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Porsche 911 review - As good as ever?

Dan Prosser
9 Jan 2018
Verdict:

The half-century lineage has had its ups and downs, but there’s never been a class act quite like the 911

Evo Rating: 
Price: 
£79.000-£208,000
For 
The planet’s most complete sportscar
Against 
Lacks a little of the old charisma
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The 991-generation 911 broke with five decades of heritage in some major ways – turbocharged Carrera models and electric power steering being the headline revisions. Nonetheless, it remains the most rounded sports car on sale and with an expansive model range there’s a variant to suit all tastes.

>Read our Porsche GT3 review

Fans of old 911s might be a little nonplussed by the devastating, vice-free (arguably character-free?) competence of the latest 991 generation range, but there can be no denying that Porsche has moved the game on in a number of crucial areas. Turbocharging across the Carrera line-up and electric power steering in all models were unpopular updates – and they undoubtedly do erode some of the charisma of earlier models – but they weren’t enough to spoil what is a truly great sports car.

 

We’ll miss the old normally aspirated models, but the new range of turbo engines are among the most impressive forced induction motors on sale anywhere. Performance ranges from strong to ballistic, quality is high and even running costs are respectable. The half-century lineage has had its ups and downs, but there’s never been a class act quite like the 911. 

In the hardcore GT3 and GT3 RS Porsche delivered thrilling driving experiences right out of the top drawer, while the Turbo models are consummate everyday supercars with enormous straight-line performance. For those buyers who are less concerned with outright performance and more interested in turning heads, the Cabriolet and Targa versions are stylish, refined and still good to drive. 

Porsche 911: in detail

Performance and 0-60 time > The entry-level manual 991 manages a 0-60mph time of 4.6 seconds. More than a match for the competition.

Engine and gearbox > With a wide range engines to choose from, there will be a 991 to suit most tastes. Both the auto PDK box and manual 7-speed are fantastic.

Ride and handling > Signature levels of grip are always present, with range topping GT3 and GT3 RS offering incredible performance and feedback.

MPG and running costs > If running costs are your top priority then you shouldn't be in the market for a Porsche. Most Porsches like the Turbo use high quality parts. Make sure you put aside £1,000 for each service. 

Interior and tech > The Porsche's cabin still adheres to the slick and simple family design and features impeccable build quality.

Design > The 911 boasts arguably the most iconic sports car shape in the world. Evolved since its inception in 1963, you can still see hints of the original in the 991 generation all these years later.

Prices, specs and rivals

The Porsche 911 range is more diverse than ever, with choices between two- or four-wheel drive, manual or automatic and turbocharged or naturally aspirated engines. The Carrera range kicks off with a manual, rear-wheel drive Carrera at £78k. From there, the price increases for faster models, starting with the Carrera T at £85k before moving onto the Carrera S at £87k and the Carrera GTS at £96k. Opting for four-wheel drive on relevant models adds £5k to the price, with different body styles carrying premiums, too: cabriolet and targa models are £9k dearer – the latter is exclusively available on a four-wheel drive platform.

> Porsche 911 Carrera T review

Moving up to Turbo and GT models pushes prices into six figures. The Turbo and Turbo S cost £129k and £148k respectively, with the cabriolets carrying the £9k premium. The GT3 and GT2 RS are priced at £112k and £208k respectively, although buying either can prove problematic. Both are built in limited numbers so getting your name down for one is difficult, especially if you’re new to Porsche.

In short, there’s a 911 to suit all needs, and there’s scope for further customisation with the extensive options list. We’ve cherry picked some options that we’d consider for an evo-spec 911. The PDK ‘box warrants consideration and is a £2.5k-£2.9k option, depending on which model you equip it to, while Sports Chrono offers switchable driving modes that alter the engine mapping, gearbox and suspension settings.

The active sports exhaust, controlled by a button on the transmission tunnel, has a bespoke back-box with the two tailpipes mounted more centrally. Pricey at £2.8k, the figure-hugging bucket seats, make sense for track day regulars. The £500 Bi-Xenon lights have a long throw, and certainly help on twisty roads at night and are good value compared to the £1.8k LED units. Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) active anti-roll system is a little more controversial. It’s the one we’d leave off the list.

> Nissan GT-R review

There’s no shortage of rivals for the 911 and the competitor cars change according to the 911 model you choose. The £82,000 Nissan GT-R trounces an equivalently priced 911 in performance terms, but goes about its business with far less finesse.  For 911 Turbo money, the Audi R8 V10 is a bonafide supercar with an awesome soundtrack, albeit far less practical than a 911. The Nismo GT-R is certainly a competitor and similarly priced to GT3s on the used market. Lotus’s top-end, special edition Evoras compete on price with the 911 and offer something different with supercharged power, bucking the current turbocharged trend.

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