Porsche 911 coupe performance
No matter which version you choose, the 911 delivers crushing straight-line performance. The entry-level Carrera features a 3.0-litre turbocharged engine with 365bhp; it can hit 62mph from a standstill in just 4.4sec if you opt for the lightning-fast seven-speed PDK automatic gearbox (a seven-speed manual is standard).
If you want a more focused driving experience, the Carrera T – essentially a lightweight and pared-back version of the standard Carrera – delivers it. This model benefits from lighter rear side glass and rear window (borrowed from the GT2 RS), the optional deletion of the rear seats, the omission of an infotainment system (again, optional) and a reduction in soundproofing. In total, the Carrera T weighs around 20kg less than the standard car, with the same power output.
We reckon the Carrera T offers more than enough performance for most buyers, but step up to the Carrera S model and you’ll get 414bhp (up from 365bhp) and a plusher interior. There’s a lot more urgency at low revs when you put your foot down, too, thanks to a generous 369lb ft of torque (the Carrera has 332lb ft) and the same shorter final drive ratio as used in the Carrera T.
With a pair of larger turbochargers, the GTS produces another 30bhp over the Carrera S. To help tame this extra power, the GTS benefits from wider front and rear tyres, a wider rear track and larger front brake discs from the Turbo models. All these incremental upgrades add up to more than the sum of their parts, with the GTS feeling keener and more responsive to your inputs than a regular 911. For real driving enthusiasts, this is the model to go for if you can’t quite stretch to a GT3.
Meanwhile, the Turbo and Turbo S have larger 3.8-litre engines and deliver gut-wrenching acceleration, with 0-62mph taking around three seconds. These models are only available with four-wheel drive, which might put off keener drivers who tend to prefer the more natural feeling of rear-wheel drive. However, for the majority of people, all-wheel drive traction gives the Turbo and Turbo S variants incredible point-to-point pace in inclement conditions.
Porsche also introduced a ‘dynamic boost function’ to improve accelerator response in the 991.2 generation of the Turbo S. Press the central button located on the steering wheel’s rotary switch and the system keeps the throttle valve open for a short time after the driver lifts off the accelerator pedal. This means boost pressure is maintained, so when the driver reapplies power the engine reacts with practically no delay. It’s ideal for overtaking situations and is far from a gimmick.
However, despite the Turbo and Turbo S offering virtually lag-free accelerator response, there will always be those Porsche enthusiasts who crave the noise and immediacy of a naturally aspirated race-derived engine. And for them, there is the GT3. With an atmospheric 493bhp 4.0-litre engine, it responds instantly when you press the accelerator pedal and is mesmerisingly quick once it's above 5000rpm and into its power band.
The best bit is that it revs out to 9000rpm and sounds unbelievably good when it does; it’s arguably the best-sounding engine in production. The option of a manual gearbox will delight enthusiasts, too, but the PDK auto is a delight.
The most hardcore 911 of all, though, is the GT3 RS, which offers 513bhp from its 4.0-litre engine and gets a host of track-focused aerodynamic upgrades and weight-saving measures. Unfortunately, the order books for this model are full, so unless you’ve already snapped one up you’ll have to pay a grossly inflated price on the second-hand market.
Finally, there is the GT2 RS. It’s a stripped-out, lightweight, rear-wheel-drive model that comes with a heavily reworked version of the Turbo S’s turbocharged 3.8-litre engine. You can read our full review by clicking on the link above, but beware: it’s sold out in the UK and will command a hefty premium on the used market.
Porsche 911 coupe ride
Like most modern sports cars, the 911 is available with a variety of suspension set-ups to suit a range of tastes and budgets. As standard, the entry-level Carrera comes with 19in wheels, although the adaptive dampers do an impressive job of cushioning you from battered road surfaces – as long as you avoid the firmer Sport setting.
True, big ridges or bumps will still unsettle the ride, but for such a focused car the 911 is surprisingly comfortable. Confronted by a series of challenging crests and dips, it remains remarkably flat and stable, whereas many rivals would throw you around in your seat.
The Carrera S comes with 20in wheels, so it's marginally less forgiving at low speeds, while the optional lowered Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) suspension, which brings a 20mm drop in ride height, makes the ride firmer still and brings little benefit elsewhere. We’d recommend avoiding it.
Porsche 911 coupe handling
Probably our only gripe with the latest 911 rests with its steering, which doesn’t offer quite the same superb feedback that was a hallmark of older models. Still, it's precise and consistently weighted. Otherwise, the 911 delivers a handling masterclass. The grip and composure it can muster in tight corners is truly staggering and the car responds instantly to your steering inputs and feels incredibly planted.
The four-wheel-drive versions are even more tenacious, giving you greater confidence in slippery conditions, while the Turbo editions have a four-wheel steering system (optional on the four-wheel-drive Carrera models) that helps make up for their extra weight. Even these all-weather 911s have playful handling, if not quite as light-footed as the rear-wheel-drive models we favour.
Regardless of which version you pick, the 911 is compact enough to feel wieldy on narrow B-roads.
Porsche 911 coupe refinement
For all its dynamic ability, the 911 isn’t the most refined choice for covering lots of miles. The wide tyres create a lot of noise over coarse surfaces, although wind and engine noise are both relatively well suppressed.
Versions with the PDK automatic gearbox rifle through the gears quickly in normal mode, keeping the revs down and the engine hushed. Engage Sport mode, though, and the 'box will kick down a gear at the merest hint of you pressing the accelerator.
Similarly, cars fitted with the optional sports exhaust make a full-blooded and thrilling noise when accelerating. Fortunately, you can switch this feature off when you’re not in the mood and the engine never gets too boomy or intrusive.