From its rear-mounted flat-six engine to its otherworldly handling, the Porsche 911 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 list.
What’s New for 2021?
For 2021, Porsche makes a handful of small changes to the 911. The flashiest update is the newly introduced Python Green paint. The standard 911 also inherits options from the pricier and more powerful Turbo and Turbo S variants. These include the 930 Leather package that spruces up the interior as well as lightweight insulated glass that both saves weight and reduces noise. Porsche also gifts the 2021 911 with programmable GPS capability for the optional front-axle lift system that knows when to raise the nose at specific locations. Those who opt for the Sport Chrono package will now receive a digital tire-temperature display that appears in the gauge cluster.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
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 sports 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 allows drivers to seamlessly switch between relaxed and spirited romps.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates for the 992-generation dropped dramatically compared to the previous models. We’ll start with the automatics: Both the rear-drive 911 Carrera and Carrera S and the all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 (including the convertible versions) are rated at 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. Step up to the more powerful Carrera 4S and its ratings drop to 18 cities and 23 highways. Manual-transmission variants are rated a single mpg lower on the city figures and one higher on the highway. On our 200-mile highway route that simulates real-world fuel economy, an automatic-equipped Carrera S averaged 30 mpg—exceeding its now-lower EPA highway rating by an impressive 6 mpg, but about the same as we achieved with the previous-generation 911.