The Porsche 911 has been around for decades, it’s almost 60 years old, but it’s no doddering pensioner. Porsche has spent all that time honing and developing the 911 to make it tougher, faster, more usable and still, somehow, even more exciting to drive.
It’s weird, the Porsche 911. Rather than having its engine at the front, or in the middle, it’s like no other current sports car and has its motor right at the back. This unique layout, and Porsche’s desire to make the car aerodynamic, has dictated the 911’s strange rear-heavy profile. And it’s why, over its long lifetime of eight generations, it still looks similar to the day it was launched – distinctly like a Porsche 911.
Its low, engine-less nose and round headlights are also trademark 911 attributes, but as it is Porsche’s defining flagship model, these features have been adopted by the rest of the brand’s models so the entire range gets a sliver of that iconic Porsche look. Nothing else has that 911 silhouette, though.
Nothing else has that 911 silhouette, though.
What’s it like to drive?
As usable, reliable and dependable as the 911 is, it’s designed to be an excellent car to drive. After all, it’s the car that helped Porsche to develop its reputation as one of the greatest sports car manufacturers.
Along with sophisticated electronic driving aids Porsche has engineered its definitive sports car to be stable and secure, even at an accelerated pace.
What’s even more impressive is that plenty of the 911's old-school character is apparent when you’re behind the wheel. It can initially feel odd, sensing the engine's weight at the back of the car, but the confidence you get from the controls means that, in no time, you’re piloting it like a 911 expert, revelling in its performance, noise and finely-tuned attitude.
What’s even more impressive is that plenty of the 911's old-school character is apparent when you’re behind the wheel.
Despite its unlikely engine position and sports car status, there’s absolutely nothing wild or outrageous about the 911’s interior. You might call it dull, even. Except that, it’s so logical, so well-screwed together and beautifully simple that, actually, you have to respect it.
Its steering wheel is perfectly round, no fashionable race car-style flat edges to be seen. It's often completely clear of buttons too, but if there are any toggles and switches on the spokes they're kept well away from the rim so you'll never accidentally press one. Also, the dials include a large, central rev counter, the only gauge you need to be focussing on when you want to buzz down your favourite B-road.
Unlike most other high-end driver-focussed sports cars, the 911 has four seats. The two rear ones are narrow with very little head or legroom, but kids and teenagers can squeeze into them. Plus, as the seats are closer to the back, and therefore near the 911's powertrain, back passengers can be entertained by the noise of the engine.
Thankfully, there's much more room in the front, more than enough for two adults. Not only is it spacious with plenty of adjustment so it's easy to get comfortable, but the 911 can also be equipped with all the extras you'd expect in a luxury car – sat nav, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, heated seats, the lot.
You don't buy a sports car for its practicality. Yet, although you won't be able to replace your family hatchback with a 911 and expect it to be just as useful, even if the Porsche does have four seats, you'll be surprised at just how spacious this slinky sports car can be.
With no engine in the front, the luggage compartment in the nose is deep and useful – big enough for a medium-sized suitcase. The back of the rear seats can be folded too, this creates another space for bags or a set of golf clubs.
Running costs and reliability
The Porsche 911 is, and this will come as no surprise, a costly car to run. It averages less than 30mpg, its tyres require a lot of money to replace, servicing is expensive, all models are in the higher insurance brackets and it isn't cheap to tax.
Yet, it can still be considered good value. Not only do you get one of the best drivers’ cars for all that money, and some incredible performance too, the 911 is reliable and holds its price well.
What cinch loves
Those tiny little jump seats in the back of the Porsche 911 put this car in a special position. It makes it the sort of car you can buy responsibly, or at least that's what you can tell people – it's a four-seater so everyone can enjoy it.
Yet, when you're all alone and you have a clear road ahead of you, that's when the 911 really impresses, when it makes the most makes sense, when it's the most fun.
Still looking for the one?
Use our comparison tool to find the car for you
If you like the Porsche 911...
To find a Porsche 911 rival, another sports car that provides the same level of performance with four seats, you have to look at bigger cars. The Nissan GT-R, the BMW M4, M6 and M8, and the C63 Coupé from Mercedes-AMG are contenders, but not quite as nimble.
If the 911's rear seats are a luxury you don't need, the Aston Martin Vantage, Audi R8, McLaren 540C and Mercedes-AMG GT are considerably closer to the Porsche's standards. Use our Help Me Choose tool if you still can't decide.
Town and country drivers
The Porsche 911 has been designed to do it all. Well, at least within the confines of being a sports car. It's comfortable, luxurious and big enough to be a long-distance cruiser, it has four seats and can occasionally pass as a family car. What it does best, however, is exactly what you really need from a performance car – it's sublime when you're at the wheel and driving just for the sake of it.
This review was