Why porsche 911 is best

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The Porsche 911 has shown an amazing resilience to the fashions of more than five passing decades. Its look, its dynamics and its very purpose have been steadfast and yet adaptive. Now it's time for the next step, but in the same direction. A new 911 has happened eight times – only eight – since 1963. Sometimes those generational leaps are big (the 996 was upsized, water-cooled and really a wholly new car). Sometimes they're more about the details.

The 992 is a kinda medium-sized move from the 991. The whole body is, to all intents and purposes, new. Before, the shell and skin was two-thirds steel. Now it’s only one-third, the rest being aluminium in sheet, extrusion and cast forms. On the outside every metal panel is changed. The body’s wider and shapelier but still in that blissfully subtle 911 manner.

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The cutline of the bonnet and its contours hark back to the 1974 G-series. The calligraphy on the tail and the design of the fully analogue rev-counter both nod to the original pre-911 901. The spirit of that car resides here, they want to imply.

And yes, it does reside here. The new 911, like any 911, is no diva. It's just a car, that’s the appeal. So the 992 does all the car-like stuff: the boot, the kid-carrying back seats, the practical upright cabin, the glassy view out. Everything just… works. It has soothing daily manners; the ability to slip through traffic or to swallow motorways.

Unless you’ve lived under a rock, you’ll be aware of the race-hardened patrimony the 911 embodies. And its actual dynamic characteristics live up to that. The song of its engine, the connectedness of its chassis, the balance and precision of its controls. A Porsche is animate in the way it connects with you.

This contradictory mastery of both the prosaic and the thrilling is always what made the 911 great. And so did its ability to evolve with the times. See an early one and this generation side by side, and the effects of progress are reflected in an almost comical hall-of-mirrors increase in girth. It's how the world has moved.

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The new car is substantially wider than the 991. Which is a pity because compactness was part of what made a 911 handy, whether in the city or threading down a B-road. But you can see why it’s grown. More width means more grip, and space for wider and larger-diameter tyres – the rear rims are 21-inchers. The 911 now clings on like a supercar.

Inside is a big step on rather than a medium one. It might contain a few visual recollections of cars past, but it is absolutely of the moment. The interfaces are all about reconfigurable screens, the equipment and driver-assist comprehensive. It’s beautifully made, simple in its lines, sophisticated in its appearance.

How wide’s the model range?

It’s very broad indeed. Twas ever thus. The base model is the plain Carrera, 380bhp from the twin-turbo 3.0-litre flat six, twin clutch PDK gearbox only, but a choice of rear or four-wheel drive, coupe or convertible. Above that sits the S: same engine, more power: 450bhp. 0-62mph times vary according to equipment, but hover around the mid-threes. Then there’s the 480bhp GTS, it uses Turbo components but wants to be a GT3. It splits the difference. It's arguably the pick of the range, but we’re up at £109,000 already, when the base car is under £85,000.

Then we have the more specialised machines, the multi-talented Turbo and track-focused GT3. The Turbo versions use a 3.7-litre twin turbo. It’s a sharper, more focused car in this generation, the chassis able to keep pace with an engine delivering up to 640bhp. The GT3 does without turbos. Still. Instead a 4.0 nat asp flat-six hits 9,000rpm and there's a scalpel-sharp chassis.

Is the standard engine carried over from the 991?

Yes, although it’s got higher compression, clever piezo injection and most significantly all-new induction and exhaust systems. Turbos and intercoolers are new and bigger, and all are positioned more advantageously for sharper response. The exhaust gets particulate filters too.

Meanwhile the PDK transmission is an entirely new eight-speeder. It’s quicker-shifting an’ all, but mostly it’s about saving fuel at speed. Both seventh and eighth are so long, the car actually gets to its circa-190mph at the top end of sixth.

In the chassis, we find similar principles as before but multiple worthwhile upgrades. They include higher-geared steering (with optional four-wheel steer as before), better brakes, and new standard-fit adaptive dampers with a wider range of operation than the 991.

For aero, there are active cooling flaps up front that, when open, also negate front lift. The rear spoiler now has three positions: down, a mid-range low-drag ‘eco’ position, and the full-speed full-up setting that keeps you earthbound as you approach the light-aircraft top speed. The spoiler is beautifully integrated when down, but when it rises it looks like the whole backside is falling off. Oops.


2dr PDK


“The 911 is still definitive, stretching the poles of a sports car's abilities without putting a foot wrong”

The new 911 adds both speed and grip, but also even better balance and neatness to its handling. The turbo flat-six now has an energy and charisma few at the price can match.

Yes, it feels a bigger car on the road now, but its daily-use and touring capacity has grown too, showing a comfort and a range of useful technologies that put it alongside mere sportified saloons. It’s as comfortable and usable as them, but satisfies on many more levels.

The 911 is still definitive, stretching the poles of a sports car's abilities without putting a foot wrong.

Go to YouTube right now and search up “best sports car shootout” and see if you can find a single video without the Porsche 911 present. The car is a universally loved name and a performer to the core which is why you always see it in comparisons and race videos. The only other car that may be a close second is the Miata, and that car deserves its own article. So, the 911 is our focus today.

Everyone already knows that the rear-engined Porsche is a wonderful driving machine, but putting that sentiment into words proves more difficult. That’s why we’re going to look at a few reasons why the juggernaut from Stuttgart lives up to all the hype.

Why porsche 911 is best

1. They’re Unique

Yes, we know, everybody and their mother brings a 911 to your local cars and coffee. That is a problem of its own but also not quite the point we’re making. The 911’s uniqueness comes in several different ways. Most obvious is its rear-engine layout. Putting the motor in the back was a decision made by Porsche so they could advertise their new sports car as one that “oversteers.” Back in the early ‘60s, your average family car and even sports cars were prone to understeer and overall atrocious handling. The 911s rear-engine layout allowed the back end to kick out under power in a corner and give that “feeling” of sportiness.

Having an engine over the rear wheels gave Porsche a ton of room to play with the design. They could lower the front cowl and hood for better visibility, they could give it nice meaty tires in the back for extra traction, and they could open up the interior a little more give your legs some extra room. This small collection of advantages was a fine recipe for success, especially in a time where mid-engined cars weren’t popular or affordable, and when every other front-engined car was 5000 pounds and guzzled gas like 747.

Why porsche 911 is best

2. Racing Heritage

Racing improves the breed, which is why the 911 is so damn sweet. Porsche is no stranger to the racetrack. They are the most winningest manufacturer at Le Mans with 19 overall victories, but the 911 has done far more racing than just Le Mans. 911-based racecars dominated Group 4 racing in the ‘70s and several of the big GT classes as well. Porsche even sent it to a few rally races in the ‘80s and won there too.

Porsche’s commitment to competition has sparked something of a tradition or habit of testing cars at the Nurburgring and various other tracks around the world. The recently released 911 GT3 is a prime example of the brand’s love for racing and devotion to performance. The new GT3’s entire front-end is from Porsche’s 911 RSR racecar, and much of its engine management is from the race-spec car as well. This is why Porsche’s cars break lap records and handle so sweetly on any stretch of pavement.

Why porsche 911 is best

3. The Engines

Firstly, can we say how thankful we are that Porsche keeps their GT cars naturally aspirated? Think of any other major manufacturer with supercar level performance and turbos are always involved. Hopefully, they keep that tradition going. Anyways, Porsche’s engineers have always been focused on what the driver wants -revs, power, and sound. The 911s flat-6 comes in many different forms from a 3.0 Liter to a 3.8 Liter to a 4.0 Liter motor. Each has its own quirks and features but all of them deliver power in a smooth and symphonic way that defines the 911’s driving experience.

The expensive GT cars all use the big 4.0 Liter engine that is capable of revving to 9000 rpm. This is something that all humans must hear before they die. Engine performance is one thing, but when a powertrain feels right at home in its shell, the car becomes an extension of the driver. That is precisely the case with the 911.

Why porsche 911 is best

4. Handling/Steering

Making a car with quick steering is easy these days. Any old car manufacturer can slap a big powerful electric motor on the steering box and make it respond quickly, but what they can’t always do is deliver on preciseness and steering feel. Porsches have always had great steering feel even though you wouldn’t expect a rear-engine car to have enough weight over the front to communicate anything to your hands. Even the center dead spot is almost eliminated in the 911.

As we mentioned earlier, all that time Porsche spends at racetracks has improved handing engineering and suspension geometries, but technology is another thing this brand relies on to deliver superb cornering. Porsche’s rear-wheel steering has become a marvel of design in the company’s last few years. The 911 especially has received improved versions of this technology allowing it to move its hips just a hair in the middle of a corner and keep the car from stepping out under power. The way the 911 moves through twists and bends is what makes it so special and fun. No matter if you have driven a 935, 996, or 991 in the past, every Porsche 911 feels familiar regardless of age. That makes it timeless too.

Why porsche 911 is best

5. Ergonomics

Have you ever driven a Ford Focus RS? Did you notice that when you hustled it on a back road and eventually parked it that your back and neck felt like they had been punched by Mike Tyson? That is the product of seats that are too hard, a ride that is too stiff, and a fast car that is unapologetic to your health. The 911 is the opposite. Its front and rear multi-link suspension eats up the bumps on an old weather-ridden road while making sure the car’s body motions are controlled and precise.

The term “ergonomics” also speaks loudly to the 911s interior. Even the old entry-level cars (944, Boxster, Cayman) had wonderfully comfortable interiors and high-quality leather that cuddles your body whilst also making sure you’re planted in the event of a high-speed corner. The 911 is true to Porsche’s commitment to luxury even though it can outrun anything on a back road. Everything is where you would expect and there is plenty of storage for your bags and groceries. There is a reason why it is called the “everyday supercar.”

Max Larsen is the Porsche reporter at Torque News. Since he was 15 years old Max was building old cars and selling them for profit, spawning his love for cars. He has been around Porsches his entire life. His grandpa had several 911s and he owned a Porsche 944 when he was younger, which made the auto-shop class cars a lot simpler. Reading old car magazines and seeing press cars at shows gave him the passion to write and pursue the industry. He is currently studying Journalism at Western Washington University and writing for the racing team there locally. Follow Max on Torque News Porsche and on Twitter at @maxlarsencars. Search Torque News Porsche for daily Porsche news coverage by our expert automotive reporters.