- Classic silhouette
- Dizzying number of versions
- Blazing power, even without Turbo
- The best steering, period
- Teensy rear seats
- Lots of buttons for audio, navigation, and climate controls
The 2008 Porsche 911 has few peers in performance or in endurance.
The flagship of performance and heritage for the German automaker, the 2008 Porsche 911 comes in many flavors, all of them hot and fast. There's a base Carrera, four-wheel-drive versions, Cabriolet versions, higher-powered S and GT3 versions, and the king of the hill, the Porsche 911 Turbo.
The styling of the 2008 Porsche 911 needs no explanation. It's directly related to the earliest 911s of the 1960s--and surprisingly modern, not to mention a lot beefier than ever before. The trunk's in the front, the engine's in the back, and the roofline tents over the front passengers, dropping toward the back in a classic curve. Inside, the dash is cleaned up and reorganized a couple of years back, and it's the best dash ever, but small buttons still dominate the center stack of climate controls and the audio/navigation system.
Performance ranges from electrifying to shattering. The base 911 Carrera comes with a rear-mounted, 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine that generates 325 horsepower and 274 pound-feet of torque. Top speed is 177 mph, with 0-60 times just over 5 seconds. The Carrera S versions, meanwhile, take this performance up a notch with a 355-horsepower, 3.8-liter flat-six that cuts the car's 0-60-mph time to 4.6 seconds. There's a 911 GT3 edition this year with 415 hp and 0-60-mph acceleration of 4.1 seconds, too. The king of the hill is the 911 Turbo; with its turbocharged, 3.6-liter flat-six and 480 horsepower, it rockets to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds. Fuel economy of all versions ranges from 16/23 mpg to 15/22 mpg, amazing figures for such high-performance cars.
The 2008 Porsche 911 handles with brilliance. There simply isn't a better steering car on Earth. The ride is always comfortable, and the wheels never seem to be anything except squarely and firmly planted on the pavement. There's no practical way to approach the 911's grip limits on the street--more so for the all-wheel-drive models, which have even wider tires.
Porsche calls its convertible a Cabriolet, and in 2008, Porsche's fitted the ragtop with an impressively snug top with a heated glass rear window. Putting the top down is a one-button affair that has the whole thing snugly retracted in just a few seconds and back up in a few more.
The rear seats on any 911 are token gestures, not even large enough for small children. To compensate, Porsche offers a staggering array of options and custom features, including an active suspension, ceramic brakes, 19-inch wheels, and leather trim for nearly every surface.
Dual front, side, and curtain airbags are standard, while stability control is an option--unusual in a high-priced car.