Parkers overall rating: 4.8 out of 5 4.8
  • Power ranges from 385-650hp
  • Only the GT3 does without a turbocharger
  • Great fun despite luxury remit

All 911 engines are (for the moment at least) powered solely by petrol, although Porsche has been teasing and testing a hybrid variant for some time now.

Carrera and Carrera S

The first and second rung of the 911 ladder share a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged ‘flat’ six engine but in two different power outputs. Base Carrera gets 385hp with the Carrera S upping this to 450hp.

Even base Carreras feel fast, breezing up to motorway speeds in no time at all while generating a great noise. The Carrera S is noticeably more forceful, with 0-62mph in less than 4.0 seconds.

Carreras are automatic only, with the S getting the option of a seven-speed manual gearbox if you want a bit more involvement. Both are available in four-wheel drive Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S models, giving greater traction and stability especially in slippery conditions.

GTS

The GTS badge has in many cases marked out the sweet spot of a Porsche product be it a sports car or SUV. The 911 follows a familiar formula of upping power a little, to 480hp in this case, adding some must-have performance kit and a few visual tell-tales, too.

The engine is essentially the same as the Carreras, but much of the suspension is shared with the pricier Turbo. That makes this generation of GTS more than just a raid of the best bits of the options list.

Turbo and Turbo S

Turbo and Turbo S both get a larger 3.8-litre twin turbocharged flat six with 580hp in the former and 650hp in the latter. That’s enough for sub-3.0 second 0-62mph times that’s easily deployed thanks to standard four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox.

The acceleration on offer is savage, the Turbo S in particular flinging you down roads far faster than you thought possible. There are few quicker cars in the real world.

GT3

If you like your sports cars raw, the GT3 is the car for you. It’s the only 911 that does without turbochargers, with its 4.0-litre engine relying on revs to generate its 510bhp. In fact, it’ll spin to beyond 9000rpm whilst sounding simply incredible.

It’s quite happy to trundle around as well, but you really have to work the engine hard to get the best from it. Unlike lesser 911s there isn’t masses of punch at low engine speeds, the GT3 needing at least 4000rpm before it really gets into its stride.

What’s it like to drive?

  • Capable and entertaining
  • GT3 provides huge thrills
  • Most models perfectly liveable day-to-day

How the 911 drives depends greatly on which model you’ve selected and what options you’ve ticked. What remains the same is the combination of everyday usability and serious performance, it’s just some models are better at the former and others the latter.

All 911s have quick, precise steering that makes it easy to place the car on the road. Four-wheel drive versions aren’t quite as communicative while the GT3 is the polar opposite, sending the most feedback about the road’s surface to your palms.

The eight-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox is smooth when you’re driving sensibly but responsive when you put your foot down or take manual control. Seven-speed manual models have a fine gearshift although the ratios are rather long. The GT3 has a six-speed manual that feels even more mechanical, but maximum revs in all but 1st gear will have you breaking the speed limit.

As standard every 911 gets suspension that can be stiffened or softened at the press of a button. In Normal mode Carrera and Carrera S models are firm but perfectly comfortable, with only the harshest ruts and bumps jarring. GTS and Turbo models are stiffer still, yet remain on the acceptable side of firm as long as you avoid the 10mm lower sports suspension. GT3s are unsurprisingly the stiffest of the lot yet soak up road imperfections surprisingly well given its track focus.

Indeed, the GT3 really is best experienced on track as its limits are incredibly high. Although you won’t truly experience how capable it is on the road, the car’s agility, dry-weather grip and ability to involve make it one of the best driver’s cars out there.

The Turbo and Turbo S are even faster, especially when things get slippery, and packed with clever tech to limit body lean and maximise traction. They’re devastatingly effective cross country yet easy to live with every day, but only really come alive when you’re pushing them hard. Given the speeds a Turbo is capable of, it’s not something you can do often or for long.

For most, the Carrera S will be all the 911 you need. You still get a sense of what the car’s up to through the controls and it’s more than fast enough on the straights and through the bends. If you want a slightly sharper focus, the GTS is even more capable and involving, too.

Neither the Aston Martin Vantage or AMG GT can match the Porsche 911’s agility, while the Turbo S can give pricier supercars a run for their money when it comes to performance. There are more exotic-feeling options for the money such as the Audi R8 and Lamborghini Huracan, though.

We find 911s are more fun with rear-wheel drive, but you’ll still enjoy yourself if you prefer the extra stability four-wheel drive brings. The optional rear-wheel steering and active anti-roll bars certainly improve low speed manoeuvrability and reduce body roll, but we’d be tempted to give it a miss for the more natural feel of the standard suspension.