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In-depth reviews

Porsche 911 coupe review

"The latest 992-generation Porsche 911 is the best yet; fast, fun and hugely capable"

Carbuyer Rating

4.5 out of 5

Owners Rating
Be the first to review
Price
£99,405 - £124,405

Pros

  • Fantastic performance
  • Huge fun to drive
  • Decent economy for a luxury sports car

Cons

  • High list price
  • Expensive options
  • Updated styling not to all tastes

Verdict - Is the Porsche 911 a good car?

While it’s a highly subjective corner of the car market, it’s hard to argue against the Porsche 911 being considered the world’s best sports car. Over more than 60 years of evolution, it has improved time and time again to become faster, more advanced and even easier to live with. Far from a weekend toy, the 911 could easily be your only car thanks to its small rear seats, front and rear luggage compartments and long-distance refinement. Of course, the 911 is now almost its own separate range of cars, from the smooth Carrera to the circuit-ready 911 GT3 RS and desert-conquering 911 Dakar, all with their own unique personalities.

Porsche 911 models, specs and alternatives

The Porsche 911 is the flagship model in the German manufacturer’s range and is perhaps the most well-known sports car on sale today. The current model, referred to by enthusiasts as the ‘992’, is the latest evolution of a car whose recipe has remained largely unchanged for over 50 years – its rear-mounted six-cylinder engine, great performance and genuine everyday usability are as important now as they were in the 1960s.

The best sports cars 2023Top 10 best sports cars 2024

Today’s model represents a meaningful step forward from the last version, denoted 991, which was first introduced in 2011. Based on new modular underpinnings that allow for electrification, the latest car also gets a refreshed engine, a new interior packed with technology and styling that’s modern yet still faithful to the model’s impressive heritage.

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The Porsche 911 coupe is available in a mind-boggling number of trim levels; Carrera, Carrera 4, Carrera T, Carrera S, Carrera 4S, GTS and flagship Turbo and Turbo S. There are also the GT3 and the GT3 RS, which are high-performance versions designed for weekend and track use, as well as an occasional special-edition model. These include the S/T, which borrows many bits from the GT3 RS but comes with a six-speed manual gearbox and rear-wheel-drive, along with a unique, retro-inspired livery. For rally fans, there’s also the 911 Dakar, which is based on the GTS but sits 50mm further off the ground on tough suspension and shielded bodywork.

The 911 Carrera coupe is the starting point of the range, using a 380bhp 3.0-litre flat-six petrol engine with rear-wheel drive. The Carrera 4 has the same power output but four-wheel drive. Even with its entry-level billing, the 911 Carrera can sprint from 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds, with the Carrera 4 taking 4.4 seconds. There’s also the Carrera T which uses the same engine as the base Carrera but with a manual gearbox rather than the PDK automatic, lightweight components, lowered suspension, a sports exhaust and no back seats – 0-62mph takes 4.5 seconds. It’s aimed at enthusiasts who don’t want, don’t have the budget for or can’t get hold of a more racy version like the GT3. It might not be as powerful as top versions, but it just goes to show that cornering ability is just as important as speed for the driving experience.

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The Carrera S and four-wheel drive Carrera 4S are both powered by a 444bhp version of the same twin-turbo flat-six petrol engine; the Carrera S manages 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds, while the Carrera 4S is a tenth faster at 3.6 seconds. Economy is quoted at up to 28mpg for the Carrera S and 27.7mpg for the Carrera 4S, with CO2 emissions ranging from 229g/km to 253g/km for both cars. The Carrera S is also available with a seven-speed manual gearbox, which is slightly slower than the PDK automatic but adds to the sense of driving involvement.

Sitting beneath the Turbo models, the GTS features tweaks to improve the car’s handling plus a more powerful version of the 3.0-litre engine used in the Carrera, as well as darkened trim pieces and black alloy wheels. Power is up to 473bhp, meaning the 0-62mph time falls to just 3.3 seconds with the eight-speed PDK automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive. For drivers who really want to feel involved, a seven-speed manual is available as a no-cost option. The GTS returns around 27mpg and emissions from around 240g/km upwards. This engine can also be found in the Porsche 911 Dakar, but some notable off-road modifications and its exclusivity – all 2,500 examples are already sold out – means its price is far higher, at more than £170,000. Raised suspension means it can go almost anywhere a Porsche Cayenne SUV can, make its driver smile a lot more while doing so, yet still feel remarkably like a 911 sports car when back on tarmac. It might be silly, but it’s also great fun.

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As the range-topping model, the Turbo S is the most powerful 911. It has a twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre petrol engine producing 641bhp. This means it can sprint from 0-62mph in 2.7 seconds, with a top speed of 205mph, putting it on a level billing with supercars like the McLaren 720S and Ford GT coupe. The Sport Classic uses a detuned version of this engine, with 542bhp and rear-wheel-drive. While it's not as quick, it's aimed at Porsche owners who appreciate the extra challenge of putting all that power to the road and controlling it with a manual gearbox, and it's available in strictly limited numbers.

While every 911 is aimed at driving enthusiasts, the GT3 and GT3 RS are in a league of their own. The standard GT3 is available with a Clubsport pack that adds a roll cage where the back seats are normally found. Heavily adapted to perform flawlessly on track, our only criticism is that it feels very firm on British roads, even if this is a compromise virtually all potential buyers will be happy to make. Power is delivered by a 4.0-litre normally aspirated engine that makes 503bhp and revs to a screaming 9,000rpm. The GT3 RS is even more extreme with 518bhp plus a giant rear wing and is really only suited to track use, or perhaps the occasional weekend blast if you don’t mind the road noise and firm suspension.

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Porsche also offers a soft-top 911 Cabriolet and a 911 Targa model; we've reviewed both separately.

As should be expected, even the entry-level Porsche 911 is fantastic to drive. The engine has plenty of power at low revs, while the excellent new eight-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox offers near-instantaneous gearchanges via the steering wheel-mounted paddles. After Porsche originally said the 992 would be auto-only, the brand has relented to its vocal fans and a seven-speed manual gearbox is now a no-cost option. It can only be specced on Carrera T, Carrera S, 4S and GT3 versions, and comes with the Sport Chrono Package as standard.

In corners, the 911’s quick, responsive and communicative steering inspires confidence, as does its excellent suspension, especially when fitted with optional Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) and Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM). Testing the car on track, we found that the 911 felt genuinely and effortlessly fast – impressive given that even high-performance road cars can so often feel slow in such a setting.

On British roads, the 911 feels amazingly composed, even when faced with awkward cambers, deep ridges and potholes, which it shrugs off with ease. Its 'Wet' driving mode is also useful on soaked roads, giving the rear-wheel-drive Carrera S almost as much traction as the four-wheel-drive 4S.

The Porsche 911’s interior is fitting of a car with a starting price of around £90k. There’s huge scope for personalisation, with a number of leather and trim colour options, while build and material quality are excellent. Porsche’s latest infotainment system dominates the otherwise minimalist dashboard and is easy to use, boasting Apple CarPlay, DAB radio, sat nav and Porsche Connect Plus app support as standard. A 132-litre luggage area is located under the bonnet and there’s space behind the front seats if the rears aren’t occupied – the 911 isn’t the last word in practicality, but it’s still usable every day.

The Porsche 911 has a history of sitting at the very top of its class and the newest model is no exception. Rivals like the Audi R8 and Jaguar F-Type may be more exciting to look at or cheaper to buy respectively, but the 911 is a highly evolved, high-quality product that thrills its driver like no other, all while offering space for two and their luggage.

For a more detailed look at the Porsche 911, read on for the rest of our in-depth review.

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Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    2dr PDK
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £97,000

Most Economical

  • Name
    2dr PDK
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £97,000

Fastest

  • Name
    GTS 2dr PDK
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £122,000

Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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