For more than half a century, the Porsche 911 has been considered a paragon among high-performance sports cars. Few rivals can match the German automaker’s combination of intensely iconic design and stirring performance. Just about every year lately, Porsche has added new versions of the 911, and 2017 brings one more to the already lengthy trim-level list.
2017 Porsche 911 Overview
What's New for 2017
A new twin-turbo 3-liter flat-six engine goes into 911 Carrera and Targa models, generating 370 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque (an increase of 20 hp and 44 pound-feet). Carrera S models get a 420-horsepower version.
Brakes and suspensions have been upgraded. Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) adaptive dampers now are standard on Carrera and Targa versions. A new infotainment system provides Apple Car Play and Google Street View, as well as real-time traffic information. Body freshening includes a new decklid with vertical louvers. Navigation is now standard. The Carrera S may now be equipped with rear-axle steering.
After adding the GT3 RS and Targa 4 GTS last year, Porsche introduced a new 911 R at the New York Auto Show in March 2016. The 911 R contains a naturally-aspirated, rear-mounted 4-liter engine that generates 500 horsepower.
Choosing Your Porsche 911
With so many enticing Porsche possibilities, selecting a new 911 can be a daunting chore. Each 911 model is unique, whether due to distinct engine upgrades or subtle trim refinements. Every 911 delivers what sports-car enthusiasts crave, in both appearance and performance. So, the buying decision boils down to the amount of power you desire, whether to get rear-drive or all-wheel drive, and how much you can afford to pay.
911 Carrera Models
The “entry level” route to the 911 family is the Carrera line. Each model in the lineup provides a progressive increase in power and refinement. Each is available as either a coupe or a convertible (Cabriolet).
Priced at $89,400 in coupe form ($101,700 for the Cabriolet), the base 911 Carrera has rear-wheel drive. The new rear-mounted 3-liter, twin-turbo flat-six engine sends 370 horsepower to a seven-speed manual transmission. Included are a SPORT button, four-way power seats, a 7-inch touchscreen, dual-zone air conditioning, nine-speaker audio, Bluetooth capability, and bi-xenon headlights. Options include a seven-speed PDK automated-manual transmission, Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus, 14- or 18-way power seats, Burmester or Bose audio systems, and adaptive cruise control.
In addition to adding all-wheel drive and Porsche Traction Management, the Carrera 4 increases body width by 1.7 inches, creating a wider, lower platform.
The 911 Carrera S gets a 420-horsepower version of the new twin-turbo, 3-liter flat-six engine, with rear-wheel drive and a seven-speed manual transmission. Added to the Carrera’s features are Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (for increased steering response and precision) and active suspension management.
Blends the performance equipment of the S with the larger body size of the Carrera 4, while adding all-wheel drive.
The GTS pushes performance up another notch, courtesy of its 430-horsepower engine and PDK transmission. A Sport Chrono package is included, and active dampers yield a lower ride height.
Carrera 4 GTS
Equipped with all-wheel drive, the 4 GTS also unleashes Porsche’s 430-horsepower engine.
911 Targa 4 and Targa 4S Models
With the Targa 4 and Targa 4S, Porsche resurrected the classic sculptured Targa roof design, which hadn’t been available on a 911 since the 1980s.
Starting with the standard Carrera features, the Targa 4 coupe adds a fixed, all-glass rear windscreen and park assist.
Takes the features and engine of the Carrera S and adds the fixed, all-glass rear windscreen, plus park assist.
Targa 4 GTS
Targa-roofed version of the GTS has all-wheel drive and the 430-horsepower engine.
911 Turbo and Turbo S Models
If you like the Carrera S but crave even greater power, consider the Turbo editions. Both are available as a coupe or convertible.
For $159,200, Porsche gives the 911 Turbo a turbocharged 3.8-liter six-cylinder engine, with the PDK transmission. Output has grown from 520 to 540 horsepower. In addition to all-wheel drive, the Turbo features rear-axle steering, traction management, a VarioCam Plus system, Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus, and a rear spoiler. Also standard: a 12-speaker Bose audio system and park assist.
Adds a variation of the 3.8-liter engine that achieves 580 horsepower. In Cabriolet guise, the Turbo S is the price leader of the regular 911 line, at $200,400.
911 GT3 and GT3 RS
Designed for the race track, the GT3 is a rear-drive two-seater with a 475-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 engine. Its PDK transmission is tuned specifically to the GT3 and rear-axle steering. The GT3 RS “breaks boundaries,” according to Porsche, with a 500-horsepower engine and PDK transmission, able to reach 60 mph in a mere 3.1 seconds. Among the details, front wheel arches hold 12-slat air outlets.
Latest member of the 911 family is the limited-production R edition, recalling a road-homologated racecar of the 1960s. Unleashing a 500-horsepower 4-liter four-cylinder engine, the 911 R is the lightest-weight 911 model, at 3,021 pounds. Only 991 units are to be produced.
With so many tantalizing 911 choices to ponder, it would be easy to spend far more than intended. Our recommendation: think carefully. Don't lose sight of your true priorities, and adjust your outlay accordingly. After all, each 911 ranks among the most legendary sports cars in the world.