The Porsche 911 is a tried-and-true sportscar, and performance comes before all else on this German beast.
The 911 Porsche lineup offers several different engine options, though all are variants of Porsche's signature flat-six powerplant. Edmunds describes the lengthy engine list as including a "3.6-liter, horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine that produces 325 hp and 273 pound-feet of torque" on the base Porsche 911 Carrera, while the "Carrera S has a 3.8-liter version of the flat-6 rated for 355 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque," and "an optional Carrera Power Kit for S models bumps power up to 381 hp." Both the 2008 Porsche 911 Turbo and the 911 Porsche GT2 use a "3.6-liter twin-turbocharged flat-six engine" that Car and Driver says produces 530 hp in the GT2, as opposed to 480 hp in the standard Turbo. The GT3 models of the 2008 Porsche 911 are powered by a "high-revving six-cylinder engine" that "yields 415 hp and 300 pounds-feet of torque" from its 3.6-liter displacement, according to Cars.com.
Acceleration is the name of the game for the Porsche 911 lineup, and Edmunds writes "every 911 can perform the 0-60-mph sprint in fewer than 5 seconds, with the Turbo and GT2 doing it in well under 4." Furthermore, they add "top speed approaches 200 mph for the GT3 and Turbo and exceeds that in the GT2." ConsumerGuide chimes in, saying that the "torque-rich engines give any model strong thrust for all situations."
All of the engines on the 2008 Porsche 911 come mated to one of two available transmissions. Edmunds states "all 911s come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, while all trims except the GT3s and GT2 also offer a five-speed Tiptronic automatic as an option." Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com rave about the transmissions, especially the manual. ConsumerGuide deems the manual "slick" and "precise." Even the high-end Porsche 911 GT2's "control efforts are fluid and easy," in the words of Motor Trend. One feature that reviewers of the Porsche 911 GT2 especially love is the launch control, which Car and Driver says is "a way of taking off with maximum force while preventing mechanical meltdown." The launch control system essentially works the clutch and matches engine speed for you, providing optimal acceleration launches with minimal hassle. Edmunds also adds that "the 911 Carrera and Carrera S can be had in either rear-wheel- or all-wheel-drive ('4') versions," though the Targa 4 "comes only in AWD form." They conclude by remarking that "the GT3 and GT3 RS are rear-wheel-drive only," while "the Turbo features all-wheel drive" and "the GT2 is a rear-driver."
Performance cars, particularly ones as capable as the 2008 Porsche 911, usually demand significant amounts of fuel to power their thirsty engines. However, the Porsche 911 lineup isn't obscenely abusive to the environment, and ConsumerGuide reports that "a manual-transmission Carrera 4 averaged 17.2 mpg in mostly highway driving," while a "manual-transmission rear-drive Carrera S averaged 17.6 mpg." The official EPA estimates for the Porsche 911 lineup range from 15 mpg city and 23 mpg highway for the 911 Turbo with automatic transmission up to 18 mpg city and 26 mpg highway for a manual-transmission Porsche 911 Carrera.
Acceleration may be blistering, especially on turbocharged Porsche 911 models, but the 911 really shines when it comes to handling. ConsumerGuide finds that the Porsche 911 is "balanced, grippy, and stable," and it offers "quick, informative steering." Other reviewers unanimously agree, with Edmunds writing that the 2008 Porsche 911 "turns in crisply and with precision, and is largely unaffected by broken pavement." Ride quality is equally impressive, and even on the Porsche 911 GT2, Motor Trend declares that "ride quality in either mode is pain-free." ConsumerGuide agrees and calls the ride "firm but seldom punishing." Further praise for the 2008 Porsche 911 falls on its brakes, which Edmunds says are "powerful and respond promptly in a linear fashion." ForbesAutos goes so far as to call the brakes "among the best on any car at any price."