Few cars wear the mantle of automotive icon as righteously as the Porsche 911. Every modern 911 variant embodies the distinguished charms of its forebears while offering significantly improved performance and refinement. With this year's debut of the range-topping Turbo and Turbo S models, the Porsche 911 lineup at last concludes its slow-yet-steady migration to the newest 991-generation platform, which builds upon the 911's signature rear-engine layout by incorporating lightweight materials, a longer wheelbase and increased structural rigidity. Because prices range between $85,000 and $190,000, the 911's competitive set spans from the comparatively affordable Lotus Evora and Jaguar XK to the upper-crust Audi R8 and Aston Martin Vantage. While all are exceptional alternatives, it's tough to bet against the most celebrated sports car in history: the Porsche 911.
You'll Like This Car If...
If your automotive ambitions include owning one of the world's best all-around sports cars, a Porsche 911 of any stripe is sure to fit the bill. Steeped in racing heritage, this wholly modern version of Porsche's seminal offering delivers a near-perfect combination of power, handling and everyday civility.
You May Not Like This Car If...
Getting your hands on a legend among sports cars comes at a price. In other words, driving enthusiasts looking for a more compelling performance-per-dollar ratio should consider the Nissan GT-R, Jaguar XKR or the Audi TT-RS.
Now in their seventh generation, the all-new 911 Turbo and Turbo S variants join the roster for 2014. With some big shoes to fill, the 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo and Turbo S aim to reaffirm their benchmark status among the world's finest sub-exotic sports cars.
Driving the 911
Hanging the engine out over the rear axle creates a weight-and-balance reality no designer would choose today. The rock-on-a-string effect has always let rear-wheel-drive (RWD) 911s change direction eagerly but...
... at the risk of spinning off the road if ham-handled. With each new platform, Porsche has sought to retain the benefits but further control the liabilities of the unique layout. In the 2014 Porsche 911, the result is a quick, responsive and communicative car, but one that is also stable and confidence-inspiring. It's even comfortable and accommodating on long trips. The car runs plenty strong with the "base" Carrera engine's 350 horsepower, but for even more, you can choose 400 (Carrera S), 520 (Turbo), or 560 (Turbo S). The 911's industry-first 7-speed manual gearbox (not available on Turbo models) works beautifully but we prefer Porsche's spectacular twin-clutch PDK automatic transmission, which bangs off gear changes with a press of wheel-mounted rocker switches.
REAR-AXLE STEERING Standard on the 911 Turbo, Turbo S and GT3, Porsche's active rear-axle steering system turns the rear wheels opposite the fronts below 31 mph and with the fronts above 50 mph for greatly improved agility.
PDK TWIN-CLUTCH TRANSMISSION Porsche's delightful 7-speed PDK transmission can operate automatically or be shifted manually using either the shift lever or steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. This is simply the model of sporting, manually shifted automatics, changing ratios more cleanly and quickly than a human-operated stick and pedal.
2014 Porsche 911 Details
The interior of the 2014 Porsche 911 feels familiar, with round gauges, an ignition placed left of the steering wheel, lush materials throughout and, of course, rear seats sized for little more than whisking Frodo to the shire. The optional 18-way sport front seats are supremely comfortable and supportive, a tilt-and-slide sunroof improves headroom, and the full-length console recalls the Carrera GT supercar. The 911's front trunk offers a modest 4.7 cubic feet of cargo space but that can be supplemented by an optional roof-rack system and rear seats that fold down individually to create a parcel shelf.
The 7th-generation platform that now underlies all 911s carries on the unmistakable traditional appearance even though the roof is now lower, the length and wheelbase have increased considerably, and detailing, fascias and lighting are new. The car looks both sleeker and more muscular. Casual observers may find it difficult to distinguish the new 911 Turbo from its Carrera-badged counterparts, but the differences are actually quite dramatic. For instance, the 911 Turbo and higher-performing Turbo S variants are 0.6 inches longer and 1.1 inches wider than a "wide-body" Carrera 4S.
In base form, the 2014 Porsche 911 Carrera coupe and cabriolet come equipped with 4-way power front seats with manual fore/aft adjustment, partial leather upholstery, a faux suede headliner, bi-xenon headlights (xenon illumination for the low and high beam), dual-zone climate control, 19-inch wheels and a 7-inch LCD navigation display linked to a 9-speaker audio system. The 911 Carrera 4 and Turbo models offer all-wheel drive (AWD) as standard fare. In terms of safety, every 911 includes eight airbags, a wide array of electronic stability aids and high-performance brakes comprising 4-piston calipers and 13-inch ventilated rotors.
Highlights from the 911's options list include adaptive headlights that swivel in unison with the steering wheel, ventilated front seats, an ultra-premium 12-speaker Burmester sound system, ceramic-composite brakes that are both lighter and more resistant to fading than standard setups, Porsche's Active Suspension Management, and the Sport Chrono package with its launch-control programming (PDK transmission only) and overboost function (Turbo models only). For the enthusiast who desires the best of both worlds, we recommend Porsche's Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC), for it essentially eliminates body roll through a multitude of sensors and hydraulic motors while also providing a more compliant ride in normal driving conditions.
Under the Hood
As Porsche shuffles the remaining 911 models from the previous 997 platform to the new 991, the powertrain lineup simplifies this year. There are now just two normally aspirated engines, making 350 horsepower in Carrera trim, 400 in Carrera S, 475 horsepower in the GT3, and two turbocharged engines tuned for 520 horsepower (Turbo) and 560 (Turbo S). All are sophisticated liquid-cooled flat-6s with four valves per cylinder, variable intake-valve timing and direct fuel injection. Any of these engines can be paired with Porsche's 7-speed PDK twin-clutch automatic transmission. The Carrera's manual alternative is the unique 7-speed box Porsche introduced for the 2012 model year.
The 2014 Porsche 911 series starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just over $85,000 for the Carrera coupe and $97,000 for the Carrera Cabriolet. Higher-performing "S" variants of each will set you back an extra $14,000. Likewise, all-wheel drive tacks an additional $7,000 to the bottom line. The new 911 Turbo and Turbo S open at $149,000 and $182,000, respectively. For comparison, the 500-plus-horsepower Nissan GT-R and Jaguar XK-R start right around $100,000, while the Aston Martin Vantage and Audi R8 begin in the low $120,000 range. To see what others are currently paying for the Porsche 911 in your area, take a look at our Fair Purchase Price tool at the bottom of this page. On the other side of the pricing equation, the 2014 Porsche 911 is expected to retain some of the highest residual values in the segment.
"Amazing handling, great car! But for those people with broad shoulders this car will be uncomfortable to drive for more than 30 minutes. The seats (even with 14 way adjustable power) are just not that comfortable. Oh well the price you pay to have an unbelievable car with equally unbelievable handling."