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2018 Porsche 911: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2018

As a performance car, the 2018 Porsche 911 offers a staggering array of models and options, allowing well-off purists the ability to tailor the perfect sports car. Coveted for its performance abilities, styling and sheer driving pleasure, the Porsche 911 truly has no equal. The most basic 911, and its open-air sidekicks, the Cabriolet and Targa, run the gamut from puritan performance machine to flamboyant exotic with a price tag to match. For 2018, the lineup grows even larger, with more options, colors and wheel choices.

What's New for 2018?

Three new models join a 911 lineup already bursting at the seams. The 911 Carrera T is aimed at enthusiasts who want less weight and more performance, while the GT3 Touring is a modified GT3 offered only with a manual transmission. Lastly, the new flagship for the 911 fleet is the 700-horsepower GT2 RS. A new Performance pack is offered for the S model that, among other improvements, bumps up output by 30 hp. Lastly, the entire suite of Porsche Connect services is now being offered on all models.

What We Like

Raw sporting ability; luxurious interior; classic 911 profile; extensive dealer network

What We Don't

Expensive; costly options; impractical back seats; relatively common

How Much?

$92,150-$220,000

Fuel Economy

The entry-level 911 comes with a 3.0-liter horizontally opposed twin-turbocharged 6-cylinder engine that's good for 370 horsepower. The 911 S has the same engine but tuned for more power, with 420 hp, while the GTS version puts out 450 hp. In the 911 R, displacement sits at 4.0 liters and hp moves to 500. A 7-speed manual transmission comes standard in 911 and 911 S cars, and the PDK dual-clutch automatic is optional. The 911 R uses a 6-speed manual.

We're not sure how often shoppers in this segment seriously consider fuel economy, but the 911 receives middling-to-decent figures. The base 911 Carrera and Carrera S with the PDK transmission are rated at 20 miles per gallon in the city and 30-28 mpg on the highway. The foul-weather-friendly Carrera 4 and 4S models are rated at 21 mpg city/28 mpg hwy. The 4 GTS earns a slightly lower 18 mpg city/26 mpg hwy with the manual and 20 mpg city/26 mpg hwy with the PDK. The 911 R with a 6-speed manual has not yet been rated by the EPA.

Turbo models send the fury of a 540-hp twin-turbocharged horizontally opposed 3.8-liter 6-cylinder engine to all four wheels, with Turbo S models doing the same with an even more powerful 580-hp version of the same engine. Fuel economy drops as low as 19 mpg city/24 mpg hwy for the Turbo S. However, most people capable of affording a 911 probably won't mind paying for extra fuel. The GT3 features a 4.0-liter flat six at 500 horsepower, while the new GT2 RS develops 700 horsepower from the Turbo's 3.8-liter engine.

Standard Features & Options

The 2018 Porsche 911 comes in 23 trims: Carrera, Carrera S, Carrera T, Carrera Cabriolet, Carrera S Cabriolet, Carrera 4, Carrera 4S, Carrera 4 Cabriolet, Targa 4, Targa 4S, Carrera 4S Cabriolet, GTS, GTS Cabriolet, 4 GTS , 4 GTS Cabriolet, Targa 4 GTS, 911 GT3, 911 GTE Touring, GT2 RS, Turbo, Turbo S, Turbo Cabriolet and Turbo S Cabriolet.

Most of the differences among the models reside in their performance, as opposed to their standard and optional equipment. Porsche provides an almost unlimited number of customization options, and many of them add tens of thousands of dollars to the bottom line.

The 911 Carrera ($92,150; $104,450, Cabriolet) has standard Bluetooth, navigation, rain-sensing wipers, HomeLink, iPod integration, power windows, dual-zone climate control, 19-inch wheels, PASM, cruise control, heated side mirrors and keyless entry.

The Carrera 4 ($99,050; $111,350, Cabriolet) is similarly equipped to the Carrera but adds all-wheel drive.

The Carrera S ($106,150; $118,450, Cabriolet) adds a more powerful 420-hp engine, 20-in wheels, adaptive dampers and a torque-vectoring rear differential.

The Carrera 4S ($113,050; $125,350, Cabriolet) is similarly equipped to the Carrera S but with all-wheel drive.

The Carrera T ($103,150) adds a stiffer chassis and suspension, less weight and several performance upgrades

The Carrera Targa 4 ($111,350) adds all-wheel drive and a targa roof.

The Carrera Targa 4S ($125,350) adds a more powerful engine.

The Carrera GTS ($121,750; $134,050, Cabriolet) adds the Sport Chrono package, the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) active damper suspension, bi-xenon headlights, the Porsche Dynamic Light System and a sport exhaust.

The Carrera 4 GTS ($128,650; $140,950, Cabriolet) is the same as the GTS but with all-wheel drive.

The Carrera Targa 4 GTS ($140,950) adds a removable targa-top roof panel.

The 911 GT3 ($144,650) adds a 500-hp engine and special track tuning for the suspension and steering.

The 911 Turbo ($162,850; $175,150, Cabriolet) offers 540 hp, all-wheel drive, rear-wheel steering, unique body and trim pieces, Bose audio and HID headlights.

The 911 Turbo S ($191,750; $204,050, Cabriolet) is the ultimate Porsche, adding 580 hp and more standard features.

The 911 GT2 RS ($294,250) is the ultimate 911, with a 700 hp engine and track-ready enhancements.

Many of the standard features on the upper trims are optional on the lower ones. Porsche 911 options include ceramic-composite brakes, a carbon-fiber interior, an upgraded leather interior and dashboard, vent surrounds and door panels, adaptive cruise control, active suspension management, a heated steering wheel, adaptive sport bucket seats with natural leather, heated and ventilated front seats, a power moonroof (glass) or sunroof (metal), the upgraded Sport Chrono package and more.

Safety

With its nearly useless back seat, the safety features in the 911 focus on the driver and front-seat passenger. Both passengers have full-size head, knee and side airbags, as well as side-curtain airbags.

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the federal government has crash-tested the 2018 Porsche 911.

Behind the Wheel

Everything about driving the Porsche 911 makes you feel like a rock star. No matter how you equip it, the car is an absolute thrill to drive, with its aggressive power delivery and ultra-tight handling. Steering is also among the most direct we've ever experienced, despite Porsche's inclusion of an electrically assisted steering system. Inside, the cabin is comfortable and easy to navigate, and the car is intuitive to maneuver on enthusiastic drives. Whether you're looking for a comfortable cruiser, an exciting weekend warrior or a dedicated track toy, the 911 works as a one-size-fits-all solution -- that's if you have the budget, of course.

The only downside we see to driving a 911 is that the car feels larger and heavier than we expected. Porsche should be synonymous with small and light, but the 911 is neither.

Again, this all comes down to personal taste. If you're in the market for a scaled-down racer, it may be worth looking at the 718 Cayman S or 718 Boxster S. But if owning "the" Porsche is on your bucket list, the 911 is an easy choice.

Other Cars to Consider

2018 Jaguar F-TYPE -- The F-TYPE offers a supercharged V8 with 575 hp for just over $100,000. There's a convertible model, too.

2018 Audi R8 -- Audi's V10-powered R8 costs about as much as a well-equipped 911 S, and it's just as athletic, too. Plus, the R8 has the exclusive appeal of much more expensive exotic cars.

2018 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 -- The 650-horsepower Z06 delivers more muscle than the most powerful 911 and more thrills than base models, and does so for a lot less money. It's a performance bargain.

Used Aston Martin DB9 -- A previously owned 2012-2014 Aston Martin DB9 offers a thrilling ride and a bit more exclusivity than the 911 for about the same price.

Autotrader's Advice

The sweet spot is the 911 Carrera S Cabriolet. With its 420 hp, legitimately premium interior and open-air experience, it's sure to give you a rush when you gun the accelerator, as well as delivering a generally pleasant ride for longer trips. The only consideration here is price, because with a starting price of around $118,000 and options that can push it well over $130,000, there are several interesting alternatives available. For the Porsche faithful, it's a slam dunk.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Porsche 911: New Car Review - Autotrader