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Say the term “911” and everyone knows the car you’re talking about. It’s unmistakeably a Porsche, an absolute icon of the motoring world – and it’s the standout model of the Porsche brand too. Leather, alloy wheels, air conditioning, and automatic headlights are all as standard – so all that’s left is for you to get in touch and get your Porsche 911 contract hire sorted.
Porsche’s 911 continues to evolve, fundamentally so in the case of the improved ‘991’-series model, where a switch to turbocharging has been made for the entire Carrera line-up. The result is not only vastly improved efficiency but even more power and torque.
Can all of this be delivered though, without dilution of the magical experience that’s served this model line so well for so long? And which 911 will suit you best? Rear or four wheel drive, coupe, soft top, business express or race refugee? Here’s where we find out.
The engine has always dominated the 911 driving experience and that’s just as true with the turbocharged Carrera. The 3. 0-litre flat six might sound a touch more muted than the previous normally aspirated unit but you still get a delightful howl from the ‘boxer’ motor – and significantly more pulling power too. With so much low and mid-rev torque from the turbo, you can drive it as lazily as you like. Press harder though, and the Porsche’s brilliant handling is matched by almost staggering speed. Pick the right combination of engine, gearbox and options and the car will rocket past 62mph from a standstill in less than four seconds, yet a wisely-specified 911 can also be capable of up to 38. 2mpg. It’s quite a combination.
Carrera users choose from two versions of this 3. 0-litre turbo powerplant. You get 370bhp with the standard Carrera model – or 420bhp if you opt for the pricier Carrera S, the outputs in both cases being 20bhp greater than they were before. You can also choose between rear or four-wheel drive and manual or PDK auto gearboxes. Plus there’s a ‘driving mode’ rotary controller that allows you to tailor the throttle response and even the exhaust note to your taste. You can alter the suspension feel too, thanks to the now-standard ‘Porsche Active Suspension Management’ system. With PDK auto models, the driving mode controller offers an additional ‘Sport Response’ button for quicker overtaking. And there are optional systems that can reduce bodyroll, improve corner turn-in and even richen up the exhaust note, should you want them.
It’s easy to assume the styling team for the 911 has the easiest job in the world. After all, essentially the same shape has been used ever since the car was originally launched back in 1963 and that continuity is a big part of its appeal. You’d certainly know today’s model at a glance. It’s still the most compact car in its class with the curvy shape and the trademark wide-arched wings both present and correct. Look a little closer though and there are plenty of examples of evolution in action, many of them prompted by the installation of the new turbocharged 3. 0-litre engine plumbed-in out-back.
And inside? Well much has changed – yet little seems different. So, as ever, you slide behind the wheel to find a traditionally upright dash with an instrument cluster dominated by a large central rev counter, flanked by two circular dial spaces either side.
Cabin quality is everything you’d expect from a six-figure supercar and includes lovely details that existing users will recognise, things like the digital and analogue stopwatch, centrally placed on top of the dash and fitted as part of the optional ‘Sport Chrono’ package. Less familiar is an addition to the improved model, the rather cheap-looking rotary controller that sits below the righthand spoke of the redesigned steering wheel and allows you to switch between the various driving modes.
The other key interior change applies to all 911 models and covers the long overdue infotainment upgrade introduced for the second generation ‘991’ series model. Previously, the central ‘Porsche Communication Management’ screen you had to pay extra for incorporated relatively little in terms of modern era connectivity. Now though, there’s pretty much everything you could want. Not only is the more intuitive 7-inch touchcreen standard-fit but it also includes a ‘Connect Plus’ package providing wifi internet connection, real-time traffic information and ‘Google Earth’ and ‘Streetview’ accessibility.
With most supercars, this is where we’d be finishing our tour of the cabin, but the 911 has its reputation as the most practical and usable model in its class to uphold. Hence the inclusion of the two small rear seats that you’d have to do without in the brand’s 718 Cayman and Boxster models – and in many rivals.
Much of the time of course, you’ll probably be using thee rear pews purely as a stowage point of briefcases or designer shopping bags, some of which might fit behind the backrests where there’s a 150-litre compartment. Fold the backrests forward and you’ve have a total of 260-litres of room to use.
Whatever bodystyle you choose, the boot out front is 145-litres in size – or at least it is in a 2WD variant. Bear in mind that the capacity falls to just 125-litres if you go for a four wheel drive model.
In summary, what we have here is a worthy evolution of the world’s longest running sports car dynasty. Porsche is banking on the fact that the excellence of the 911 will help to simplify the decision over whether to commit to the significant outlay involved. If over fifty years of development has taught us anything, it's that you wouldn't bet against them succeeding in doing just that.