Few cars match the 911's poise in so many areas. The 911 range is at once fast yet tremendously composed, rewarding and civilized. Likewise, there are few cars that are offered in such an onslaught of variants — for 2018, there are 20 distinct 911s. Porsche's strategy of methodically rolling out a new variant nearly every six months (or so it seems) has been so successful that it has been adopted in varying degrees by many other automakers.
The 911 shares its front-end architecture with the lesser 718 Boxster/Cayman models, which reduces cost — the bones from the firewall forward are largely shared. Aft of the firewall, the 911 is like no other car. Its 2+2 seating arrangement and engine hung outside of the rear axle are unique in the motoring world.
While in the past the 911's rear engine layout has been at the root of some wayward handling characteristics, there is no denying the braking and acceleration benefits that it imparts. And the modern 911 has thoroughly exorcised its more notorious habits. In the process the 911 has morphed into more of a GT car, something that is larger and more comfortable for long journeys than 911s of yore. Yet there is no denying it is an accomplished driver's car with few equals.
trim levels & features
The 2018 Porsche 911 is available in a breathtaking number of trim levels and body styles. At its most basic level, there's the standard rear-wheel-drive Carrera coupe or the open-top Cabriolet. Each of those models is available with all-wheel drive, which is designated as the Carrera 4 or Carrera 4 Cabriolet. There's also a Targa model with a retractable hardtop that is only available with all-wheel drive. All of the aforementioned models are also available in a higher-performance S version. There's also an even higher-performance Carrera GTS that is available on all three body styles. The most powerful rear-wheel-drive model is the track-ready GT3. Finally, there's the all-wheel-drive 911 Turbo. It, too, is available as a coupe or convertible in either standard tune or more powerful S tune. If that's not enough, the Porsche Exclusive program provides for further customization.
Carrera models are rear-wheel-drive coupes and are equipped with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo flat-six engine (370 hp, 331 lb-ft). A seven-speed manual gearbox is standard; the PDK dual-clutch automatic is optional. Don't be fooled by its "base" billing — the Carrera is one hell of a satisfying car that is often overlooked.
Carrera 4 models (and others with the numeral 4 in their names) add all-wheel drive and 1.7-inch-wider rear fenders.
All S models (aside from the Turbo S) have a twin-turbo 3.0-liter flat-six engine with more power (420 hp, 368 lb-ft), larger brakes, a limited-slip differential and 20-inch wheels. Optional features on S models that are unavailable on the base versions include a sport suspension, active stabilizer bars and rear-wheel steering system.
Cabriolet models are equipped an electrically operated folding soft top, while Targa variants have an electrically stowable hard roof panel.
GTS variants are essentially S models with more standard equipment, a power increase (450 hp, 405 lb-ft), the wider rear fenders of 4 models on all GTS variants, and unique interior and exterior trim. These models are deceptively desirable.
Turbo models are mega-powerful cars with an immense range of talents. They have a 3.8-liter twin-turbo flat-six engine (540 hp, 486 lb-ft) and rear fenders that are 2.8 inches wider than the base 911's, and are equipped exclusively with a PDK gearbox and all-wheel drive. Turbo S models have more power (580 hp, 516 lb-ft), center-lock wheels, active stabilizer bars, carbon-ceramic brakes, 18-way adaptive sport seats with backrests in leather, a two-tone leather interior and adaptive LED headlights as standard equipment.
GT3 models are the most focused of all 911s and are favored heavily by the trackday contingent of owners. They are exclusively rear-wheel-drive coupes that have a nonturbocharged 4.0-liter flat-six engine (500 hp, 339 lb-ft) and a choice of seven-speed PDK or a unique six-speed manual gearbox. A fixed rear wing and unique front end and underbody treatments enhance its aerodynamic performance. Rear-wheel steering, active engine mounts, a mechanical limited-slip (PDK-equipped GT3s have an active differential), unique seats, navigation and a track analysis app are standard.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our Full Test of the 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera S (turbo 3.0L flat-6 | 7-speed dual-clutch automatic | RWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current 911 has received only minor revisions. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's 911.
noise & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
child safety seat accomodation
audio & navigation
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
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