Review: Porsche 911 991 (2011 – 2015)
All-new 911 is lighter and faster. Retains familiar shape with a new interior. Six speed PDK or seven speed manual transmissions. Still the definitive sports car.
Starts at more than £70,000.
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Porsche 911 991 (2011 – 2015): At A Glance
The styling may be traditional 911 but this version of Porsche's iconic sports car - designated as the 991 - is a big step forward. There’re a few fairly obvious changes from the previous generation model, the roofline is lower and the tail lights are smaller, but the meat of the changes are under the skin.
The wheelbase has been increased by 100mm to improve stability while the body and chassis are made from more lightweight materials. There are a host of aerodynamic tweaks to reduce lift and increase downforce while maintaining a low drag coefficient, which is good for fuel economy.
The engine remains, as always, a flat-six – the Carrera model gets a 3.4-litre 350PS unit while the Carrera S gets a 3.8-litre engine producing 400PS.
The lower powered engine, when fitted with a PDK gearbox, gets the 911 from 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds, and that’s cut to 4.4 seconds when the optional Sport Chrono Pack is specified. The 3.8-litre Carrera S is slightly quicker to 62mph, taking 4.3 seconds, or 4.1 seconds in Sport Plus trim.
To enhance handling and dynamics over the outgoing model there’s a wider front track, a new rear axle and a new electro-mechanical power steering system. Carrera S models get Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC), which reduces body roll through bends, meaning the tyres are always in the optimal position to keep the car gripped to the road.
Inside the cabin there are traditional 911 features, like the instrument cluster with five dials, coupled with modern technology, which includes a high resolution multi-function display.
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Porsche 911 991 (2011 – 2015): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 115–405 litres
Inside it's all change, with an interior similar to the Panamera. This means a high centre console that rises up to the dash and lots of switches. It can seem a little button-heavy, but once you know where everything is, it's often easier than a menu-based dial controlled system.
The 911 has also moved with the times and now has an electric handbrake plus there's also a touchscreen display and sat nav as standard. As you'd expect from Porsche, the quality is top notch.
One of the best features taken from the Panamera is the addition of a high resolution multifunction screen in one of the five instrument cluster dials. You can have the trip computer info there but most usefully, sat nav information.
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What's the Porsche 911 991 (2011 – 2015) like to drive?
The standard Carrera actually gets a smaller engine that before with a 3.4-litre rather than 3.6-litre. It may sound like a backward step but it's actually the opposite. Thanks to some clever work with spanners by Porsche, power has increased over the outgoing engine with 350PS - an increase of 5PS. Torque stays the same at 390Nm.
Performance is a smidge better with 0-62mph taking 4.8 seconds with the manual gearbox (it was 4.9 seconds before) but the big wins are in economy. The Carrera now averages a claimed 31.4mpg with CO2 emissions of 212g/km. Mightily impressive for a car with 350PS. And it's a mightily impressive car to drive. Acceleration feels as rapid as the figures suggest and it sounds superb with that trademark Porsche noise reverberating behind you.
While power peaks at almost 7500rpm, the good news is that you don't have to drive the 911 fast to enjoy it. It's incredibly civilised and as easy to drive at low speeds as an everyday hatchback. It rides amazingly well for a high performance sports car, the steering is nicely weighted but not too heavy and there's good all round visibility.
And when you do want pace the 911 doesn't disappoint. The engine delivers all that power smoothly and there's so much torque in reserve, it pretty much never runs out of power. It's a real delight to drive and has impressive grip, even in the wet, giving you plenty of confidence when accelerating out of corners. It's immense when it comes to stopping too thanks to an uprated braking system taken from the previous 911 Turbo.
When it comes to gearboxes Porsche has taken a big step forward. Because the 911 features the first ever seven-speed gearbox.
That's not a typo - it does have seven speeds. Admittedly it takes some getting used to at first but basically seventh is just an overdrive gear so you can save it for steady cruising on the motorway. The changes are as positive and slick as you'd expect but surprisingly Porsche expects three quarters of 911 buyers to shun the manual and instead choose the automatic PDK gearbox.
The PDK has had a mixed reception since it was introduced in the Porsche range. The double-clutch system seems suited to the likes of the Cayenne and Panamera but traditional 911 fans aren't as keen. Porsche has taken 'feedback' on board and improved the seven-speed PDK for the new 911.
It's now faster with more positive shifts plus, like the manual gearbox, it features an automatic start/stop system and a coasting function to help with efficiency. This decouples the engine when you're not on the throttle to save fuel.
Whether you'd choose it over the manual is all about personal preference, but it is certainly better than the orginal system and doesn't detract from the enjoyment of driving the 911. For our money we'd stick with the standard gearbox, merely for the involvement factor you get, but if you sit in lots of traffic, then the PDK is a good choice. It also improves economy, with an average figure of 34.4mpg and emissions just 194g/km - amazing given the power it has.
The other big change in the 911 is the introduction of a new electro-mechanical steering system. Now usually when we hear those words it fills us with plenty of apprehension as it often means steering that's very artificial. Well the good news is that's not the case with the new Porsche system. It's as responsive as ever with plenty of feedback and natural feel. Phew.
Alongside the standard Carrera there's the more powerful Carrera S. It's about £10,000 more and comes with a 3.8-litre engine with 400PS (the old model has 385PS) with 440Nm of torque. Specify it with the PDK gearbox and the optional Sport Chrono Pack which includes launch control, and it will do 0-62mph in just 4.1 seconds. Yet economy is still 32.5mpg (29.7mpg with the manual gearbox).
There are of course plenty of options available on the 911, but one worth mentioning is the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (or PDCC for short). This is an active roll stabilisation system which is available for the first time on the Carrera S. It's all very complicated but basically it reduces body roll when cornering which makes it even easier to drive quickly through bends.
|Carrera||31 mpg||4.8 s||211–212 g/km|
|Carrera 4||30 mpg||4.9 s||218–219 g/km|
|Carrera 4 Cabriolet||30 mpg||5.1 s||223–224 g/km|
|Carrera 4 Cabriolet PDK||33 mpg||4.7–4.9 s||202–205 g/km|
|Carrera 4 GTS||29 mpg||4.4 s||233 g/km|
|Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet||29 mpg||4.6 s||235 g/km|
|Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet PDK||31 mpg||4.2 s||214 g/km|
|Carrera 4 GTS PDK||31 mpg||4.0 s||212 g/km|
|Carrera 4 PDK||33 mpg||4.5–4.7 s||200–203 g/km|
|Carrera Cabriolet||31 mpg||5.0 s||216–217 g/km|
|Carrera Cabriolet PDK||34 mpg||4.6–4.8 s||195–198 g/km|
|Carrera GTS||30 mpg||4.4 s||223 g/km|
|Carrera GTS Cabriolet||29 mpg||4.6 s||228 g/km|
|Carrera GTS Cabriolet PDK||32 mpg||4.2 s||207 g/km|
|Carrera GTS PDK||33 mpg||4.0 s||202 g/km|
|Carrera PDK||34 mpg||4.4–4.6 s||191–194 g/km|
|Carrera S||30 mpg||4.5 s||224 g/km|
|Carrera S Cabriolet||29 mpg||4.7 s||229 g/km|
|Carrera S Cabriolet PDK||32 mpg||4.5 s||210 g/km|
|Carrera S PDK||33 mpg||4.3 s||205 g/km|
|GT3||22 mpg||3.5 s||289 g/km|
|GT3 RS||22 mpg||3.3 s||296 g/km|
|Targa 4||30 mpg||5.2 s||223 g/km|
|Targa 4 GTS||28 mpg||4.7 s||237 g/km|
|Targa 4 GTS PDK||31 mpg||4.3 s||214 g/km|
|Targa 4 PDK||33 mpg||5.0 s||204 g/km|
|Targa 4S||28 mpg||4.8 s||237 g/km|
|Targa 4S PDK||31 mpg||4.6 s||214 g/km|
|Turbo Cabriolet PDK||29 mpg||3.3 s||231 g/km|
|Turbo PDK||29 mpg||3.2 s||227 g/km|
|Turbo S||29 mpg||3.1 s||227 g/km|
|Turbo S Cabriolet||29 mpg||3.2 s||231 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Porsche 911 991 (2011 – 2015)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
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