Porsche 911 Review & Features

First Drive

2017 Porsche 911 GTS First Drive

The problem with a car like the Porsche 911 is that at some point you have to make it better. That hasn't stopped Porsche, which for decades has continued to refine its rear-engine sports car. The resulting stream of constant, sometimes incremental updates almost define the 911. Today, the result is one of the best sports cars money can buy.

Yet, the improvements must continue. Like all sports cars, the 911 could always be a little more powerful, it could handle a little more sharply, its bodywork could reap better aerodynamic benefits, and so on. Porsche provides options for the base and S 911 variants that do these things, but what if they were standard equipment? And how about for a slight discount? That's the 911 GTS.

2017 Porsche 911 GTS

It's in the Details
The GTS trim is available on Carrera coupe and Cabriolet (convertible) models, as well as the power-retractable hardtop Targa model. Rear-wheel drive and a seven-speed manual are standard, save for the Targa, which is all-wheel-drive only. Regardless of roof type or the number of drive wheels, all GTS models come standard with go-fast upgrades that are optional on lesser 911s. Larger turbochargers develop more boost and help increase engine output to 450 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque. The SportDesign front bumper and rear spoiler reduce lift, a standard sport exhaust gives the engine bigger lungs, and the interior comes wrapped with Alcantara simulated suede.

Aside from the requisite logos and black exterior trim, the GTS also has a few upgrades you can't get on other 911s, though they're subtle enough that only aficionados might notice. Coupes come with a 0.4-inch-lower suspension (standard ride height is available at no cost), and rear-drive models use the 1.7-inch-wider body from the all-wheel drive models, which permits a 0.5-inch width increase for the rear wheels. Speaking of wheels, buyers can choose between two styles of satin black 20-inch rollers. Both designs use Porsche's center-lock system, with one large centrally located lug nut instead of the usual five. The design makes the wheels marginally lighter, but the special tools they require mean costlier and more time-consuming removal and installation when you get a flat.

2017 Porsche 911 GTS

More than the Sum
The changes sound minor because they are minor, which takes us back to the difficulty of improving the 911. What do you do next? To find out, we drove a rear-wheel-drive convertible and an all-wheel-drive coupe, both with manual transmissions, which Porsche expects how most GTS models will be ordered.

We learned that rather than transform the driving experience, the GTS hones the qualities that make the 911 so engaging. Crucial to that experience is an immediate feeling of familiarity. Settling into the soft faux suede-shod interior is pleasing, as is the absence of superfluous controls on the base steering wheel. A small dial on the bottom right adjusts drive mode, and there is little else to interfere with driving.

The first step after turning it on? Press the button with the image of tailpipes on it. While doing so doesn't seem to make the exhaust louder, it introduces some welcome burbling and popping on deceleration. The twin-turbo 3.0-liter flat-six revs quickly. There's torque immediately off idle that builds to a brawny midrange. And where many turbocharged engines stumble at high revs, the 911's builds in power and excitement.

The GTS feels faster than its 450 horsepower might suggest — after all, you get more horses in a Camaro SS. But many sports cars with greater power falter in delivering the confidence that ultimately makes a car and its driver faster. The accuracy and weighting of the 911's steering, the tractable power of its engine, and its chassis' balance provide a sure-footedness that compels you to push harder. The 911 builds speed deceivingly and shrugs off corners with little regard to how fast you've gone through them. No matter the skill level, drivers of all types will find easy enjoyment with the 911.

2017 Porsche 911 GTS

Pay to Play
The GTS starts at $121,750. That might induce some sticker shock, but it's a deal in the context of the lineup. If you were to option any 911 equally, the GTS would be around 10 percent less expensive. That makes it the sweet spot for performance-minded buyers who don't want the extreme speed or cost of the GT3 and Turbo models.

Alas, not every performance option is standard. If little matters to you beyond 0-60 mph acceleration, Porsche's seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission not only shifts faster than any human can with a manual, it also adds launch control and a sport response button that temporarily puts the car in its most aggressive drive mode for when you need to make a quick pass. A rear-steering system improves both low-speed turning radius and high-speed stability by turning the rear wheels slightly in and out of phase with the fronts. Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control adds active anti-roll bars that continually adjust roll resistance through corners. Carbon-ceramic brakes intend to improve the life of brake rotors during super aggressive driving. And Porsche offers a track-oriented Pirelli Corsa tire that's sure to improve lap times at the expense of tire wear.

The necessity of these options depends entirely on the perceived value from the person checking the list. But no matter how it's optioned, the driving experience reiterates what we hold true to all modern 911s: You can't go wrong with any of them.

2017 Porsche 911 GTS

Porsche 911 Review

While Porsche's lineup of vehicles has been expanding in recent years, there's no question that the company's heritage and soul primarily come from a single rear-engine sports car, the 911. From rather humble beginnings, the Porsche 911 has gone on to become one of the most influential and most recognizable vehicles in the world. Today's version of the car provides stunning levels of performance without sacrificing much in terms of day-to-day usability, and many Porsche purists still consider the 911 the only "real" Porsche.

For the sports car shopper, a wide choice of drivetrains and body styles through the years makes it easy to find the perfect new or used 911. And although other sports cars have been able to outperform the 911 in one area or another, arguably no car can match the Porsche's overall blend of performance, practicality and that intoxicatingly direct connection between car and driver.

Current Porsche 911
The current 911 is available in coupe, retractable-roof coupe (Targa) and convertible (Cabriolet) body styles. The base 911 Carrera features a 350-horsepower 3.4-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine (flat-6), while the Carrera S gets a 400-hp 3.8-liter flat-6 (430 hp with the optional Powerkit). The transmission for these models is either a seven-speed manual or an optional dual-clutch seven-speed automated manual known as PDK. Rear-wheel drive is standard on all except the Targa, which employs an all-wheel-drive system that's optional on the others (and denoted by a "4" in their model names).

If these specs seem inadequate, you've got options. The AWD-only and PDK-only 911 Turbo carries a turbocharged 3.8-liter flat-6 that pumps out a cool 520 hp, while the rear-wheel-drive GT3 coupe (also PDK-only) features a naturally aspirated version with 475 hp and a 9,000-rpm redline. There's also a truly absurd Turbo S model with 560 hp.

In terms of feature content, a 911's standard equipment is generally just the tip of the iceberg. Of course, if you want a bone-stock 911 Carrera coupe, Porsche will gladly build you one, and in fact it'll come nicely equipped with bi-xenon headlights, leather upholstery, a 7-inch touchscreen and a nine-speaker sound system. But most buyers take advantage of Porsche's seemingly endless options list to make their cars unique, adding niceties like Burmester premium audio, adaptive sports seats, Porsche crests in various locations and even leather-trimmed climate vent slats. OK, most people don't add the leather slats, but we enjoy the fact that Porsche offers them at all.

In reviews, we've found that most of the 911 variants are equally comfortable whether tearing through a twisty road or smoothly dealing with the daily commute. The 911's capabilities are even easier to exploit with the PDK dual-clutch automated manual gearbox, which shifts more quickly and smoothly than you can, and requires one fewer pedal to do it. On the other hand, the buttery seven-speed manual shifter provides a more intimate driving experience, and it traces a direct lineage to the manual-only 911s of the past. You can't go wrong either way. The high-performance 911 editions are regrettably no longer available with a stick, but they compensate with performance and handling on par with exotic supercars. If you're looking for a premium yet practical sports car with history on its side, the 911 is tough to top.

Used Porsche 911 Models
The current, 11th-generation Porsche 911 debuted for the 2012 model year. The "991" (Porsche's internal code for this generation) is longer and wider than its predecessor, yet it managed to lose a few pounds in the transition. The all-new exterior is complemented by an updated suspension, electric power steering, the world's first seven-speed manual transmission and engines that are more powerful and efficient. The cabin design is significantly different, borrowing many cues from the Panamera sedan.

In its first year, the 991 lineup consisted of just two models: the Carrera coupe and Carrera S coupe. The other 911s built for 2012 were of previous-generation 997 provenance. For 2013, Cabriolet versions of the 991 Carrera and Carrera S arrived, but the 911 Turbo continued to be 997-based (there was no GT3 for '13). The 991 Turbo, Turbo S and GT3 bowed for 2014, as did the Targa (with its novel power-retractable roof) and a 50th Anniversary model (essentially a Carrera S with the 4S's wider rear end, additional aesthetic upgrades and the Powerkit as standard).

The previous, 10th-generation Porsche 911 (a.k.a. "997") was introduced for 2005 and lasted until 2011, though some 911 variants continued in production for a year or two after. This generation returned to the classic 911 face, with round headlights sitting above separate turn signal units. The 997 featured a wider track for better handling, larger wheels and tires, an available active suspension system and a much improved interior in terms of materials quality, comfort and ergonomics.

The Turbo, GT2 and GT3 models produced for 2005 actually belonged to the previous 996 generation and went on hiatus thereafter until they re-emerged in future years. The all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 and 4S arrived for '06, while the 997 Targa (essentially a coupe with a huge sunroof), GT3, Turbo and limited-edition GT3 RS followed the next year. The GT2 emerged for '08.

The engine lineup for these 2005-'08 models consisted of a 3.6-liter flat-6 in the Carrera good for 325 hp and a 3.8-liter flat-6 in the Carrera S good for 355 hp. An optional Powerkit for S models introduced for '08 bumped power up to 381 hp. The GT3 and GT3 RS had a 415-hp 3.6-liter flat-6, the Turbo had a 480-hp 3.6-liter twin-turbo flat-6 and the GT2 had a 530-hp version of the same engine. All 911s of this vintage came standard with a six-speed manual transmission, while all trims except the GT3s and GT2 also offered a five-speed Tiptronic automatic as an option.

For 2009, the 997 received a slew of updates. Porsche upgraded the Carrera and Targa to a 345-hp 3.6-liter flat-6 engine and the S models to a 385-hp flat-6. Also introduced were the PDK dual-clutch automated manual transmission (replacing Tiptronic), a revised electronics interface and new features that included a hill holder, ventilated seats, Bluetooth and an iPod interface. The suspension was made a bit more compliant as well.

Meanwhile, the GT3 and GT2 went on hiatus (for one and two years, respectively), returning with the same manual transmissions but more power than ever -- 435 hp for the GT3 (via a new 3.8-liter engine) and an insane 620 hp for the renamed GT2 RS. The Turbo went mechanically unchanged until 2010, when it got a boost to 500 hp and optional PDK. The Turbo S (530 hp), GT3 RS (450 hp) and GT3 RS 4.0 (500 hp) were introduced for 2011 along with the one-year-only GTS and Speedster models. Both included a 408-hp version of the Carrera S engine, but differed otherwise. The GTS was a middle-ground performance model between Carrera and GT models, while the convertible-only Speedster harked back to the styling of previous 911s of the same name.

In reviews, we found that the 997 brought the preceding 996's mission to satisfying completion. Although the two generations shared much under the skin, the 997 nailed the classic styling that always eluded its predecessor, and its interior design and quality were much more worthy of the Porsche crest. By the end of its run, the 997 had all the technology features of a high-end luxury car, yet it still provided the visceral thrills for which 911s are revered. As a pre-owned option, the 997 is potentially an excellent value, combining thoroughly modern sports-car performance with significantly depreciated prices.

Prior to the 997, the ninth-generation Porsche 911 (a.k.a. "996") was produced from 1999-2004. It marked the first time that water cooling was used for the car's flat-6 engines. The 996 was significantly larger than the 993 it replaced, and it didn't necessarily wear the extra metal well, sporting longer overhangs and a controversial front end look that shared its integrated headlight and turn-signal clusters with the lesser Boxster roadster. The switch to water cooling and the Boxster-like nose left many 911 fans irked, and while Porsche did give the 996 unique front light clusters starting in 2002, they were still viewed by some as an unfortunate departure from the classic round-headlight look. The modernized interior also drew criticism for perceived shortcomings in materials quality and aesthetics. There was, however, no dissatisfaction with the increased performance, thanks to a jump to 300 hp (and later, 320) for the standard 911 and a heady 415 hp in the all-wheel-drive Turbo, not to mention a turbocharged 456 hp in the new rear-drive GT2 and 381 screaming horses in the naturally aspirated GT3 (which made its American debut for 2004).

Shoppers looking at 997 classifieds will likely be pleasantly surprised by the low prices. If you want a 911 with modern conveniences, this is undoubtedly the cheapest way through the door. As with any Porsche, however, be prepared for hefty maintenance costs, even if it's just a scheduled service. The 997 isn't known as an unreliable car, but it could cost you a pretty penny to keep yours running in tip-top shape.

The eighth generation 911, a.k.a. "993," was produced from 1995-'98 and was the last of the air-cooled 911s. The base 3.6-liter flat-6 started at 270 hp and swelled to 282 hp for 1996, while the Turbo bowed for 2006 with 400 hp and, for the first time, standard all-wheel drive. The rare Turbo S was offered for 1997 only with 424 hp. This era also brought the glass-topped Targa and wide-body Carrera S models, both of which would become mainstays in future generations.

Regarding resale values, the 993 is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the 997. Due to the former's iconic styling, still-engaging performance and inimitable air-cooled character, pristine specimens may command as much cash as a brand-new 911. Even examples with more than 100,000 miles can change hands for crazy-high prices. Nicely kept 993s have actually proven to be excellent investments over the past few years, so if you've got some spare capital, a 993 could be a nice place to park it for a while.

For more on past Porsche 911 models, view our Porsche 911 history page.

Porsche 911 Cars for Sale

2018 Porsche 911 Carrera
NEW 2018 Porsche 911 Carrera
MSRP$108,300
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Dealer Notes

Memory Package, 4-Way Power Sport Seats, 4-Wheel Disc Brakes, 8 Speakers, ABS brakes, Adaptive suspension, Air Conditioning, Alloy wheels, AM/FM radio: SiriusXM, Automatic temperature control, Brake assist, Bumpers: body-color, CD player, Delay-off headlights, Driver door bin, Driver vanity mirror, Dual front impact airbags, Dual front side impact airbags, DVD-Audio, Electronic Stability Control, Exterior Parking Camera Rear, Four wheel independent suspension, Front anti-roll bar, Front Bucket Seats, Front Center Armrest, Front dual zone A/C, Front reading lights, Fully automatic headlights, Garage door transmitter: HomeLink, Headlight cleaning, Heated door mirrors, High intensity discharge headlights: Bi-Xenon, Illuminated entry, Knee airbag, Leather Shift Knob, Leather steering wheel, Low tire pressure warning, MP3 decoder, Navigation System, Occupant sensing airbag, Outside temperature display, Overhead airbag, Overhead console, Partial Leather Seat Trim, Passenger cancellable airbag, Passenger door bin, Passenger vanity mirror, Porsche Communication Management, Power door mirrors, Power driver seat, Power passenger seat, Power steering, Power windows, Radio data system, Rain sensing wipers, Rear anti-roll bar, Rear fog lights, Rear window defroster, Remote keyless entry, Security system, Speed control, Speed-sensing steering, Split folding rear seat, Spoiler, Sport steering wheel, Tachometer, Telescoping steering wheel, Tilt steering wheel, Traction control, Trip computer, and Variably intermittent wipers. *Your additional costs are sales tax, tag and title fees for the state in which the vehicle will be registered, any dealer-installed options (if applicable) and a $299 dealer processing fee. Pricing and incentives may vary if vehicle is leased. Prices are subject to change, and prior sales are excluded from these offers. While every reasonable effort is made to ensure the accuracy of this information, we are not responsible for any errors or omissions contained on these pages. Please verify any information in question with the dealer.

2017 Porsche 911 Carrera
NEW 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera
MSRP$104,995
 Request price quote Len Stoler Porsche(46mi)(0)
Dealer Notes

Leather, Nav System, Bluetooth, CD Player, Turbo Charged Engine, Aluminum Wheels, Quad Bucket Seats, iPod/MP3 Input, Satellite Radio, Back-Up Camera. Carrera trim. Warranty 4 yrs/50k Miles - Drivetrain Warranty; AND MORE! KEY FEATURES INCLUDE Leather Seats, Navigation, Quad Bucket Seats, Back-Up Camera, Turbocharged, Satellite Radio, iPod/MP3 Input, Bluetooth, CD Player, Aluminum Wheels, Dual Zone A/C. Rear Spoiler, MP3 Player, Keyless Entry, Electronic Stability Control, Heated Mirrors. EXPERTS REPORT Edmunds.com explains Boasting exceptional handling, classic styling, a luxuriously trimmed cabin and powerful engines, the 2017 Porsche 911 is a serious performance car. When it comes to sports cars, there are few cars on the road that will satisfy you like the latest Porsche 911.. MORE ABOUT US Buy with confidence knowing Len Stoler Porsche has been exceeding customer expectations for many years and will always provide customers with a great value! Please confirm the accuracy of the included equipment by calling us prior to purchase.

2017 Porsche 911 Carrera
NEW 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera
MSRP$110,750
Special Offer See special offer Porsche of Annapolis(51mi)(22)
2017 Porsche 911 Carrera
NEW 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera
MSRP$109,375
Special Offer See special offer Porsche Towson(53mi)(0)