There may not a more iconic sports car than the Porsche 911. Its famous teardrop silhouette has remained unbroken through the years, coming to define not only the model, but the brand itself. That continuity can be seen in the eighth generation of Porsche's prima donna, which debuts alongside the full roster of the existing generation.
What's New for 2019
Technically, the 2019 911 (coded 992 in Porsche-speak) is all-new. But these models won't be arriving at dealers until sometime in mid 2019, so Porsche has seen fit to continue offering the receding generation until production of the new version ramps up sufficiently. If the 911 of your dreams needs to be burlier than the Carrera S, plan on buying one soon. Once the old generation (coded 991) is gone, it'll be some time before the 992 spawns any hair-raising models like the current GT3 and GT2 RS.
Speaking of hair-raising, the 991's final salvo looks to be the new GT3 RS. This track-day special runs a naturally-aspirated 4.0-liter flat six and is the third-fastest production car to ever lap Germany's famous Nurburgring circuit.
Choosing Your Porsche 911
Most cars offer some degree of variety and options when you spec them out. Maybe it's an optional powertrain or two, or perhaps a convertible variant, or possibly some options that allow for a semblance of personalization. The 911 offers all of this and then some. The staggering variety of 911 trims (25 for 2019) and options (innumerable) would impress even the census bureau.
In the venerable 991 generation, the range spans from the humble Carerra to the scintillating GT2 RS. In between, take your pick from the T, S, 4S, Targa, GTS, Turbo, GT3, and GT3 RS. For added confusion, each of these can be further distilled into another layer of nuanced specificity. With the new 992, the model range has yet to grow beyond the Carrera S.
The 992 cars continue the 911's long-standing tradition of using a flat-six engine layout mounted just aft of the rear bumper. As with the 991, this engine displaces 3.0 liters and uses two turbochargers to boost power output, though in this guise it has undergone extensive reengineering in the quest for more power and ability. With new turbos, a redesigned cooling system, and an improved fuel injection process, the engines now make 443 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. All come paired with Porsche's PDK eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission; there's no word yet on whether a manual will eventually return to the lineup.
As for the older 991 cars, all utilize a boxer-style six-cylinder engine. Carrera, T, and Targa models use a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged version that makes a maximum of 370 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque. S variants make 420 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed manual transmission comes standard, and the PDK unit is a $3,210 option.
The GTS shares the same displacement and turbo count but has been worked over more thoroughly, raising horsepower count to 450 and dropping zero-to-60 mph times to a scant 3.5 seconds when equipped with the Sport Chrono Package and the PDK transmission. Top speed is an autobahn-ready 193 mph.
Turbo models bump displacement to 3.8 liters, resulting in 540 hp and 523 lb-ft of torque. The primordial GT3 and GT2 RS models upsize the engine to a full 4.0 liters; the GT3 makes do with 500 naturally-aspirated hp while the twin-turbo GT2 RS leaves 700 horses at the command of
the driver's right foot. These machines will rip and snort to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds (GT3) or 2.7 seconds (GT2 RS).
The sheer volume of 911 trim levels and chargeable extras makes an all-encompassing guide an unrealistic proposition; the result would be book-length rather than anything digestible in a sitting. The following information is therefore purposely excluding certain available options. What remains is hopefully that which buyers will find most worthwhile. For further detail, spend a weekend with the Porsche online configurator.
There's enough options and choices here to make even Porsche fans dizzy. The best way to narrow down what you want from the 2019 Porsche 911 is to first consider your budget and body style, and then perhaps whether you want rear- or all-wheel drive. These broader selections will make it much easier to determine which model is right for you.