The much-celebrated, world-renowned Porsche 911, now 56 years and eight full model generations old, remains a shining beacon to the rest of the car business.
It offers a salutary lesson to other car makers: manage your icon carefully and preserve what’s unique and distinctive about it, while updating what’s old and flawed; listen to what people love about it; and keep it relevant, modern and competitive without making it any less special. By sticking to these principles, you can make enduringly profitable success out of sports car making. What’s more, you can do it in a way unlike anyone else in the industry.
It may not always have been the case, but this car remains great business for Porsche. It’s often said that Stuttgart’s SUVs make the money that it can then, in turn, invest in its world-class driver’s cars – but that does a gross injustice to the cash-generating capacities of the 911.
The Macan and Cayenne have turned Porsche into a 250,000-unit car maker, it’s true. But since the mid-1990s, when the firm introduced the first Boxster and rationalised its sports car platforms, the 911 has been in a league of its own as a business proposition among sports cars of its price. And only cars as successful as that get to flourish for as long as this one has.
As you may have already read, this latest-generation 911 counts as more of a revision than a thorough technical reboot. The ‘992’ sticks with updated versions of the turbocharged flat-six engines of the facelifted ‘991’, has become very slightly larger and stiffer in its underbody construction and, unlike any 911 before it, has all-aluminium bodywork. There is also new suspension tuning and a new gearbox, while an all-new interior brings the 911 right up to date.
Price £93,110 Power 444bhp Torque 391lb ft 0-60mph 3.4sec 30-70mph in fourth 5.3sec Fuel economy 23.1mpg CO2 emissions 205g/km 70-0mph 39.8m
The Porsche 911 range at a glance
The Porsche 911 line-up is in a strange, transient place at the moment. Carrera S and 4S versions of the new ‘992’ are now on sale, in both coupé and convertible bodystyles, alongside GTS, GT3 RS and Speedster versions of the ‘991’.
The 992 range can be depended on to expand to include Turbo and Turbo S, track-ready GT derivatives and Targas in due course too, as well as less powerful engine tunes and even more powerful GTS trim levels.