First Drive: Redesigned 2020 Porsche 911 Proves Its Mettle

This latest version of the iconic sports car is immensely capable and civilized

2020 Porsche 911 front driving

The Porsche 911 is an iconic rear-engined coupe that has dominated race tracks, starred in movies, and inhabited country clubs since 1964. Other than a Jeep Wrangler, there's probably no other currently available car that’s as identifiable. 

The current generation (known as 992 in Porsche parlance) debuted for the 2020 model year. We rented one from Porsche to get a feel for it. This latest 911 Carrera doesn’t stray much from the established format, but it ups the ante on the infotainment system and advanced driving assistance features. The dual-clutch automatic transmission, now standard equipment, moves from a seven-speed to an eight-speed unit. A seven-speed manual transmission can be ordered on the uplevel Carrera S as a no-cost option. (This is the first 911 where a manual is not available on the base model.)

As before, both coupe and convertible body styles are offered, and each can be had with all-wheel drive. And just like every new generation of any Porsche model, the price keeps climbing.

CR has a history of testing the 911 spanning from the 1967 edition through the modern era with 2006 and 2014 vintages. We found previous generations of the 911 to be terrific sports cars that also can serve as decent daily drivers. Historically, it’s a performance car that can corner and brake on a dime, shoot into the horizon with an invigorating bellow, and still ride reasonably comfortably. You also can count on a 911 to provide a token of practicality, decent outward visibility, and palatable fuel economy. 

If you’re a Consumer Reports member, our assessment of the Porsche 911 is available to you here. Given the 911’s low volume and very specific appeal, we don’t plan to buy one and formally put it through our instrumented testing regimen.

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What we rented: 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera
Powertrain: 379-hp, turbocharged 3.0-liter 6-cylinder boxer engine, 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission; rear-wheel drive.
MSRP: $97,400
Options: $4,960 Leather Interior, $2,950 Sport Exhaust System, $2,770 Front Axle Lift System, $2,720 Sport Chrono Package (includes Bose stereo and Lane Keep Assist), $3,470 Adaptive Sport Seats Plus (18-way with memory), $5,380 Premium Package (Keyless entry, Seat Ventilation, Adaptive Cruise Control).
Destination fee: $1,350
Total cost: $121,830

CR’s Take

Driving the 911 is an experience that hits all of your senses. It starts with the signature flat-six engine sound and tingle emanating behind your back. Then it’s the immediate, yet measured, forward thrust. Steering into corners becomes an extension of your forward vision. Pavement undulations get ironed out in a most nonchalant way. The leather seats hold you in place for hours on end, and the interior craftsmanship exudes innate quality. The 911 is the quintessential driving enthusiast’s dream, but some folks might scoff at the engine noise, controls’ learning curve, and scant interior and luggage room.  

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