Porsche 911 Carrera
From its rear-mounted flat-six engine to its otherworldly handling, the Porsche 911 Carrera has preserved the essential elements that made it an icon. Its familiar circular headlights, Coke bottle shape, and sloping rump make it virtually impossible to mistake a 911 for any other sports car. Climb into its perfectly positioned driver’s seat, fire up its powerful and unique-sounding engine, and engage either of its terrific transmissions; Porsche’s legendary 2+2-seater will then proceed to overload you with feedback from its telepathic steering and its peerless performance attributes. It’s offered as a coupe or convertible and with rear- or all-wheel drive. The company’s extensive list of options allows it to be personalized for all tastes. The only knock against the 2021 Porsche 911 is that it’s too expensive for most enthusiasts to own, but it’s still more than worthy of our Editors’ Choice.
Based on our experience with several models, we can confidently recommend the Carrera 4S. The S version’s increased output nets 64 more horses than the standard Carrera, and we’d be happy with either the engaging manual transmission or the snappier PDK dual-clutch automatic. Those who want to enjoy their 911 year-round but have to deal with the slippery conditions associated with winter weather—like us—will appreciate the 4S’s all-wheel-drive system. Unfortunately, it’s a substantial upcharge and no longer brings wider rear fenders, which now appear on all versions. Porsche is known for its à la carte approach to options, which is both a blessing and a curse, because it allows a lot of personalization but can quickly inflate the already-rich bottom line. We’d spring for the Sport Chrono package that adds launch control, additional drive modes, and more. The Sport Seats Plus provide more supportive front buckets, and the Sport package adds desirable performance hardware, specifically a lowered suspension and a louder exhaust system. Our selection of upgrades would conclude with ventilated front-seat cushions, passive entry, heated, multifunction GT steering wheel, and Porsche’s Dynamic Light System Plus that features automatic high-beams and headlights that swivel in the direction the front tires are pointed.
Mounted in the rear of the 911 Carrera is a twin-turbo 3.0-liter flat-six-cylinder engine. The base version has 379 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque; the S model pumps out 443 ponies and 390 lb-ft. While all Carreras have a ridiculously quick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, a sweet seven-speed manual is offered on S models. Both base and S variants come standard with rear-wheel drive, but they can be equipped with all-wheel drive for four-season high-performance driving. We’ve tested the base Carrera as well as several variations of the more powerful Carrera S, which proved its prowess at the racetrack and its incredible traction in adverse weather conditions. No matter the application, every 911 has astonishing acceleration, especially when the gleefully good launch control is utilized. Porsche’s optional sport exhaust system also helps enhance the experience by providing a fuller engine note. Best of all, the 911 is as comfortable as ever and also better to drive. Its steering is communicative and brilliantly direct, and the coupe and convertible have increased cornering grip and stability. The ride quality is surprisingly supple, too, despite the 911’s amazing body control, which allow drivers to seamlessly switch between relaxed and spirited romps.