In the last half century, there is no sports car, perhaps no car of any kind, more iconic and instantly recognizable, than the Porsche 911. Whether it’s winning races worldwide or providing perennial smiles for owners, versions of the 911 continue to be the brass ring other auto makers strive for.
From its air cooled engine roots, the 911 has a long way. The engine still hangs out over the rear axle, though the air cooling is now gone. Giving way to liquid cooling some years ago and benefiting from its improved cooling performance. While the 911 has gone through many generations, you won’t see the large changes between generations as you might with other models. The engineers at Stuttgart are well aware that their customers are happy with the current models and will only accept evolutionary and not revolutionary changes to the car as a whole.
The engines available for the 911 are all powerful, but they do offer a variety of power plants to choose from. Its base 3.8 liter V-6 makes 345 Hp. Power increases through the models up the 500 HP Turbo versions.
Bodystyles: Coupe, convertible, targa
Engines: 3.6L flat-six, 3.8L flat-six, 3.8L twin-turbo flat-six
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Models: Carrera, Carrera 4, Carrera S, Targa 4, Carrera 4S, Targa 4S, Turbo, Carrera Cabriolet, Carrera 4 Cabriolet, Carrera S Cabriolet, Carrera 4S Cabriolet, Turbo Cabriolet, GT3, GT3 RS.
Buyers who put a premium on handling performance will be thrilled to hear that Porsche resurrected its GT3 and track-tuned GT3 RS models for the 2010 model year. The 435-horsepower GT3 represents the ultimate in street-ready Porsche handling talent. Also for 2010, Porsche treated the Turbo to a power bump — it now gallops with 500 twin-pressurized ponies.
Is there a more recognizable sports car on the planet? Uh, no. Yet while graceful and handsome, the 911 is functional, too. The Carrera’s drag coefficient is a low 0.29 — helping the 911 return surprising fuel efficiency.
Yes, there are rear seats — but only your attaché case will want to sit back there. The two front occupants, though, will enjoy the 911’s comfortable if Spartan accommodations. All conveniences are offered, from nav to iPod integration.
The “slowest” 911 in the stable will wow you with its liquid torrent of power. And the quicker 911s…well, we clocked the Turbo from 0 to 60 miles per hour in — take a breath first — just 2.8 seconds. What’s more, the 911 has the braking power of a brick wall and steering feel so good you’ll write to your mother about it.
You’re well taken care of in a 911. Porsche includes front-side air bags and side curtains, stability and traction-control systems, and awesome brakes (ceramics are optional). All-wheel drive is available, too.
Carrera/Carrera Cabriolet: 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy (man), 19 mpg city/27 mpg hwy (PDK).
Carrera S/Carrera Cabriolet S: 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy (man), 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy (PDK).
Carrera 4/Carrera 4S/Carrera 4 Cabriolet/Carrera 4 Cabriolet S/Targa 4: 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy (man), 18 mpg city/26 mpg hwy (PDK)
Targa 4S: 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy (man), 18 mpg city/27 mpg hwy (PDK)
Turbo: 16 mpg city/24 mpg hwy (man), 17 mpg/25 mpg hwy (PDK)
Turbo Cabriolet: 16 mpg city/24 mpg hwy (man), 16 mpg city/24 mpg hwy (PDK) GT3/GT3 RS: 14 mpg city/21 mpg hwy
- Bulletproof speed
- Daily-driver civility
- Superb steering response
- Decent gas mileage
- Owning a 911
- Overly familiar styling
- Options boost price fast
- Cockpit almost too spare
There’s a reason it’s endured for nearly 50 years
- Aston Martin V8 Vantage
- Audi R8
- Chevrolet Corvette
- Mercedes-Benz SL-Class