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Look through the 2009 Carrera S’s familiar skin, and you’ll find the biggest redesign in years. The change starts with a dual-clutch transmission, taken straight from Porsche’s racecars, that shifts gears in milliseconds. It’s bolted to a redesigned six-cylinder engine that uses direct fuel injection (a first for Porsche) to churn out higher horsepower while actually getting more miles per gallon.

In the cockpit, the company has finally added modern gadgetry such as Bluetooth, an iPod cable, and XM Satellite Radio with real-time traffic updates. What hasn’t changed? The 911 is still one of the most powerful cars on the planet.

Lights

LEDs around the headlamps and tail lamps act as daytime running lights.

Suspension

Select “Sport” mode, and the shocks compress, bringing the car nearly an inch closer to the ground to provide more stability during high-speed turns.

Transmission

Like other double-clutch systems, Porsche’s seven-speed gearbox essentially uses one transmission for the odd-numbered gears and one for the even-numbered. While one is in first gear, the other is already waiting in second. Switch from automatic to manual mode, and choose gears with either the shifter or the buttons on the steering wheel. On the track, we pulled off brutal shifts — say, from sixth gear down to second at 60 mph — instantaneously.

Engine

Direct fuel injection sends gasoline straight into the cylinders, increasing compression ratio and efficiency. That translates to a 0-to-60 time of 4.5 seconds, a top speed of 178 mph and a 15 percent cut in carbon-dioxide emissions.

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