PDK customers may opt for the Sport Chrono Package, which along with that nifty dash-mounted stopwatch also features a built-in "launch mode" which can shave up to four tenths of a second off the zero-to-60 elapsed time. We were given a chance to test this too, accelerating to 160 mph, and then panic-braking to zero. Our Racing Green test car-the same one we drove in, the same one we flogged around the test tracks, and the same one we drove out-was picked randomly as the designated beater for this exercise, performing the feat a dozen or more times in rapid succession and clearly illustrating the 911's huge capacity for absorbing punishment.

Both the 911 Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S are available in either coupe or cabriolet configurations and are distinguished from their rear-drive C2 brothers with a wider rear track and overall wider rear end (one and a quarter inches wider than the C2). There's also a retro-styled red reflector strip connecting the LED-accented taillamps that may inspire wistful feelings of nostagia for the air-cooled good old days.

Don't go getting all misty-eyed on me, though. The 2009 911, whether you like to be driven by two wheels or four, really is the best 911 yet.

2009 Porsche 911 Carrera 4
*Layout
Longitudinal rear engine, all-wheel drive

*Engine
3.6-liter flat six, dohc, 24-valve (C4)3.8-liter flat six, dohc, 24-valve (C4S)

*Transmission
Six-speed manual; optional seven-speed sequential manual

*Suspension
F: MacPherson spring strut front axle, independent wheel suspension on track control arms, longitudinal arms and spring struts
R: Multi-arm axle, independent wheel suspension on five track arms, cylindrical coil springs with coaxial inner-mounted dampers

*Brakes
Four-piston aluminum monoblock calipers, cross-drilled and ventilated rotors

*Dimensions
Length/Width/Height (in.): 174.6/72.9/51.6Wheelbase: 92.5 in.
Curb Weight: 3,418 lb

*Performance
Peak Power:
345 hp @ 6500 rpm (C4)385 hp @ 6500 rpm (C4S)Peak Torque:
287 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm (C4)310 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm (C4S)0-62 mph:
4.8 sec. (C4)4.5 sec. (C4S)Top Speed:
176 mph (C4)185 mph (C4S

Price Tag
$76,000 (est.)

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