Words like “legendary” and “iconic” are thrown around a lot in the auto industry, but in truth there are only a handful of vehicles that really deserve such titles. To judge whether a vehicle is worthy of such plaudits, is a good rule of thumb to check how much the look of it has changed over the years. If a new model still looks a lot like it did decades ago, there’s a pretty good chance it’s earned iconic status.
Just think of the models that might apply to. The Mini, Mustang, Jeep Wrangler, Volkswagen Beetle, and of course, the Porsche 911. But the Porsche 911 is a legend for more reasons than simply the way it looks, so let’s see why the 911 is still such an iconic sports car after more than five decades in production.
The 2019 Porsche 911 doesn’t look anywhere near as much like the VW Beetle as early 911s did, but it’s still instantly identifiable as a Porsche 911. A new model is in the pipeline for next year, but the only question is whether you will be able to tell it apart from the current model. They say you don’t mess with a winning formula, and Porsche has been pretty much sticking to that mantra since 1963 when it brought us the first 911. If you don’t know what a 911 looks like by now, you really should get out more.
The 911 isn’t the sleekest, lowest, widest, or most devastatingly beautiful sports car you can buy today. It isn’t really much of a head-turner if we’re all going to be honest about it. However, anyone who knows even a little bit about cars will instantly know you’re driving a 911, and that probably says as much about the driver as it does about the car. For some, the conservative styling won’t justify the hefty price. But for everyone else, they wouldn’t want the 911 to look any different.
Models and Prices
For a car that is famous for looking like every other 911, there are actually a lot of different models to choose from. The 2019 Porsche 911 is available in base, S, GTS, Turbo, Turbo S, GT3, and GT2 variants, with power ratings ranging from 370 to 690 horsepower.
The most affordable version of the current 911 is the base Carrera, which has a starting MSRP of $91,100. At the other end of the spectrum, a 911 Turbo S Cabriolet will set you back from $203,000, and a 911 GT2 RS starts from $293,200. There are three body styles to choose from, which are the Coupe, the Targa and the Cabriolet.
Every 911 has a flat-six engine under the hood, all variants offer a seven-speed automatic transmission, and most 911s are available with a seven-speed manual. Rear-wheel drive is naturally the standard format, but most models are now also available with all-wheel drive.
The starting point in the base Carrera and Carrera T models is a 370 hp engine that develops 331 lb.-ft. of torque, and that’s good enough to get the 911 from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.0 seconds. Yes, 4.0 seconds is the slowest 0 to 60 mph time offered by the 911. Carrera S models can get their flat-six tuned to produce 420 hp, and with the automatic transmission, it gets the 0-60 mph time down to 3.7 seconds.
As well as an active exhaust (among other things) the Carrera GTS ups the horsepower ante to 450 hp. The Turbo raises the bar to 540 hp, and the Turbo S goes even further to 580 hp. Turbo models are only available with the automatic transmission Porsche calls the PDK, and it helps the 911 reach 60 mph in about three seconds.
That’s not the end of things though. There’s also the GT3 in race-ready or touring forms, and then there’s the GT2 with a 690 hp engine, which is actually a performance bargain at close to $300,000 compared to the hypercars costing millions the Porsche competes against.
You shouldn’t expect Mercedes levels of opulence and luxury inside the Porsche 911, but don’t expect a stripped-down hardcore race-car without modern comforts either. The quality of the materials and build are excellent from the word go, and things get better and better as the price goes up. The interior is still classic 911 though, with a few decidedly retro touches like the dashboard, although even that has been updated with a 4.6-inch digital display.
The rear seats are barely worthy of a mention unless you want to put very small children in them. Or more likely, a couple of grocery bags. The front seats are very comfortable though, and there’s a load of adjustments and climate controls to get the everything just right for both the passenger and driver.
Features and Equipment
Once again, you may be surprised at just how well equipped even the least expensive Porsche 911 is. Base cars come standard with power-adjustable front seats, 19-inch alloy wheels, a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay compatibility, a synthetic suede headliner, and an impressive eight-speaker audio system. From there, if there’s anything else you want for your 911, you can probably have it — apart from a few of the most cutting-edge safety features, that is.
An entry-level 911 coupe equipped with the automatic transmission is rated by the EPA at 22 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg combined, which is pretty good for a car that gets to 60 mph from a standing start in four seconds. That’s as good as it gets though, but are you really going to worry about mileage when you’re driving a 911? We didn’t think so.
- Stunning performance and handling
- Lots of different versions
- Comfortable cabin (as long as there are only two of you)
- A true automotive legend
- Expensive, and can be VERY expensive
- Some advanced safety features lacking
- A replacement generation is in the pipeline
The Last Word
In addition to being an automotive icon, the 2019 Porsche 911 is also a very interesting car. You’ll have to go a long way to find anyone who can or will criticize the way it drives, and rightly so. It’s also relatively good value for money when you compare it to other cars offering similar levels of performance.
The thing is though, you’ll either want one of these or you won’t. For some people, the 911 simply doesn’t look special or exotic enough, especially for the money. For those in the know though, nothing else comes close. Do yourself a favor if you’re still sitting on the fence about the 911, and give one a test drive. You may never feel the same about cars again.