2018 Porsche 911

2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS Review

The 911 maintains its position as the sports car by which all others are measured
4.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Jason Kavanagh
Edmunds Editor

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.



what's new

For 2018, the GT3 variant receives a significant refresh with a revised, more powerful engine, plus a unique and optional six-speed manual gearbox, revised suspension tuning and some aerodynamic tweaks. Other 911 models receive only minor changes this year. All 911 models now come with the first year's scheduled maintenance as standard. There's an improved cabin air filter and an updated color palette inside and out.

we recommend

While the 911 is a consistently brilliant car all the way up to the range-topping Turbo S, the fundamental goodness of the base Carrera model is often underappreciated. We'd go with a Carrera coupe with few options. Purists will want the outstanding manual gearbox, but the PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission is exceptional, too. The Premium Package with power sport seats is a great value, and we'd add Sport Chrono and the front axle lift system.

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.

trim tested

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.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall4.5 / 5.0

Driving

5.0 / 5.0

Acceleration5.0 / 5.0
Braking4.0 / 5.0
Steering4.5 / 5.0
Handling5.0 / 5.0
Drivability5.0 / 5.0

Comfort

4.5 / 5.0

Seat comfort5.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort4.5 / 5.0
Noise & vibration3.0 / 5.0
Climate control4.0 / 5.0

Interior

4.5 / 5.0

Ease of use3.5 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out3.5 / 5.0
Driving position5.0 / 5.0
Roominess4.5 / 5.0
Visibility4.5 / 5.0
Quality5.0 / 5.0

Utility

4.0 / 5.0

Small-item storage4.0 / 5.0
Cargo space4.5 / 5.0

Technology

3.5 / 5.0

Audio & navigation4.0 / 5.0
Smartphone integration3.0 / 5.0
Voice control2.5 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
The competence of the Carrera S spans a vast range. It expertly balances power and high-speed performance with in-town drivability and everyday use. The dual-clutch automatic gearbox is a benchmark, and its acceleration from any speed is seamless. You have to look for turbo lag to find it.

acceleration

edmunds rating
In Edmunds track testing, the Carrera S was blisteringly fast, going from zero to 60 in just 3.4 seconds, reaching the quarter-mile marker in 11.4 seconds at 121 mph. Part-throttle acceleration is impressively robust, too. Few drivers will complain about turbo lag, such is its responsive nature.

braking

edmunds rating
Firm pedal with lots of braking power when you're really moving but the brakes' sensitivity may require some drivers to adapt their braking style. Our simulated panic stop at the track from 60 mph measured an eye-watering 96 feet. Only a few cars on the road today can stop shorter.

steering

edmunds rating
The steering is well weighted everywhere. Rear steer helps with parking and low-speed maneuvers while high-speed directional changes are light and responsive. There's a bit of a disconnect from driver to front-end action, too, but nothing with modern power steering feels better.

handling

edmunds rating
Midcorner bumps don't faze the Carrera S, and the speed with which you can enter a corner makes you feel pretty heroic, even though the car is doing the work. The Carrera S' limits are extremely high (it averaged 1.01g on our skidpad) and it exhibits virtually zero body roll.

drivability

edmunds rating
The seven-speed PDK transmission works its magic in almost every scenario. It's excellent on long uphill grades while also super intuitive on curvy back roads. Automatic and manual mode are equally enjoyable. It's about as drivable as you'll find while getting this kind of epic performance.

comfort

edmunds rating
The standard-bearer of comfort among sports cars. Great seats, a firm but forgiving ride and plenty of creature comforts. Road noise with the optional wheels and tires is the sole black mark.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
The optional 18-way sport seats' substantial side bolsters provide ample lateral support but don't get in the way of terrific long-distance comfort. A multitude of adjustments will suit even the most finicky driver.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
Firm, but won't beat you up on a long trip. Optional adjustable dampers provide a good breadth of firmness. Bumps and ruts are short-lived and extremely well damped.

noise & vibration

edmunds rating
It's a relatively quiet ride in the city, but at elevated freeway speeds the optional Sport exhaust is audible and there's a constant hum from the high-performance summer tires. We suspect the standard wheels and tires are less aggressive in this regard.

climate control

edmunds rating
Air-conditioning blows super cold and acts fast. The cabin gets very comfortable very quickly, even on hot days. The optional cooled/heated seats operate instantaneously and effectively. Small, complicated, hard-to-find climate controls hurt its score in this category.

interior

edmunds rating
Loads of headroom and good forward visibility. Materials quality and driving position are excellent. Though the backseats are small, not many competitors even offer them. Limited rear visibility and a backup camera that isn't great.

ease of use

edmunds rating
The controls are well within reach. The drive mode knob on the steering wheel works especially well. Too many small buttons that don't all work the way you'd expect.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
Despite the low roof and somewhat high stepover, it's no more difficult than any other sports car to get into or out of. Our tester, equipped with the optional PASM Sport suspension, sits nearly an inch lower than standard.

driving position

edmunds rating
Solid fundamentals of control placement are abetted by a huge range of adjustment in the optional 18-way adjustable front seats and power tilt-and-telescope steering column. There's nothing in your (and your perfect driving position's) way.

roominess

edmunds rating
Front headroom and legroom are abundant, but wider passengers may feel the pinch. The backseat is best for luggage; even small children will be cramped. Our sunroof-less test car easily fits long-of-torso 6-foot-plus drivers.

visibility

edmunds rating
The low, sloping hood and large windshield contribute to excellent forward visibility. Relatively large rear roof pillar blocks your view of the Porsche's small blind spot. Small mirrors and a small rear window. Excellent parking sensors; the backup camera is acceptable.

quality

edmunds rating
After two weeks in the Carrera S, we were only able to find one fault in build quality: a clunky plastic knob for the drive mode selector on the steering wheel. Practically everything else is flawless. Excellent materials, tight tolerances and everything you'd expect for the price.

utility

edmunds rating
The Carrera S is pretty practical for a sports car. Beyond the front trunk, the rear seat has a fold-down luggage shelf that's quite useful. The cabin has smart small-item storage solutions.

small-item storage

edmunds rating
Small-item storage is limited but somewhat smart. The cupholders stow unobtrusively in the dashboard (but they're still tiny), the center console isn't very deep but easily swallows a large smartphone and a wallet, and the door pockets are long but shallow.

cargo space

edmunds rating
While its 9.1-cubic-foot trunk seems small compared to those of rivals, the 911 has a folding rear seat that acts as a large luggage shelf. Combine the two and you've got plenty of space for gear. Most rivals have only two seats.

child safety seat accomodation

edmunds rating
Under a small velcro-attached patch on the rear seats are two easily accessible lower LATCH points. There's one top anchor on each rear seat. Big child seats just won't fit back there. Even medium-size ones will have a problem. Even so, several rivals are missing a backseat altogether.

technology

edmunds rating
While an improvement on previous systems, the current Porsche tech interface isn't the most user-friendly on the market. Device integration and voice controls had a few hiccups during our test. Get past those quirks, though, and the system can do all of the basic tasks you'd expect.

audio & navigation

edmunds rating
The eight-speaker system is relatively bass-heavy. A 12-speaker Burmester system is optional. The nav screen is lower than preferred, though its pinch-to-zoom feature is excellent and entering destinations is simple.

smartphone integration

edmunds rating
Apple CarPlay is standard, which works relatively well once you get it connected but may take a few attempts. The native music system is easy to understand, but it doesn't index music quickly and it doesn't always obey commands.

voice control

edmunds rating
Underwhelming voice control. It had a difficult time responding to basic commands, and its menu structure has a steep learning curve. If you've got Siri at your disposal, use that feature instead — it's much more responsive.

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.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.