By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 8.1
The Porsche 911's 50-plus years of evolution and excellence are well known, so let's cut to the chase. The new 911 R is a race-ready limited edition that is likely already sold out as you read this. Across the rest of the Carrera and Targa lineup is a new twin-turbo 3.0-liter flat-6 engine offering more power, torque and better fuel economy. The range-topping 911 Turbo also gets a 20-horsepower bump. All 2017 911 models get Porsche Active Suspension Management, which aims to combine outstanding handling and a comfortable ride without compromising either. With prices from about $90,000 for the Carrera to nearly $200,000 for a Turbo S Cabriolet, the 911 goes head-to-head with the Chevrolet Corvette, Jaguar F-Type and virtually any other sports car on earth.
The 2017 Porsche 911 is a near-perfect sports car. Whether you're choosing the basic Carrera or the ungodly powerful 911 Turbo S, you're treated to power, styling, and a chassis that telegraphs every curve and pavement ripple to your hands. It's one of the world's most rewarding driver's cars.
As good as the 911 is, the competition has been studying its moves and is catching up. These days the performance and satisfaction gap between the 911 and competition like the Chevrolet Corvette, Jaguar F-Type and even Porsche's own Cayman is narrow enough that it may not even matter.
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There's a new model, the 911 R, a race-ready limited edition that's an homage to the 1967 911 R. The rest get changes to appearance, but most important is the new family of 3.0-liter turbocharged engines, and standard Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), which uses active dampers to improve ride and handling.
Don't worry: There's no compromise with the 2017 Porsche 911's new twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-6. It offers the kind of linear thrust that's almost unheard of in turbocharged engines, offers even...
... better fuel economy, and sounds just like a 911 should. A 7-speed manual is available, but the 7-speed PDK twin-clutch automatic is really the way to go, thanks to its lightning-quick shifts and easy drivability. This year, the standard Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system uses active dampers to both smooth out the ride and tackle corners even harder, without compromising its famous precision. Rear-wheel steering helps to both increase maneuverability in parking lots while improving stability at high speeds. The Sport Chrono package includes a Drive Mode Selector on the steering wheel to select different performance settings. And the 911 Turbo? With an extra 20 horsepower in both models, it's still ungodly fast.
OPTIONS, OPTIONS, OPTIONS
The seemingly endless options list for the Porsche 911 allows you to customize your car to your heart's desire...or wallet's ability. There are performance enhancements like carbon-ceramic brakes, luxury items like the Burmester audio system, and just plain ol' silly stuff like color-keyed seatbelts, dash vents and trim pieces.
PDK TWIN-CLUTCH TRANSMISSION
We're going to argue that the 7-speed PDK transmission is the best automatic made today. The Porsche Doppelkupplung operates like a normal automatic when in D. Shift it to the manual mode or flick the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, and suddenly you're shifting with the lightning speeds of a Formula One racecar.
First noteworthy change for the 2017 911 is an updated infotainment system that's easier to use and offers better connectivity and downloadable apps. There's also a new drive-mode selector on the steering wheel on models with the Sport Chrono package. The front-seat occupants will enjoy the luxury, sophistication and comfort, but rather than torment your passengers, it’s better to fold the rear "seats" to supplement cargo capacity, since the tiny "frunk" holds only 4.7 cubic feet of cargo (4.4 in Carrera 4 and 4S). The 911 R deletes the rear seats, air conditioning and other luxury items to save weight.
The 2017 Porsche 911 gets a revised nose with larger air vents and smaller turn-signal lights. In the rear is a revised bumper and exhaust pipes more centrally located than before. The vents above the rear-mounted engine get a retro touch, with black vertical slats instead of the horizontal openings from last year. Yet despite the differences, including the changes between standard, S, the Targa with its amazingly cool retractable roof, and wide-bodied Turbo, the 911 is as distinctive as ever. The 911 R's distinctive white paint and orange stripe are an homage to the 1967 original.
Along with the new turbocharged engines, every 2017 911 comes with Porsche Active Stability Management suspension. The 911 Carrera and Targa 4 and Turbo models offer all-wheel drive (AWD) as standard fare. There are also eight airbags, a wide array of electronic stability aids, and high-performance brakes comprising 4-piston calipers and 13-inch ventilated rotors. Other standard features include 4-way-power front seats with manual fore/aft adjustment, partial leather upholstery with a faux-suede headliner, xenon headlights for high- and low-beams, dual-zone climate control, new touch-screen LCD infotainment, and a 9-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with USB input and Bluetooth phone connectivity.
It's not possible to get into every option available for the 2017 911. New this year is a rear-wheel steering system that enhances low-speed maneuverability and high-speed stability, and that lifts the nose of the car 40mm to clear low-speed obstacles like steep driveways. Other optional features include multi-adjustable ventilated front seats, 12-speaker Burmester audiophile system, ceramic-composite brakes, Sport Chrono package that includes launch-control programming (PDK transmission only) and overboost function, and Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC), which essentially eliminates body roll through a multitude of sensors and hydraulic motors while also providing a more compliant ride in normal driving conditions.
The 911's classic flat-6 "boxer" engine comes in three sizes, but in different power outputs. 911 S models get more power, while 911 4 models get all-wheel drive, unless it's already standard as it is on the 911 Turbos. It all breaks down like this: 370-horsepower 3.0-liter for Carrera, Carrera 4, Carrera Cabriolet, Carrera 4 Cabriolet, Targa 4; 420-horsepower 3.0-liter for Carrera S, Carrera 4S, Carrera S Cabriolet, Carrera 4S Cabriolet, Targa 4S; 540-horsepower 3.8-liter for 911 Turbo, 911 Turbo Cabriolet; 580-horsepower 3.8-liter for 911 Turbo S, 911 Turbo S Cabriolet; and 500-horsepower 4.0-liter for 911 R and GT3 (2016 model year). The Turbos are all all-wheel drive (AWD), while the 911 R and GT3 are rear-wheel drive (RWD) only. Premium fuel is required for all models.
3.0-liter twin-turbo flat-6 (911 Carrera, Carrera 4, Carrera Cabriolet, Carrera 4 Cabriolet, Targa 4)
370 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
331 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 29/29 mpg (RWD manual, coupe & cabriolet), 22/30 mpg (RWD automatic, coupe), 22/28 mpg (RWD automatic, cabriolet, AWD automatic, Targa), 21/28 mpg (AWD automatic, coupe, cabriolet), 20/28 mpg (AWD automatic, coupe), 19/28 mpg (AWD manual, cabriolet, Targa)
3.0-liter twin-turbo flat-6 (911 Carrera S, Carrera 4S, Carrera S Cabriolet, Carrera 4S Cabriolet, Targa 4S)
420 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
368 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29 mpg (RWD manual coupe); 22/28 mpg (RWD automatic coupe, cabriolet); 21/28 mpg (AWD automatic coupe, cabriolet, Targa) 20/28 mpg (RWD manual cabriolet, AWD manual coupe); 19/28 mpg (AWD manual, coupe, Targa)
4.0-liter flat-6 (911 GT3 RS, 911 R)
500 horsepower @ 8,250 rpm
338 lb-ft of torque @ 6,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 mpg (GT3 RS,) N/A (911 R)
3.8-liter turbocharged flat-6 (911 Turbo, 911 Turbo Cabriolet)
540 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
486 lb-ft of torque @ 1,950-5,000 rpm (523 lb-ft w/overboost)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/24 mpg (AWD automatic, coupe & cabriolet)
3.8-liter turbocharged flat-6 (911 Turbo S, 911 Turbo S Cabriolet)
580 horsepower @ 6,750 rpm
516 lb-ft of torque @ 2,100-4,250 rpm (553 lb-ft w/overboost)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/24 mpg (AWD automatic, coupe & cabriolet)
Starting with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $90,000 for a standard Carrera, and stretching to more than $200,000 for a Turbo S Cabriolet, the 2017 Porsche 911 lineup covers virtually every high-end price point and performance level. And that's before selecting options, which can add tens of thousands of dollars. The upshot is that the 911 competes against just about anything, from a Nissan GT-R to the Jaguar F-Type, Maserati GranTurismo, Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S Coupe and Audi R8...and of course the Chevrolet Corvette. You get more bang for your buck with the $60,000 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and its 707-horsepower supercharged V8, and even the Corvette Z06 is a better value, giving all the performance of a 911 Turbo for half the price. Check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying. It’s also good to know that this automotive icon holds its value well.