Faster and better than ever – the class benchmark
- Superb performance across the range
- Genuine everyday usability
- Brilliant handling
- Styling has evolved nicely
- Surprisingly good fuel economy on Carrera versions
- Back seats unsuitable for adults
- High servicing and maintenance costs
- Cruise control and parking sensors not standard
- You’ll struggle to get your hands on some pricier versions
Over the years the Porsche 911 Coupe range has grown into what is now a wide selection of performance models, ranging from everyday sports cars to 700hp track-ready weapons of uncompromising speed and excitement.
And yet, in that time, the basic formula has changed little. Rather than overhaul the rear-engined, rear-wheel drive blueprint that Porsche struggled so much with in the early years of production, the German manufacturer has gone on to hone and polish its flagship model into one of the finest performance cars on sale today – it's now sold over a million of them.
What makes this all the more impressive is that such success has come amid intense competition from rivals such as the Jaguar F-Type, Mercedes-Benz AMG GT and Lexus LC – not to mention contemporaries further up the scale such as the Audi R8, McLaren 570GT and Ferrari 488 GTB.
Why do we rate the Porsche 911 so highly? Read on to find out…
Outstanding performance and handling across a diverse range of cars
The Porsche 911 range consists of regular, road-focused sports cars such as the Carrera, Carrera S and Carrera GTS, the supercar-quick Turbo series and uncompromising track-focused thoroughbreds such as the GT3 and GT2 RS models.
And yet, it’s part of the 911’s appeal that exceptional performance and handling characteristics span the entire range, regardless of which model you buy. It doesn’t matter whether you’re buying a top-of-the-range GT2 RS or spending less than half as much on a base Carrera, all models are superb to drive.
Porsche 911 engines are flat six-cylinder units of varying displacement, although all produce serious amounts of power. The entry level Carrera, for example, delivers 370hp and 450Nm of torque from a turbocharged 3.0-litre; figures that are dwarfed by the flagship GT2 RS’s 700hp 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged powerplant.
Most versions of 911 are available with a choice of seven-speed manual or seven-speed automatic PDK transmission and rear- or all-wheel drive. Purists will prefer the former of each option, although for models such as the 911 Turbo and Turbo S, only the automatic transmission all-wheel drive configuration is available.
The ability to use the Porsche 911 as an everyday car is one of the main draws for a large number of customers. Unlike more uncompromising rivals, the non-GT 911 models are refined, manoeuvrable and economical enough to use on a daily basis.
Opt for a regular Carrera and claimed average fuel economy figures of 34mpg mean a theoretical range of almost 500 miles, while comparatively low CO2 emissions mean plenty will use the 911 as a company car.
Decent practicality – for two
While a combined luggage capacity of 405 litres (larger than a Volkswagen Golf’s boot with the seats up) is surprisingly generous, the promise of four seats is a false dawn. Even with the front seats moved forward, it’s best to keep the back seats a child-only zone. Handy then, that two Isofix points are fitted as standard to the 911’s rear seats.
Up front there’s enough space for two adults, although storage is a little tight thanks to a small glovebox and door pockets. The intricate fold-out cupholder design does need to be applauded - at least until it snaps off…
Watch out for missing equipment
Porsche 911 customers would be forgiven for thinking that splashing out north of £100,000 on a car would bring a certain level of standard equipment. And while all 911s have the bare essentials, features such as cruise control and parking sensors do not come as standard on many models.
Remember, even if you do not believe they are essential, paying a small amount extra for such additions could make your car that much easier to sell when the time comes.
The Parkers Verdict
Porsche has produced over one million 911s since the first generation was introduced in the 1960s and it’s not hard to see why. Few cars can boast such a broad range of talents, from every day sportscar in the form of the Carrera to a 700hp track-focused monster in the GT2 RS.
Regardless of which version you buy, you’re guaranteed a car that’s near, or at the top of its class. Just remember to go through the spec carefully and ensure that you’ve got all the equipment you need, and keep an open mind when it comes to servicing and maintenance costs… And carrying more than two adults.