Very few cars, if any, share the historical significance and benchmark status of the iconic Porsche 911. Although Porsche has expanded its lineup to include everything from family-friendly sedans to competent SUVs, the heart of the brand is undoubtedly the 911.
2012 to Present: Porsche 911
Introduced for the 2012 model year, the seventh-generation Porsche 911 (known internally as the 991) only represents the car’s third platform since it was introduced to the world in 1963 in all its rear-engine and originally air-cooled majesty. Unlike many vehicles that have been around as long as the 911, Porsche’s masterpiece has gently evolved over the years, never straying too far from the original formula that took the world by storm. Thanks to Porsche’s extensive use of aluminum, the 911 is a lightweight enthusiast-pleasing sports car that is widely known as a benchmark for performance, styling and ergonomics.
Refreshed for the 2017 model year, the new 911 (or 991.2) is offered in a myriad of trim levels. In the simplest terms, the 911 Carrera is the rear-wheel drive base model, which is powered by a horizontally opposed, twin-turbo 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that generates 370 horsepower. A seven-speed manual transmission arrives standard and a seven-speed PDK automatic transmission is available as an option.
Trims with a “4” represent all-wheel-drive. S models are powered by a 420-horsepower version of the 3.0-liter engine. Cabriolet models feature a full convertible top and Targa models have a simpler retractable fabric roof. Turbo trims are all-wheel-drive and powered by a 540-horsepower 3.8-liter twin-turbo engine. The 911 GT3 RS is a race-inspired track star powered by a 500-horsepower six-cylinder engine.
Long known as the benchmark for balancing raw performance and daily drivability, the new 911 is also incredibly efficient with great fuel economy for a luxury sports car. Thanks to Porsche’s broad offering of trims, the attractive sports car is available in various levels of performance that all share a high level of comfort and luxury.
Porsche’s attention to detail and refinement result in a leather-appointed and tech-filled interior that exudes quality. As one of history’s greatest driver’s cars, the 911’s cockpit is also ergonomic excellence at its finest. Controls are always at your fingertips, intuitive and easy to master.
The Porsche 911 leads the pack in a highly competitive premium sports car segment that includes the Audi R8, Chevrolet Corvette, Jaguar F-Type, Nissan GT-R and Mercedes-AMG GT.
Earlier Porsche 911 Models
The fifth-generation Porsche 911, known internally as the 996, was sold from 1999 to 2004. It was a strong departure from the original two-door sports car built from 1963 until that time. The 996 represented the first new chassis platform since the car’s inception, a true testimony to “getting it right the first time.” The 1999 model also featured the 911’s first use of a water-cooled engine. Up until 1999 all 911 models were air-cooled.
The first 996 models were simply a coupe or cabriolet powered by a 3.4-liter flat-six engine. In 2000 Porsche would roll out the all-wheel drive 911 Turbo model. The Turbo’s twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter flat-six produced 420 horsepower, an X50 option added larger turbochargers and 30 more horsepower. Porsche would eventually introduce a 996 Targa, a Carrera S model, and two lightweight GT2 and GT3 models as well.
The sixth-generation Porsche 911, internally known as the 997, was offered from 2005 to 2012. The 997’s production began with the Carrera and Carrera S in 2004, all-wheel drive Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S models arrived in late 2005 and Turbo and GT3 variants began selling in 2006. The lightweight track-inspired GT2 completed the lineup in 2007.
When the sixth generation launched, the 911 Carrera was powered by a 321-horsepower, 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine. The Carrera S received a 355-horsepower engine, while GT3 and GTS RS modes got a 409-horsepower 3.6-liter engine. The 911 Turbo and GT2 came with a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter flat-six, which produce 473 and 523 horsepower, respectively.
After a refresh for the 2009, new engines would see a slight boost in power over the original 997 offerings. New 911 models were also added, including the GTS RS 4.0 and GT2 RS. The refresh also improved the 911’s handling and ride quality with a revised suspension, while a new exhaust system helped it breathe a little better. A PDK seven-speed dual clutch transmission was also rolled out as an option. The facelift also included a new front bumper with larger air intakes and headlamps. Around back the 911 would receive a new tail lamp design.
Much like the current 911, the 997’s interior exudes quality and refinement. The infotainment system in later models includes Bluetooth and iPod connectivity. Leather-appointed seats are standard equipment and the ride quality is equally at home on the track, running errands or driving long stretches of the highway.