield header and an automatic-deploying supplemental rollover structure to reduce the risk of injury in the event of a rollover accident.

The fully automatic power soft-top on the Cabriolet folds compactly into a compartment behind the rear seats. A solid tonneau cover fits flush against the body with the roof lowered, preserving the sleek, uncluttered appearance.

The Cabriolet top features a glass rear window with integral defroster.

A removable aluminum hardtop with a heated rear window is included as standard equipment.

Available U.S. child seat

At a customer's request, a U.S. Porsche dealer can install a system that deactivates the passenger airbags when a U.S. 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.

Styled for form and function

The styling update in 2002 included a strengthened body structure that enhanced handling, ride and safety. The styling changes adopted the headlight design of the 911 Turbo, plus a newly shaped front end, widened rear quarter panels and redesigned tail pipes. But such design changes are more than cosmetic. The front air intakes increased airflow to the radiators by 15 percent. Reshaping the radii of the front wheel arches and the addition of small, flexible spoilers ahead of the front wheels reduced lift at the front by 25 percent and at the rear by 40 percent. New air intake ducts enhanced front brake cooling, and a new under-floor duct enhanced transmission cooling by 20 percent.

Even the headlight design improved lighting performance. The Bi-Xenon gas-discharge headlights that are standard on the 911 Turbo are an option for the Porsche 911 Carrera models. These light units use high-intensity gas discharge bulbs for both the low and high beams.

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.

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.

Comfort and convenience

Porsche also enhanced the comfort and convenience of the Porsche 911 Carrera models. The instrument panel includes a standard onboard computer that conveys information on an LCD display in the lower third of 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.

A three-spoke sports steering wheel is standard. The remote entry system controls seat memory function when the optional power seats are ordered. 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 buttons to the left of the seat.

The 911 has a lockable glovebox and a cupholder integrated into the center.

Optional Bose audio system

Porsche offers a high-end digital audio system from home and automotive audio manufacturer Bose. Each system has been custom-engineered for that particular model. The Bose automotive music systems combine 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. The 12 advanced loudspeakers (11 for Cabriolet models) and a subwoofer blend seamlessly into cabin trim, raising and widening the sound stage and ensuring balanced stereo.

Luxuriously equipped

Standard luxury features include:

  • Digital AM/FM cassette stereo system with an in-dash CD player
  • Anti-theft system with engine immobilizer and alarm
  • Automatic climate control with dust/pollen and activated charcoal odor filters
  • Heated power sideview mirrors
  • Heated windshield washer nozzles
  • Leather-covered telescoping steering wheel
  • On-board computer
  • Partial leather seats with power recliners
  • Power sunroof (Coupe)
  • 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. The optional Porsche Communication Management system integrates controls and displays for Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) navigation, onboard computer, and climate control. An LCD color screen displays all functions.