Used Porsche 911 (2012-2019)

Fast, fun and easy to live with, the Porsche 911 is the most complete sportscar money can buy. It’s not cheap to run, though.

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Incredible performance
Great to drive
Surprisingly practical

Weaknesses 

Expensive to run
Tall gearing blunts acceleration of early cars
Used values still high
Porsche 911 prices from £48,400  Finance from £396 per month

The Porsche 911 is the ultimate sportscar, effortlessly blending high performance and fun driving dynamics with everyday civility and usability.

Known to hardcore fans by its Porsche codename of 991, it was replaced at the beginning of 2019 by the all-new 992 series 911. Yet even in the twilight of its life the 911 remained at the very top of its game, always managing to stay just one step ahead of the competition, which included everything from coupes like the Lexus RC500, through to super sportscars like the Audi R8, Jaguar F-Type and Aston Martin Vantage.

A big part of the Porsche 911’s immense appeal is how easy it was to live with. By sticking with the brand’s fifty year old tradition of placing the car’s six-cylinder engine at the back, behind the rear axle the 911 is extremely well packaged. Unlike many rivals it has a pair of rear seats, which while extremely small will easily accommodate small children. You can even squeeze in flexible adults, although only for short trips.

If you don’t need the rear seats then they can be folded flat to create a large and flat load area. Combine that with the 145-litre boot in the nose and you have 340-litres of capacity to play with - an Audi R8 can only manage 112-litres.

Another advantage of the Porsche 911’s mechanical layout is excellent visibility. Wth the engine mounted low at the rear and an upright windscreen the Porsche is as easy to see out of as family hatchback. Mid-engined models like the Audi R8 deliver a letterbox view to the rear and large over the shoulder blind spots.

The driving environment is spot-on too, with low slung seating and perfectly placed controls. And with a wide range of seat adjustment it’s a doddle to get comfortable, even for taller drivers who will find plenty of head and legroom. The dashboard is also well laid out with the traditional Porsche five dial display. Ahead of the driver is rev counter placed, while the either side are the minor dials (two analogue and two digital screens).

The quality of the fit and finish is first rate, with top notch materials used throughout. Even entry-level Carrera models get half leather trim, while many examples have the optional extended leather package that covers the dashboard and doors. There’s decent standard kit too, although early cars didn’t get standard parking sensors, cruise control or Bluetooth, so check any purchase has these.

The pre-2016 facelift cars also had an inferior entertainment system. It’s easy enough to use, but the touchscreen is smaller with less slick graphics, plus is lacks Apple Car Play and Android Auto.

Also missing is the latest generation of autonomous safety kit. In fact, apart from the optional adaptive cruise control the Porsche 911 has none of the kit you’d expect on a mid-sped Ford Focus. StIll, there’s a sophisticated three-stage adaptive damping system, six airbags and a strong crash structure. More importantly Porsche models have some of the best brakes in the business, delivering powerful and fade-free stopping. Few cars can come to a halt quicker than a Porsche 911.

To drive the Porsche is simply sensational. There are a wide variety of engines to choose from, but even the lowest powered units deliver strong performance, while the suspension of each model varies - from fairly comfortable in the Carrera to bone-shaking but exhilarating in the GT3. Yet whichever model you choose you get the same incredibly precise and communicative steering and impressive grip and agility. Factor in the relatively compact external dimensions and the Porsche 911 can be driven swiftly and safely on most twisting roads.

Yet the 911’s party trick is that it combines this fun side with some grown-up sensibility. Not only is it easy to see out of, it’s also remarkably comfortable, especially with the suspension’s adjustable adaptive dampers in their softest setting. Only some road roar from the wide tyres disrupts the otherwise calm cabin on long journeys.

Last Updated 

Friday, May 31, 2019 - 23:30

Key facts 

Warranty: 
3 years / unlimited miles
Boot size: 
115 litres
Width: 
1808 - 1880mm
Length: 
4491 - 4557 mm
Height: 
1303 - 1297mm
Tax: 
£145 - £570

Best Porsche 911 for... 

Porsche 911 Carrera
No 911 is a cheap to run, but post 2015 turbocharged Carrera is more efficient than you’d think. When fitted with the PDK auto gearbox it manages a claimed 38.2mpg
Porsche 911 Carrera 4
2015 on 911 Carrera is quick and capable, while four-wheel drive adds security. Like most 911s it gets small rear seats and useful boot. Best for performance
Porsche 911 Turbo S
Hardcore GT3 and GT2 models have ultimate track performance, but the Turbo S remains king of the road with 2.9 seconds 0-62mph time and 205mph top speed. Yet it’s as easy to live with as a Carrera
Porsche 911 Carrera T
Meant as ‘back-to-basics’ machine it cost a lot more than the standard Carrera, yet was no quicker and came with less kit

Porsche 911 History 

Mar 2011: New Porsche 911 (known also as the 991 series) revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in Carrera and Carrera S guises
Nov 2011: Cabriolet versions of the Carrera and Carrera S join the line-up
Sep 2012: Four-wheel drive is available throughout the range
Mar 2013: Motorsport inspired GT3 is launched, but in limited numbers
May 2013: Extremely high performance Turbo and Turbo S are added to range
Nov 2013: Cabriolet body is added to the Turbo and Turbo S
Jan 2014: Targa bodystyle is launched and is available in Carrera and Carrera S trim
Nov 2014: Carrera GTS is unveiled with option of two or four-wheel drive
Jan 2015: Targa bodystyle now available with GTS trim
March 2015: Even more focused and track biased GT3 RS arrives. Again production numbers are limited
Dec 2015: Facelifted 911 (991.2) is launched, with Carrera and Carrera S models getting turbocharged engines
Mar 2016: Exclusive 911R is launched. Features GT3 RS mechanical components in smaller, de-winged body
Oct 2016: Upgraded Turbo and Turbo S are launched
Jan 2017: Improved GTS arrives powered by new turbocharged engine
May 2017: Limited edition GT3 launched, now with the option of manual gearbox and Touring Pack
Oct 2017: Stripped out 911 Carrera T is launched
Nov 2017: Hugely powerful and track focused GT2 RS arrives. Limited production.
Apr 2018: Final iteration of GT3 RS is launched
Jan 2019: All-new 911 (992) is revealed
Mar 2019: GT3-based 911 Speedster is unveiled as last-of-the-line limited edition

Understanding Porsche 911 car names 

  • 911
  • Carrera
    Trim
  • 4S
    Engine
  • Targa
    Body
  • PDK
    Gearbox
  • Carrera
    The 911 starts with Carrera then moves through Carrera S, GTS and Turbo models, all of which get more power and equipment. Carrera T, GT3 and GT2 models focus on outright performance and therefore are less luxuriously trimmed despite high prices.
  • 4S
    There’s no engine badging on a 911, but you can roughly ascertain the performance in the range. Carrera is least powerful, S offers more potent engine and the GTS even more power. Turbos are the quickest of the lot. All engines are famed ‘boxer’ flat-six in various sizes and states of tune. The number ‘4’ deontes the car has four-wheel drive, expect on the Turbo models, which are four-wheel drive only.
  • Targa
    Standard body style is two-door coupe, plus there’s also and open-topped Cabriolet. Targa bridges the gap between the two with what is effectively a solid roof panel that can be folded out of sight.
  • PDK
    There’s two gearbox options, both seven-speed. The most popular is the twin-clutch PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplung, no less) automatic, but keen drivers will appreciate the manual transmission option.

Porsche 911 Engines 

Petrol: Carrera, Carrera S, Carrera T, R, GTS, GT3, GT3 RS, GT2 RS, Turbo, Turbo S

At a glance the Porsche 911 engine line-up looks just a little perplexing, but closer inspection reveals it be a little more straightforward than it looks.

Regardless of which model you choose you’ll get a version of Porsche’s famed flat-six engine mounted in the rear of the car - a tradition that’s been over a half a century in the making. In all its forms it’s a hugely characterful motor, and its howling note when working hard is a big part of the Porsche 911’s appeal.

Let’s start with the Carrera. Early versions got a naturally aspirated 3.4-litre that developed a healthy looking 345bhp. However, with a combination of peak torque delivered very high at over 5,000rpm and tall gearing it makes accessing the car’s performance potential a bit of a faff. It wasn’t slow, but unless you’re willing to work the gearbox hard it lacks the instant response you crave from a sportscar.

Matters improved hugely when the 2016 facelift cars arrived with their smaller but turbocharged 3.0-litre engines. With much more torque available from as little as 2000rpm this Carrera is seriously quick, with bags of overtaking pace. This is the engine that featured in the 911 T, albeit with shorter gearing for fractionally improved response. In either application it doesn’t sound quite as sweet as the early cars, but we’re picking hairs here.

The same situation occurred with the Carrera S, but with the exception that the early cars’ 3.8-litre engine feels more muscular from the outside. It still needs revving hard to give its best, but there’s more torque when you need it when taking it steadier. Of course, the 2016 on turbocharged cars are even quicker, delivering near Turbo levels of performance.

In the real world there’s not much to separate the Carrera S and GTS in terms of performance, as the latter featured a mildly tuned (an extra 30hp) version of the former’s engine. It revs a little higher and the sports exhaust gives it a lounder bark, but in truth the GTS’s appeal is in its sharper handling rather than its straightline urge.

The Turbo models are the performance high watermark for the Porsche 911. Both the Turbo and the Turbo S feature twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre engines with in excess of 500hp. With standard four-wheel drive and launch control-equipped PDK they are some of the fastest cars in the world off the line, with  both capable of the 0-62mph sprint in under three seconds (Auto Express has timed both cars from 0-60mph in 2.8 seconds!).

Given it’s as much as high speed express as super sportscar, the 911 Turbo engine is a little more muted than the others, but only fractionally so. Yet it still revs with the same smoothness and eagerness as the smaller units. The Turbo S has the ultimate bar room bragging rights, but in reality there’s little to choose between the two models.

The GT cars deliver their performance in slightly different ways. The GT3, GT3 RS, R and Speedster are high-revving, naturally aspirated models. Early GT3s featured a 3.8-litre motor, but from 2017 all these models had 4.0-litre units that could rev to an incredible 9,000rpm. In every application this engine sounds sensational, plus it has bags of mid-range torque so you never crave a turbocharger.

If you did, then there’s the 911 GT2 RS. It’s 690hp engine serves-up blisteringly quick acceleration, but it demands care as it feeds all this power through the rear wheels. It’s noisy engine, bellowing, belching and crackling away all the time, which is a large part of its appeal. Yet so explosive is the performance that it’s arguably too fast for the road.

Gearbox choice is either seven-speed PDK twin-clutch auto, or a six and seven-speed manual. The former is most popular on the Carrera and GTS models, and standard on the Turbos, early GT3, GT3 RS and GT2 RS. It’s quick and smooth and can be easily manually overridden by the steering-wheel mounted paddles.

The seven-speed manual requires more effort and lacks the easy precision of, say, a far more humble Honda Civic Type-R. The same cannot be said for the glorious six-speed transmission that was standard on the 911R and an option on the facelifted 911 GT3.

Fuel

Fuel economy

Power

Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed

Carrera

Petrol

29.7 - 38.2mpg

345 - 365hp

4.4 - 5.1sec

178 - 183mph

Carrera S

Petrol

28.2 - 35.8 mpg

395 - 414hp

4.1 - 4.5sec

188 - 191mph

Carrera T

Petrol

45.3 - 46.2mpg

365hp

4.2 - 4.5sec

181 - 182mph

GTS

Petrol

45.3 - 46.2mpg

425 - 444hp

4.0 - 4.2sec

191 - 194mph

R

Petrol

35.3 - 36.2mpg

493hp

3.8sec

201mph

GT3

Petrol

22.2 - 22.6mpg

469 - 493hp

3.4 - 3.9sec

196 - 199mph

GT3 RS

Petrol

22.1 - 22.2mpg

493 - 513hp

3.2 - 3.3 sec

195 -196mph

GT2 RS

Petrol

23.9mpg

690hp

2.8sec

211mph

Speedster

Petrol

20.6mpg

503bhp

4.0sec

192mph

Turbo

Petrol

28.5 - 31.0mpg

513 - 533hp

3.0 - 3.4sec

196 - 199mph

Turbo S

Petrol

28.5 - 31.0mpg

552 - 599hp

2.9 - 3.1sec

198 - 205mph

Porsche 911 Trims 

Carrera, Carrera S, Carrera T, GTS, R, GT3, GT3 RS, GT2 RS, Speedster, Turbo, Turbo S

It’s take a big breath time, because running the rule over the different Porsche 911 variants could take a while. Even in a relatively short production span of this 911 spawned numerous trim levels, engines, transmissions and bodystyles. We’ll try and keep things as straightforward as possible.

For a long while entry point to Porsche 911 ownership has been the Carrera. Using what’s known as the ‘narrow body’ (without the Turbo’s bulging rear arches) this model is arguably closest in spirit to the original 911 of over half a century ago.

Originally powered by a naturally aspirated 3.4-litre flat-six engine that gave brisk rather than brutal performance, it gained a turbocharged 3.0-litre in 2016, which delivers all the pace you’ll need. Early cars got half leather trim, xenon headlamps and air-conditioning, but items such as Bluetooth connectivity were optional extras, Those post 2016 cars are better equipped and more desirable.

The Carrera was available as Coupe and Cabriolet, plus could be had with two or four-wheel drive. Oh, and there was a choice of seven-speed PDK automatic gearbox or seven-speed manual.

You could have the same array of body and transmission types on the Carrera S, which sat above the Carrera in the line-up. Featuring a larger 3.8-litre engine it felt as fast as you’d expect of a Porsche, plus is benefitted from bigger brakes. There was more kit, with items such as full leather trim making appearance, but so personalised are Porsche 911 models that you’re unlikely to find two with the same equipment.

Like the Carrera, the Carrera S received a turbocharged engine in 2016, which gave the car near supercar levels of performance. The Carrera S was also one of the first trims to get the option of the Targa body, although you could only order it with four-wheel drive.

Fitting between these two machines and launched in 2017 was the Carrera T coupe. Aimed at delivering a more intense driving experience it was two-wheel drive only and featured some small weight savings and combined the Carrera’s engine with some of the Carrera S’s suspension components and track focussed additions such as the Sport Chrono Pack, which included a lap timer. Manual versions also had shorter gear ratios for improved acceleration.

A similar ethos was used for the 911 GTS, but with even higher performance. Based on the Carrera S and using the Turbo’s ‘wide body’, the GTS aimed to give some of the raw driver appeal of the hardcore, motorsport-inspired GT3 but with some everyday civility. Available as a coupe, Cabriolet or Targa and with either two or four-wheel drive it packed a tuned version of the Carrera S 3.8-litre motor. Lowered suspension, a sports exhaust, bespoke wheels, eye-catching graphics and unique interior trim were the highlights. As with the rest of the range it went turbocharged in 2016, resulting in even more power and performance.

Two 911s that have always been turbocharged are the Turbo and Turbo S. Traditionally the high performance flagships of the range these cars aim to deliver shattering performance on road and track, yet be as easy to live with everyday as the Carrera. Powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre these models are exclusively four-wheel drive and have only been available with the PDK automatic gearbox, plus there’s just the choice of coupe or Cabriolet bodies.

The Turbo models get the most standard kit, but 2016 facelift cars still went without vital items such as cruise control and Bluetooth connectivity. Still, there were plenty of mechanical upgrades, including four-wheel steering for both, and active aerodynamics for the Turbo S, which included a natty spoiler that slid down from beneath the front bumper at speed.

Delivering a different type of ownership experience are the GT cars, which are essentially as close as you’ll get to racing cars for the road. The GT3 is the purest with its naturally aspirated 3.8-litre engine (4.0-litre after the 2017 facelift) that revs to over 8000rpm. Early cars were PDK auto only, but the bigger engined machines could be ordered with a manual gearbox. All are rear-wheel drive.

Equipment is sparser than in other 911 models, large in an effort to save weight. There are no back seats and some even do without any infotainment. The optional Clubsport package was popular and this added a roll cage in the rear and fire extinguisher. Later cars were also available as a Touring, which did away with the huge rear spoiler for more restrained looks.

The GT3 RS is simply GT3 with extra everything. Not only did it feature a 4.0-litre from the outset, it got the wider body, even more aggressive aerodynamic additions and an even stiffer suspension set-up. It’s PDK only and one for the dyed-in-the-wool Porsche enthusiast who doesn’t mind the odd compromise.

Above this is the mad, bad GT2 RS. Essentially a GT3 RS but with a 690bhp version of the Turbo S engine (and no four-wheel drive) it’s one for the brave. Stupendously fast and with a pure focus on performance there’s not much in the way of pampering kit.

While all the GT cars are limited run, few are as rare as the 911R and 911 Speedster. The former shoehorns the early GT3 RS running gear into a GT3 body shorn of its aerodynamic aids, then adds a seven-speed manual gearbox. Aimed at road driving it does have a few more creature comforts than the GT3

Finally, the Speedster is essentially an open-topped GT3 with a manual gearbox. Harking back to the firm’s Fifties roadsters it features a much lower windscreen than a Cabriolet and a fairly crude fabric roof. Extremely fun, but one for the committed collector.

Porsche 911 Reliability and warranty 

Porsche covers all its cars with a fairly standard three-year warranty, but with the added bonus that this period features unlimited mileage cover. However, trips to the dealer should be infrequent thanks to lengthy service periods of two years and 20,000 miles.

The Porsche 911 didn't feature in Auto Express’ annual Driver Power satisfaction survey, but many of the Porsche’s mechanical parts are heavily developed versions of its predecessor’s, meaning the car should be robust. On the whole owners the 911 is well made and reliable, while at this age most will still be serviced by main dealers, further minimising potential problems. However, if there’s a complaint it’s that parts, servicing and general running costs are expensive.

Used Porsche 911 

Despite having been around a while, the Porsche 911’s high prices and running costs mean it’s still quite and exclusive car. There are currently 19 Porsche 911s available on BuyaCar, with prices ranging from £48,400 to £174,899 for nearly-new models.

Monthly finance payments start from £396 per month.

The most popular models are the GTS versions, which are arguably the sweet spot in the range as they deliver a fine blend of performance, driver fun and everyday usability. You can also have a GTS in any of the three bodystyles.

Depending on your budget then it’s always worth seeking out a post 2016 turbocharged car, particularly if you’re after a Carrera. And while a PDK auto isn’t as engaging to drive it’s fine gearbox and will likely make the car easier to sell.

Options to look out for include full leather trim on Carreras and the best infotainment systems on others - in particular make sure a car has Bluetooth capability. Sat-nav is also desirable, as is a DAB radio - early cars will likely lack these features.

Finally, the GT cars are hard to come buy and very expensive, their limited numbers and adoration by enthusiasts pushing prices way beyond what they were purchased for new.

Other Editions

  • Porsche 911 (2019-present)
    The Porsche 911 remains the ultimate everyday sportscar, with stunning performance, agile handling and surprising practicality.