The rear-engined 911 has always been known for its potent acceleration, razor-sharp handling, and precise, tactile feel. The the current model delivers a near-ideal balance of performance and livability. With its immediate throttle and steering responses, the 911 is as at home on a twisty, two-lane road as on a demanding race track. Yet, it's also quite driver-friendly and easy to live with on a daily basis.
We tested it with a 420-hp, 3.8-liter six-cylinder engine, which has since been replaced with a turbo 3.0-liter Six. Whether its mated to a precise seven-speed manual transmission or the automated manual (PDK), it delivers lightning-quick acceleration. The 911 sprinted from 0-to-60 mph in a brisk, grin-inducing 4.1 seconds, making it one of the quickest car we've ever tested. Yet the power delivery is smooth, gradual, and effortless. Every prod of the gas pedal brings an immediate, yet measured, forward thrust. And the gear ratios are very well matched to the engine's power.
Given the eye-opening performance, fuel economy is commendable at 23 mpg overall on premium fuel. If you spend much time in traffic, consider Porsche's PDK automatic transmission, which is one of the smoothest and most responsive dual-clutch designs we've driven.
With all due respect to the power, the 911's trump card is the handling which is superlative. It corners enthusiastically, with immediate turn-in response. It gobbles up twisty, bumpy roads at speed while remaining tied down and compliant. The steering is well-weighted and provides good feedback.
On the track, the 911 was super-grippy, yet docile and easy to control even at its high cornering limits. It aced our avoidance maneuver. We found the best way to extract performance on the track was by using the Sport Plus mode, which sharpens throttle response and loosens the reins of the stability control. It also adds timely rev matching on downshifts, which works very well.
Inside, you'll find excellent fit and finish. The upright seating position provides good visibility and makes the cabin a relatively comfortable place. Our car's partial-leather power seats were firm and super-supportive, as long as your torso isn't too broad. The controls consist of a sea of buttons, which can be daunting at first, but they're manageable, and the touch screen is close by. Phone pairing is easy. But there were no steering-wheel controls on our 911.
Some inherent drawbacks can't be whitewashed, though. As sports cars go, the 911's ride is tolerable but certainly not plush. The rear-mounted flat-six engine sounds exhilarating, but its close proximity and constant thrum behind your head are omnipresent. Getting in and out of the snug seats won't be easy for everyone. The rear seat is handy in a pinch, but it's tiny. And then there's the price: Our lightly optioned Carrera S rang in at a sobering $110,630.
Still, as a sports car, the 911 is hard to top.