2018 Porsche 911 Review
2018 Porsche 911 Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Senior Vehicle Test Engineer
Jason joined Edmunds' testing team in 2006 as a vehicle testing engineer. Jason believes true appreciation of modern cars stems from owning really, really bad old ones.
- Outstanding combination of performance and civility
- Benchmark transmissions
- Rewarding driving dynamics
- Endless customization potential
- Evolutionary styling doesn't stand out like it once did
- Road noise can be excessive
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.
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.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2018 Porsche 911 Carrera 2dr Coupe (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 7M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.93 per gallon for premium unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$204/mo for 911 Carrera
Avg. Compact Car
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.
Edmunds' Expert Rating8.4 / 10
The Porsche 911 is the product of relentless evolution. Its rear engine placement is unique in the motoring world, and dictates its instantly recognizable styling and its fundamental driving dynamics. The Porsche 911 remains a benchmark among sports cars.
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.
|Overall||8.4 / 10|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 & vibration6.5
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.
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.
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 use7.5
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 out7.5
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 accommodation8.0
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.
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 & navigation8.0
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.
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.
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.
Which 911 does Edmunds 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.
2018 Porsche 911 models
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.
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
A high-performance car for daily driving
2017 Porsche 911 Carrera 2dr Coupe (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 7M)
Six months into my 2017 Graphite Blue Metallic 911. Got the Sports Chrono Package, Sports Exhaust (a must), and PDK. No sunroof to reduce weight and keep the center of gravity closer to the pavement. I drive the car daily. Very comfortable (if you're not overweight), but not soft on the road. If you want soft, get an old Cadillac. The new turbo motor actually gives better low-end power … than previous 911s, allowing one to exit corners swiftly. Little lag in Normal mode, but non-existent in Sports mode or the track-worthy Sports Plus mode. Whistling, swooshing, and rumbly exhaust every time there's a downshift is downright addictive. Steering, perfect. Visibility, perfect. Handling, perfect. My third Porsche. I've owned all the following: Audi R8 V10, Lambo Gallardo, Aston Vanquish, Viper, Lotus Elise, M6, but the new 911 gives me the thrill of a near-supercar on a daily basis. If you can get one, you won't be disappointed.
5 out of 5 stars
A dream to drive
John M, 08/28/2016
2017 Porsche 911 Carrera 2dr Coupe (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 7M)
Don't hesitate. The best car made. I drive it every day, and have literally no complaints. Traded in a 2015 911S for the new 2017. So light and nimble, and love the turbo. The new styling additions are just beautiful. Worth every penny, and such a joy to drive!
5 out of 5 stars
"You're Hooked after the 1st test drive"
"Car Lover", 03/01/2017
2017 Porsche 911 Carrera 2dr Coupe (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 7M)
The 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera is an Amazing vehicle. I've owned several Porsches and by far, the new 911 is the Best! The car is quick, handling is precise, and very comfortable for a 2-dr sport car. There's more room is this vehicle than you expect for a true Sport Car. Firing up the engine, and you'll fall in love with the sound with or without Sport Exhaust. Every time I drive my … new 911, I tell myself "It doesn't get better than this". Inside and out this vehicle is a Perfect 10.
5 out of 5 stars
2017 Porsche 911 Targa 4S 2dr Coupe AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 7M)
Owned a 2014 911 Cabrio for two years. Loved it, but a bit shy on torque/performance and lacked some essential safety equipment. Loved it with top down, but concerning blind spots with top up, particularly difficult to park without rear view camera. Targa reintroduced shortly after my '14 purchase; loved the lines on that car from first glance. Took delivery of a stunning graphite … grey/white '17 Targa 4S last week. Amazing how different this new car is. Instant throttle response from any RPM, tracks even better than the '14, and new blind spot warning system coupled with rear view camera has removed any slight issues I had with the '14. A pleasure to drive whether softly cruising or driving hard. A true sport car that is an able touring driver combines to make an overall driving experience unlike any other. A head-turner worth every penny. At 6'4" this car has front room unlike any other I tested (tried them all).
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2018 Porsche 911, so we've included reviews for other years of the 911 since its last redesign.
2018 Porsche 911 videos
That's a Porsche 911 GT3. [MUSIC PLAYING] We've chosen this car because it offers two of the best transmissions out there, a six-speed manual and a seven-speed automatic that Porsche calls PDK. This particular GT3 is equipped with the manual and something called the "touring package," which means it doesn't have the enormous look at me I'm driving a GT3 wing sticking out the back. What we're going to do is we're going compare the test results of this GT3 against the GT3 we tested a while back. That's when we put it against the Corvette ZR1. That one had the automatic and that big enormous wing. We have to give you one caveat, though. With GT3s, there's no price difference between manual and automatic. Other 911s are like traditional sports cars where you have to pay extra to get the automatic, and it's $3,200. But enough of that. Let's get testing. [MUSIC PLAYING] The easiest way to see the difference in acceleration between automatic and manual is straight-line acceleration. With an automatic 911, doing the launch control is really easy. You turn on sport mode, you hit the loud exhaust button for fun, you mash the brake pedal, you mash the gas pedal, the engine revs are going to shoot up, you release the brake and hold on. It's that easy. And it's quick, too. Replicating that performance with a manual is much more difficult there are more things that you control, and there are more decisions you have to make. You have to manage the clutch with your left foot you've to manage the gas pedal with your right foot. You have to decide what engine speed to launch at, what engine speed to shift at. And with your shifts, you have to be quick enough to not add unnecessary time your acceleration, but not so quick that you might damage your transmission. It's all about juggling smoothness and quickness and it even gets more nuanced with this particular 911 GT3 touring. I'm going to turn off stability control. There we go. And if I clutch in, engage first gear, and roll on the gas pedal, it's going to stop rubbing at 4,000 RPM. If I jump on the gas pedal, like really stab it, it goes to 5,000 RPM, and that's where we're going to launch at. When I release the clutch at that point, I'm going to slowly disengage it, try to minimize axle hop, and then have to control the gas pedal with my right foot so the tires don't spin too much and slow you down. And then everything follows after that. Sound complicated? It's not. Let's do it. [ENGINE REVS, TIRES SQUEAL] It's a little bumpy down here. [LAUGHING] [SIGHS] That feels good. That feels real good. This is a fast car. It's a real fast car. [MUSIC PLAYING] How much does a manual slow you down? In this case, it's about a half a second at both 60 miles an hour and the quarter mile. You may think that the time it takes to change gears would be the primary contributor to that difference, but you'd be wrong. The data suggests it's actually the automatic's launch control. Let's look at the acceleration curves. Time is on the x-axis, and speed is on the y-axis. The more quickly the line shoots up, the faster the car gets going. In the automatic, the launch control is simply better at managing power delivery to the tires. It's faster at reading the situation, and it can make decisions with a higher fidelity of control than you get with your feet. Each of the three shifts the manual GT3 makes during the acceleration run costs about a tenth of a second. But even before it's time to shift to second gear with the manual, the automatic GT3 has already established the majority of the lead it maintains through the rest of the run. You could, in theory, launch the manual GT3 better and close that gap. But that would be for just one run. The automatic's advantage isn't just the speed, but the consistency. It runs the same acceleration every single time. [MUSIC PLAYING] So what have we proven? Yes, manuals are slower than automatics. No duh. And now you know by how much. But that begs the question about the existence of this car. Well, what happens is when you have this car you get the luxury of not having to care about numbers. You're going to run into a wall with the automatic where you're going to figure out, I wish this was a little bit more interesting. I wish I could be more of a part of the experience. And that's what this gives you the ability to engage a bit more this car is about that purity of driving experience that people go on and on about. And as much as I hate to admit that that saying is true, it is. If you want the fastest car out there, go get an electric Tesla. But if you actually want to care about the act of driving, get yourself a manual. If we could just talk a minute about the sound of this thing, a 9,000 RPM flat six screaming as you approach the top of the power band. And to me, one of my favorite parts about driving a car like this is the up shift, when you find a clear bit of straightaway, and you can take the thing to red line or near to it, when you change gears up, when you re-engage the throttle after your shift, for some reason that sensation and that sound has always made me a very happy driver. [ENGINE REVS] Right there. That hiccup kind of sound when the throttle comes back in, when you start feeling the air, hearing the air run through the engine, it's just such a satisfying and beautiful-sounding thing. And this is when maybe we don't have to describe it. Maybe we can just settle on it being just fun. That's OK for me. I know I could be going faster. I don't care. I'm enjoying the experience of driving. We haven't even talked about this transmission. The six-speed manual is a special transmission for this car and this car alone when it comes to new 911s. The standard 911 gets a seven-speed. This one is a six-speed. Now you might say, Oh, probably a seven-speed couldn't withstand what's happening at 9,000 RPMs, because normal 911s don't read that high. This one does. But I like to imagine that this transmission is the result of Porsche understanding why a manual transmission is important, because they appear to have paid very close attention to the feel of the gates, how do you go from one to the next. There's a mechanical satisfaction about that movement, how it goes chink-chink like a bolt-action component of the shifter itself. And you know you've had appliances that just had buttons that felt good, or doors that just felt good. It's the same response here. It's the same kind of feeling here. And I just want to stop at saying it feels good. While we're on cool down, there's so much I can think of and talk about that doesn't hit my mind when we're driving fast. I still love the consistency of a good automatic, like the l-clutch units that Porsche uses, their PDK transmissions. You really have to admire the engineering work that goes into a transmission like that. The consistency, and the thrill, and the performance that they deliver. But when you have a good manual and you don't care about lap times or acceleration runs, this one just feels good. So let's leave it at that. 911 GT3 touring. The best 911 of this generation. And the one I'd most likely want to steal. I'll be sad to give this thing up. Thanks for watching. Be sure to subscribe and visit Edmunds.com to find your perfect car.
Porsche 911 GT3 Touring: How Much Does a Manual Transmission Slow You Down?
Carlos Lago tests and reviews the 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 Touring. We all know manual transmissions are slower than automatics. But have you ever wondered by how much? Or, more importantly, is that difference worth the premium a typical automatic commands over a manual transmission?… That's exactly what we set to find out. In this video, we'll test and compare a Porsche 911 GT3 with a manual transmission against one with an automatic transmission to see what that difference is and whether it's worth anything.
2018 911 Highlights
|Combined MPG||23 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$204/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||rear wheel drive|
|Warranty||4 years / 50,000 miles|
Our experts like the 911 models:
- Automatic Post-Collision Braking System
- Reduces the severity of a secondary collision by automatically braking the vehicle after an initial collision.
- Lane Change Assist
- Monitors blind spots to the sides and rear of the vehicle and visually alerts the driver when another vehicle is present.
- Active Rear Axle Steering
- Improves stability during high-speed lane changes and increases agility in tight corners.