You've still not paid much attention to regular electronic pop-out door launches of the new Porsche 911. They are frivolous but, in the end, harmless, right?

That's also what we thought before we perused the owner's manual — what, that's not the first thing you should be doing with a new 911? Out there on page 66, it says, "a door that was previously unlocked can not be opened from the outside after the battery has been disconnected," and then it advises the owner "to open the window before disconnecting the battery."

That seemed unusual. Could a dead battery really transform an open door into a closed one? We needed to find out and we had the battery disconnected. Lo and behold, it really is. Without control, the outer door handles of the 911 no longer actuate the key, even though the car had been unlocked beforehand.In this case, to restore the handle 's functionality, you'll need to extract the mechanical key hidden in the fob, insert it under the driver's door handle into the lock cylinder and give it a twist. The closed door would be unlocked too.

Porsche is no stranger to e-releases. When the 996 released for 1999, the 911's frunk toggle used one. And the company has always given a workaround to open the frunk when the battery of the car dies which involves applying 12 volts to a pin in a fuse panel since 2002.

There is no federal mandate that an electronic door lock should have a mechanical backup release for outside or inside a car, but almost every automaker offers one.There's usually a conventional lock cylinder on the exterior, but some are hard to find; for example, McLaren places it on the car's underside. So cars without a contingency method of opening a door from the outside (such as Teslas) have at least arrangements to raise the hood so that the 12-volt battery can be turned up.

The overrides of the interiors differ further. Lincoln provides only one for the driver's side, and if you don't know that Tesla hides the rear door releases in the Model S under the carpet and behind the Model X speaker grilles, they won't be handy in an emergency.The interior door handles in the 911 do have an incorporated backup — it's a clever one too. Only twice pull the trigger, and you are out. This elegant approach removes the need for mechanism of second release seen on all the others. Nonetheless, we are also unconvinced that all of this fiddling constitutes improvement.