What's the used Porsche 911 coupe like?
True motoring icons are few. To make a mark, a car must have been innovative or popular or trend-setting or brilliant on the road or unfeasibly pretty, or all of those together. For an expensive sports car to become an icon requires longevity, too, and an unmatched purposefulness.
The Porsche 911 first hit the streets in 1963, and has survived through many incarnations in which it’s evolved from wayward puppy to sophisticated and unmatched supercar. The present version, codenamed 991, was launched in 2012, and facelifted in 2015, and has consistently featured at the top of our sports car category. With the present crop, it’s possible that no other four-seater premium sports car can match its all-round abilities and sheer driving pleasure. As well as the four-seater coupe, from new you could have opted for a cabriolet version or a targa-topped car.
Earlier models relied on a range of naturally aspirated flat-six engines, with either a 3.4 or a 3.8-litre unit in the Carrera or the Carrera S. Turbocharged variants of these engines were available in the neatly named ‘Turbo’ versions, and you could opt for four-wheel drive, or choose between a seven-speed manual or PDK automatic transmission. The 2015 updates brought with them turbocharged 3.0-litre engines for the base Carrera and Carrera S, in two different states of tune, although naturally aspirated engines were still available higher up the range in a brace of super-sporting versions, the R, the GT3 and the GT3 RS.
There are many different 911s to choose from, then. The base model gets 19in alloy wheels, leather seats, sat-nav and a DAB radio. The S adds 20in wheels; the T additions include a standard limited-slip differential, Porsche’s highly effective PASM adaptive damping system, 20in alloy wheels and the Sport Chrono Package. The high-performance GT3 includes a 7.0in infotainment touchscreen with sat-nav and Bluetooth, 20in alloy wheels, electric windows and climate control, while the GT3 RS comes with a PDK automatic gearbox and four-wheel steering. In the GT2 RS, you get a Club Sport Package, which includes carbonfibre-backed seats, lightweight door trims and a sports steering wheel.
On the road, all 911s are extremely rapid, both in a straight line and around a corner. Forget lurid tails of rear-engined handling, the 911 is beautifully balanced. The steering is precise and well-weighted, and the grip is phenomenal. It even rides pretty well, too, especially on the 19in wheels of the base Carrera, and with the adaptive damper set-up. Faster models are firmer, but this is a happy pay-off for the 911’s superb body control.
Inside the driving position is first class, with most of the huge range of bucket seats offering multi-adjustability. You sit low, and visibility is better than you’d expect, although reversing can be tricky. Most 911s will have been specified with a reversing sensor or camera, though. Space is fine for taller drivers, but the rear seats are best left for children or flexible adults. It’s a luxurious and beautifully made interior, too, with well-damped buttons and switches, and pleasingly dense leather and plastics.
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