- Fantastic handling
- Classic good looks, modern details
- Comfortable, quiet interior
- Electric power steering
- Gets expensive in a hurry
- Cramped back seat
From the satisfying Carrera to the outrageous GT3 RS, the 2016 Porsche 911 is consistently brilliant, and lives up to the this model line's pedigree in every respect—with some modern comforts spliced right in.
The 2016 Porsche 911 is one of just a few sports cars that, for decades, has managed to simultaneously preserve its own unique style and lineage and yet provide performance that's remained near the head of the pack.
The iconic shape is still as recognizable as ever, and this sports-car lineup has stayed true with the past in offering a wide range of models, from the base Carrera on up to the Turbo S and GT3. Each has its own visual and driving character, and across the lineup there isn't a single variant that disappoints. All in all, the Porsche 911 remains one of the best sports cars on the market.
While 2017 is bringing an extensively refreshed lineup of Porsche 911 models, and the 2016 Porsche 911 lineup is mostly carry-over, there's one noteworthy exception this year. The 2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS is just short of a full-fledged race car—and essentially the homologation special that's the basis for the actual GT3 RS competition car. In it, a 4.0-liter flat-6 makes 500 horsepower and 338 pound-feet of torque—without turbochargers—and can get this peaky performance model to 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds, and to 124 mph in 10.9 seconds and eventually a top speed of more than 200 mph. It has even more weight-saving measures than the GT3, plus a revised 7-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission and lighter weight.
Last year, Porsche brought the Targa back into the lineup and gave it an upgrade to automatic opening and closing. Instead of requiring the driver to install and store the cloth roof section manually, the 2015 Targa's back half splits open in an elaborate orchestration of moving pieces to do the job. It's quite something to watch, and easily the most complex roof system available today. All Targa models are equipped with all-wheel drive, adding to their all-weather versatility.
The base Carrera uses a 350-hp flat-6 engine, while the S models get a 400-hp version and GTS models upgrade to a 430-hp flat-6. From there, it's the 475-horsepower GT3, and then a pair of turbocharged models, the 520-hp 911 Turbo and 560-hp Turbo S. Both employ standard all-wheel drive and include almost all of the equipment that's optional on lesser 911s. All models except the GT3 and Turbo range offer a choice of a 7-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed PDK paddle-shift dual-clutch automatic. The GT3, Turbo, and Turbo S are only available with a PDK gearbox. Handling is fantastic, although steering itself isn't quite as on point.
While the exteriors and performance options vary widely across the 911 range, the cabins are nearly identical throughout the lineup. Whichever 911 you choose, the front seats are comfortable and roomy, with an open-feeling cabin thanks to a large windshield and side windows. The rear seats are best suited to extra cargo and occasional child-ferrying duties, as leg room is minimal, and the 911's sloping roof compromises head room, too. A front trunk area holds a fair amount of luggage.
Neither of the two major safety authorities have crash tested the 2016 Porsche 911 or any of the current-generation 911s. Despite the lack of data, Porsche's reputation for sound engineering, advanced safety devices and electronics, and the 911's innate dynamic responsiveness should help avoid crashes or minimize injury.
New items for 2015 include a handful of small refinements, an extra wheel option for Carrera and Targa models, and a host of new paint and upholstery choices. Front and rear parking sensors with a rearview camera are now available on Carrera and Targa models, while GT3 models now feature Bluetooth as standard equipment, whereas it was formerly a no-cost option.
The 2016 Porsche 911 lineup offers an extremely impressive set of features; it's well-equipped even in its most basic form, yet there's no limit on features just because this is a sports car. If you're willing to pay the price you can add many of the comfort, technology, and appearance-related add-ons that are offered in luxury sedans and SUVs.
The new GT3 RS picks up the carbon fiber seats of the 918 Spyder and gets Porsche’s Club Sport Package as standard—with a roll cage, a six-point safety harness for the driver, a fire extinguisher, and preparation for a battery master switch.
The base Carrera with PDK is the most efficient 911 offering, at 20 mpg city, 28 highway, 23 combined—very respectable figures for any 350-horsepower daily driver. The Turbo and Turbo S return identical EPA scores of 17/24/20 mpg. The countless variants of the 911 typically fall within those ranges, however the GT3 and GT3 RS are typical track-day specials and are much thirstier.