The Porsche 911, one of the world’s most iconic sports cars, was completely redesigned for the 2020 model year. The fresh type 992 chassis retains the familiar rear-engine recipe that allows the German automaker to fit several different turbocharged engines into a variety of body styles. Despite that the 2021 Porsche 911 has one of the most diverse model ranges, every one of its variants is a powerful and extremely nimble sports car — Porsche has not lost focus on its mission.
Porsche made a few changes for the 2021 model year. It debuted the Targa body style and made Comfort Access, its keyless entry function, standard on every model. In addition, the optional Premium Package has been revised with more content, the optional front axle lift system now integrates GPS for ease of use (it memorizes the places where it is needed), and there’s a new exterior color called Python Green. See the 2021 Porsche 911 models for sale near you
What We Like
- One of the most iconic sports cars of all time
- Quicker, better-handling and smoother-riding than ever
- Stability control technology enhances wet safety and performance
- Backed by a half-century of development
- Manual transmission available on S and 4S trims
What We Don’t
- Cost of entry is high, and optional equipment is costly
- Addition of digital instrumentation might turn off some traditionalists
- Rear seats are too small for adults
(A $1,350 destination charge applies to all models.)
The 2021 Porsche 911 is offered with three different 6-cylinder engines that use direct injection and variable valve timing to improve power and efficiency. Every engine is mated to a standard 8-speed dual-clutch Porsche Doppelkupplung automatic gearbox, but the automaker also offers a 7-speed manual gearbox as a no-cost option on many of the models — a rarity these days. Rear-wheel drive is standard on the base and S trims, and all-wheel drive is optional. AWD comes standard on the Turbo S.
The twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat six is used in the standard and S 911 trims, but it’s tuned to deliver two different outputs. Standard 911s are rated at 379 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 331 lb-ft of torque between 1,950 and 5,000 rpm. This is good for an EPA fuel economy rating of 18 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.
S models are rated at 443 hp at 6,500 rpm and 390 lb-ft of torque between 2,300 and 5,000 rpm. Fuel economy is only slightly down, with the least-efficient trim, the 911 Carrera S Cabriolet, earning 18 mpg city/23 mpg hwy. Turbo S models boast a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter flat six rated at 640 hp at 6,750 rpm and 590 lb-ft of torque between 2,500 and 4,000 rpm. This is one of the most powerful engines on the road, yet it still delivers an EPA rating of 15 mpg city/20 mpg hwy.
By comparison, the Jaguar F-Type R AWD Coupe has an EPA rating of 16 mpg city/24 mpg hwy, the Chevrolet Corvette is rated at 15 mpg city/27 mpg hwy, and the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT coupe is rated at 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy.
Standard Features & Options
Porsche offers consumers plenty of choices. For starters, there are three different body styles (coupe, Cabriolet and Targa) and three different trim levels (base, S and Turbo), and most of those choices can be mixed and matched.
Every 911 arrives with full power accessories, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, alloy wheels, multipiston sport brakes and high-performance tires. New for 2021, the automaker has made its Comfort Access keyless entry standard across the entire model range.
The standard Porsche 911 Carrera, with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter engine, has a base price of $99,200. While that squeaks under the psychological barrier of the 6-figure mark, most shoppers spend more than $10,000 on options, which nudges the price well above $100,000. At the other end of the spectrum is the 911 Turbo S Cabriolet, which carries a base price of $216,300. The Turbo S has a larger engine that’s complemented by larger brakes, wide tires and a comprehensive list of no-cost upgrades (e.g., an extensive leather interior package).
Porsche is known for having one of the most comprehensive — and extravagant — options lists in the industry. Common options include the Premium Package, which has been revised to include the Porsche Dynamic Light System, ventilated seats, a surround view system, lane-change assist, power folding mirrors, ambient lighting, a storage package and a Bose surround sound system. The front axle lift option raises the vehicle’s nose so that it can clear steep driveways. It’s been enhanced with a GPS-based memory system for 2021. Other options include the 930 leather package, which features throwback quilted leather, and the Sport Chrono Package, which features a tire temperature display. For people who want to really express themselves with a customized vehicle, Porsche Exclusive offers exterior paint in every color of the rainbow, climate control vents wrapped in leather and a leather-lined trunk.
Every 2021 Porsche 911 is fitted with a comprehensive list of standard safety equipment that includes 2-stage airbags for driver and front passenger. The Porsche Side Impact Protection system includes side-impact protection elements in the doors and curtain and thorax airbags for both front-seat passengers. Warn and brake assist, which is the Porsche’s term for automatic emergency braking, is also standard on every 911. The system is designed to slow the vehicle if there is an obstruction in the way to reduce the severity of a crash.
Optional safety equipment includes lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control.
Behind the Wheel
Drop into the driver’s seat of any Porsche 911 from the past 50 years and you’ll be met with a very familiar view: a driver-focused cockpit with a large analog tachometer front and center. The type 992 is understandably far more digital than analog, but the traditional formula of two fairly upright seats with plentiful legroom up front and two small jump seats (that alternatively fold into a storage shelf) for kids in the back has been retained. Regardless of their physical stature, nearly everyone finds the 911 cabin very comfortable and spacious for two.
Dismiss all of the nonsensical talk about how the engine should never be in the rear of a vehicle, as Porsche has tamed the 911’s once-quirky driving dynamics and made them first-rate. The 911’s steering is nearly perfect, with precision and an ideal balance, and the brakes are confidence-inspiring and strong. The handling is sharp, tenacious and seemingly unflappable. All of this is delivered with a surprisingly supple ride quality. (Every model offers dual-mode dampers so the driver can adjust the suspension.) There’s a bit of road noise from the wide high-performance tires and it rumbles in the cabin, but that’s to be expected in this vehicle category.
All of the turbocharged flat six engines are buttery smooth and spin from idle to redline with minimal turbo lag — power comes immediately and with authority. Passing slower cars is effortless, as the 8-speed PDK automatic gearbox shifts brilliantly. The range-topping Turbo S models, with an astonishing 640 hp, deliver nauseating levels of power, and it makes them some of the fastest vehicles on the road.
Other Cars to Consider
2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT — Engineered and marketed as a direct competitor to the Porsche 911, the AMG GT falls short in performance and in interior space. While the coupe and convertible are beautifully appointed and offer very powerful engines that make beautiful sounds, they lack the agile and sporty driving dynamics of the Porsche.
2021 Jaguar F-Type R AWD Coupe — In the traditional British manner, the Jaguar delivers style and class at the expense of performance. Like the 911, the F-Type is offered with a variety of engines, in coupe and convertible body styles and with a choice between RWD and AWD. It’s a fine grand tourer, but anyone seeking race-bred driving dynamics should look elsewhere.
2021 Chevrolet Corvette — The American automaker debuted its all-new C8 Corvette last year to well-deserved fanfare. The midengine sports car delivers exemplary performance and precise handling. And its naturally aspirated V8 engine — a Corvette tradition — is boisterous and powerful. The 911 might have met a formidable acceleration and handling rival in the new Corvette, but the Porsche still delivers more passenger and cargo space and has a stronger resale value.
Used Porsche 911 — The 911 has admirable resale value, but it still drops about 20% in the first year after sale. Used Porsche 911s are reliable, safe and just as fun to drive as the new models. Plus, the same amount of money that will buy a new 911 Carrera will purchase slightly used 911 Turbo that’s just a few years old.
Used Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 — Any used Corvette is a deal, but the flagship ZR1 is a bargain on the used market. This range-topping model is the pinnacle of the previous-generation C7 Corvette. It’s unbelievably powerful, incredibly agile and nearly without compromise when it comes to sheer performance. While it might be a bit excessive for most people shopping for a basic sports car, true driving enthusiasts will find a used late-model ZR1 without many peers.
Questions You Might Ask
How much is a 2021 Porsche 911 Carrera?
The 2021 Porsche 911 is priced at $99,200 for the Carrera coupe, $112,000 for the 911 Carerra Cabriolet and $115,100 for the 911 Carrera S coupe. The price climbs to $106,500 for the 911 Carrera 4 coupe, $119,300 for the 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet, $122,400 for the 911 Carrera 4S coupe and $135,200 for the 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet. The flagship 911 Turbo S coupe is $203,500, and the 911 Turbo S Cabriolet is $216,300. The new-for-2021 911 Targa 4 is $119,300, and the 911 Targa 4S is 135,200. A $1,350 destination charge applies to all models.
How fast is the 2021 Porsche 911 Carrera?
The entry-level 2021 Porsche 911 Carrera can launch to 60 mph in 4 seconds flat, or 3.8 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package-enabled launch control, while the 911 S model hits 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, or 3.3 seconds with Sport Chrono. The 911 4S can do the sprint in as little as 3.2 seconds. The top speed for current Porsche 911s ranges from 180 mph to 191 mph.
What cars compete against the 2021 Porsche 911 Carrera?
The classic rivalry between the 911 and the Corvette just got a boost from Chevrolet’s new eighth-generation Vette, which switches to a midengine configuration and is downright affordable, priced about $40,000 less than the least expensive 911. Other foes include the comparably priced Acura NSX, the Aston Martin Vantage, the Audi R8, the BMW M8, the Nissan GT-R and the Mercedes-AMG GT Coupe.
Why is the 2021 Porsche 911 so expensive?
It’s no accident that Porsche is among the world’s most profitable car companies — the Stuttgart-based company has cultivated an air of desire and aspiration around their cars, and the 911, first introduced in 1963, serves as the halo model in the lineup. That inherent desirability means that buyers are willing to spend more — not just for the car, but for its optional features, which can quickly elevate a 911’s price. On that same note, Porsche 911s have traditionally held very strong resale values, with some low-volume trims even appreciating in value.
It’s hard not to be impressed with the Porsche 911. The iconic 2-door remains the sports car benchmark that automakers attempt to emulate. Gone are the spartan interior and quirky handling that represented the 911s from decades ago — the 2021 model is beautifully appointed, safe and effortless to drive.
The 2021 Porsche 911 is a great car for anyone who appreciates premium engineering, timeless styling and an engaging driving experience. Find a Porsche 911 for sale