2015 Porsche 911 Review


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2015 Porsche 911 Overview

With the 911, a mid-cycle refresh can have nearly as much aesthetic impact as a generational shift, leaving the uninitiated wondering what exactly has changed. With more than 20 trims looming over the 911 name, adding more to the mix can lead to a weariness matched only by politics and fashion. Last year was a strong exception, as the Targa trim came rushing back to the present, carrying just the right amount of nostalgic baggage wrapped around that gorgeous B-pillar. But for 2015 the 911 falls back on old habits and makes only minor changes to the familiar shape.

There were many rumors floating around hinting we’d see a hybrid version of the 911 for 2015—a vehicle utilizing everything learned from the 918 to produce a more powerful, more efficient 911. But no such animal will appear in showrooms this year. Instead we’ll get some reworked bumpers and new taillights masquerading as a “refresh.” Engines will be massaged to comply with new European emissions regulations, and the GTS is rumored to return with another power bump in order to keep it firmly atop the Carrera 4S—likely to land at around 425 hp with some speculating upward of 440. And while some worried that a new turbo flat-4 would make its way into the 911’s bay, this has proven to be nothing more than speculation, likely an application more suited for the Boxster/Cayman family in years to come.

Instead, the least powerful 911—the Carrera—starts with a 350-hp, 3.4-liter flat-6 delivering 287 lb-ft and pushing the rear-engined icon to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds. It only gets faster from here. The Carrera S gets a 3.8-liter engine good for 400 hp, 325 lb-ft and a sprint to 60 in 4.3 seconds. If you want all-wheel drive (AWD) , the 4S will satisfy and give up nothing in terms of speed. The same set is available for the Cabriolet and Targa versions, although the Targa is available only in AWD configuration. For more power you’ll have to look to forced induction in the form of the venerable turbo—technology Porsche has been fitting the 911 with since 1973. Back then, Porsche passed over natural aspiration in order to bump the 3.0-liter flat-6 from 200 hp up to a then-shocking 260 hp, albeit shocking more for manner of delivery than from an outright power perspective. Today, even the lowliest Turbo 911 will hand over 520 hp and 487 lb-ft of torque, capable of being briefly bumped to 524 lb-ft with the overboost function in the standard Sport Chrono Package. And for those with no shame about their overcompensation, the Turbo S offers 560 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, with an available overboost of 553 lb-ft. Porsche claims that when overboosted the Turbo and Turbo S will hit 60 in 3.2 and 2.9 seconds respectively, but real-world testing has proven to shave a few tenths off both, which officially moves trap times from “I need a change of shorts” to “Please notify my next of kin.” Just to confuse the issue there’s also the 475-hp GT3, and while it sports what has been called the most communicative steering setup of the entire 911 line, it comes solely with the 7-speed PDK automatic, so keep moving if you like to row your own.

All trims get redesigned front bumpers with slim LED running lights and modulating vents to help with aerodynamics at speed, as well as new rear bumpers with larger tail lights that recall the Macan treatment. Look closely and you’ll also notice some extra vents sitting behind the rear wheels, strategically placed to feed even more cool air to those heavy-breathing turbos.

With any car that inspires as strong a following as the 911, there will always be complaints. Some come from a love of tradition, such as the backlash against water cooling. Some come from preference, such as the backlash against e-steering. Some even come from logic, such as the absurdity of offering a 911 without a manual transmission. My big complaint comes from all three: Why isn’t a deep, lush green offered so I can get the Targa of my dreams? But if you really want to hear the purists scream, wait until the hybrid finally shows up. Best to start bracing yourself now.


A CarGurus contributor since 2008, Michael started his career writing about cars with the SCCA - winning awards during his time as editor of Top End magazine. Since then, his journalistic travels have taken him from NY to Boston to CA, completing a cross-country tour on a restored vintage Suzuki. While his preference is for fine German automobiles - and the extra leg room they so often afford - his first automobile memories center around impromptu Mustang vs. Corvette races down the local highway, in the backseat of his father's latest acquisition.

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