$82,437 - $172,567

2018 Porsche 911 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Porsche 911 was new.


Performance: 9.3

The 2018 Porsche 911 delivers the same tremendous athleticism of previous model years. This luxury sports car gives you a choice of three powerful primary engines (with varying outputs among them), and it’s more than a match for any winding road thanks to its nimble handling and responsive steering.

  • "Its fuel economy is also superior to the competition, thanks to the turbochargers and other underhood tricks. The 911 [Carrera 4S] actually falls short in acceleration and pure power output, outrunning the Jag but losing to the GT-R and AMG GT S." -- CNET (2017)
  • "From its record-setting day at the track to the desert and back … the 2017 Porsche 911 Turbo S is, indeed, the everyday supercar without peer and a worthy guardian of its storied crown." -- Motor Trend (2017)
  • "For 2017, the 911 gets a raft of upgrades, including turbocharged engines across the lineup (except the new GT3-derived 911 R), standard adaptive suspension dampers (PASM), slightly more power for the Turbo and Turbo S, revised exterior styling, a rear-wheel-steering option for the Carrera S …" -- Edmunds (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The standard engine in a 2018 911 is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder. It puts out 370 horsepower in Carrera, Carrera 4, and Targa 4 models. This engine produces a bit more juice – 420 horsepower – in the Carrera S, Carrera 4S, and Targa 4S models. An upgraded version of the same engine produces 450 horsepower and comes in Carrera GTS, Carrera 4 GTS, and Targa GTS models.

Of course, the engine options in Porsche’s most iconic sports car don't stop there. A twin-turbo 3.8-liter six-cylinder that puts out 540 horsepower comes in the 911 Turbo models. The same engine is boosted to 580 horsepower in Turbo S models. The Turbo S Exclusive trim also features the same engine, but it puts out 607 horsepower.

Finally, there’s the 911 GT3, which features a 4.0-liter six-cylinder engine that makes 500 horsepower.

Are you still with us? That’s a lot to digest.

Here’s the skinny: All engine options have plenty of power for any normal driving situation – highway passing, taking off from a stoplight, you name it. The more powerful engines provide better acceleration and a higher overall top speed, but they aren’t necessary unless you plan on taking this car to the track or just really like showing off for the person riding with you.

A seven-speed manual transmission is standard. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (known as the Porsche Doppelkupplung or PDK, if you’re curious) is available. Some trims are only offered with the PDK. Both shift smoothly.

When it comes to the 911’s fuel economy, as is the case with most vehicles, the smaller engine is the most efficient. With the 3.0-liter engine and a manual transmission, the 911 gets 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, according to estimates from Porsche. Those ratings jump to 22/30 mpg city/highway with the PDK, which is probably the best argument for choosing the automatic.

In the 911 Turbo, which features the 3.8-liter engine, Porsche estimates gas mileage to be 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.

  • "Our track results can vouch for the newfound potency and response. It reaches 60 mph in 2.5 seconds (reading that sentence aloud takes 2.5 seconds). It does the 0-100 run in six flat (not bad for a flat-six), and blasts from 0 to 100 mph and back in 9.7 seconds. It almost makes the Porsche's 10.5-second, 131.8-mph quarter-mile time anticlimactic." -- Motor Trend (2017)
  • "Get on the throttle, and this puppy hustles. My tester came with the Sport Chrono Pack, which drops 0-60 down to 3.6 seconds in conjunction with the rapid-fire Porsche Doppelkupplung dual-clutch transmission, but it feels quicker than that. Response from the 420-horsepower, 368-pound-foot, 3.0-liter engine is practically immediate at all speeds above 2,500 rpm." -- CNET (2017)
  • "While acceleration is accompanied by a turbocharged whoosh and pfft, this does not detract from the driving experience. As is expected, the 911 Carrera and more powerful 911 Carrera S respond with alacrity when you apply either the gas or brake pedal. Besides, shouldn't Porschephiles venerate any and all ways by which engineers extract even more performance from a 911?" -- New York Daily News (2017)

Handling and Braking

Rear-wheel drive is standard in the base 911. The 4 and Turbo models come with all-wheel drive. An adaptive suspension (Porsche Active Suspension Management), which adjusts the suspension to match road conditions, is also standard. The available Sport Chrono package lets you choose between different settings that alter driving dynamics to match your preferences.

Regardless of the setup, the 911 delivers exactly the kind of agile handling and sharp steering that make sports cars so much fun to drive. It also features strong brakes, so you needn’t be shy when tackling corners.

  • "That's what Porsche does best; it's why the 911 is such a legend and it's why it'll beat cars around the track with more power: handling prowess. As the roads get more twisted and suicidal, the new 911 seems to get more aggressive. When overdriven, it understeers just a tad on corner entry." -- Autoweek (2017)
  • "In everyday driving, the 2017 Porsche 911 won't be confused with a luxury car, but now that the adaptive PASM suspension comes standard, the car's daily livability is at an all-time high. Forget about comfort and easy-to-drive considerations for a moment, though; you really need to drive the 911 hard to let its decades of high-performance heritage shine through. The steering is quick and precise, and overall you'll feel a nearly unparalleled sense of control and engagement. It works better the harder you drive it, and that kind of magic is hard to resist when you're making a purchasing decision." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "Even if I bit off more than I could chew, the drivetrain and chassis sorted it out. The all-wheel-drive system made me feel like Superman, pulling the car through questionable turns without losing composure. Rear-wheel steering made tight corners even more of a breeze. At low speeds, the rear wheels turn opposite the fronts to reduce the turning radius. At high speeds, it turns with the fronts to improve handling." -- CNET (2017)

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