First Drive Review: Porsche 911

Independent review by Maxine Ashford

5-minute read

Porsche 911 Exterior Front Driving

First Drive: Porsche 911

Explore the key features of the Porsche 911 in our expert first drive review

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The 911 has long been towards the top of the sports car pile, and its latest iteration maintains this status with aplomb.


  • Elegant looks
  • Staggering performance figures
  • Exhilarating driving experience
  • Plenty of tech, as expected
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It seems like the motoring world is gearing up for a cleaner future with hybrid and electric vehicles appearing at a rapid pace, but in the meantime, Porsche has just upped the stakes in the sports car sector with its latest 911 Turbo S.

The dynamic two-door car is steeped in history and renowned the world over for delivering one of the most exhilarating driving performances of any road car. And the newest version lives up to that big billing.

The low-slung 911 first graced our roads way back in 1963 and has been offered in Turbo guise since 1975, but the most recent version really increases pressure within the sector.

Powertrains and Driving Experience

It is powered by a 3.8-litre, 6-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine that delivers 641bhp and 590lb ft of torque. That translates into some pretty fearsome performance stats.

For example, the 911 Turbo S powers its way to 62mph from a standstill in just 2.7 seconds and has a maximum speed of 205mph. It turns heads as it fires past – blink and you will miss it. Running costs are not cheap though, with a combined 23.5mpg and carbon emissions of 254g/km.

The latest rear-engined 911 Turbo S is slightly wider than its predecessor so feels more planted on the road and, of course, your experience is assisted by the likes of adaptive dampers, torque vectoring, all-wheel drive, stability management and carbon-ceramic brakes.

The acceleration out of the starting blocks is blisteringly fast and almost needs to be experienced to be believed. Take a breath and you’re already at 62mph.

The 911's road-holding is confident and assured, meaning tight bends can be attacked and the speed into the straight is unrelenting.
Maxine Ashford

There are drive modes called Wet, Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual that adjust the mannerisms of the Porsche, and for added excitement, there is a Sport Response button that preconditions the engine and gearbox for the best response and can produce optimal acceleration for up to 20 seconds – enough time to overtake a lorry or three down the straight.

The 8-speed PDK automatic transmission is beautifully timed to fire through the gears, but there are steering wheel mounted paddles for added driver engagement and all controls, dials and readouts are ideally positioned for ease of use.

And despite its low profile, the 911 is actually comfortable to drive, albeit a tad noisy.

Design and Practicality

Viewed from any approach, this curvaceous car screams performance at you and for the £155,970 outlay (£167,210 with optional extras fitted, at the time of testing) you would expect nothing but the best.

Eye-catching design cues include front wings that are, as always, higher than the bonnet, slanted LED headlights, black air blades, four-point daytime running lights, retractable door handles, an active front spoiler, powerful rear wings and a seamless, one-piece light strip including the Porsche logo at the rear that connects the 3D LED tail lights.

There is a sports exhaust system with silver tailpipes and 20-inch Turbo S wheels on the front with 21-inch wheels on the rear. Yellow brake calipers complete the styling.

Move inside and the snug cockpit oozes sporting prowess. The 18-way electrically-adjustable sports seats can be heated and have quilted leather seat centres with ‘Turbo S’ embossed into the headrests. There is a leather GT sports steering wheel with dark silver shift paddles and a separate drive mode button.

There is a front boot (as the engine is at the rear) with 128 litres of storage space and a 264-litre open luggage compartment behind the front seats.

Additionally, there is a lockable glovebox, a storage compartment in the centre console, door pockets, plus two cup holders if you are brave enough to attempt to drink coffee on the fly.

A couple of passengers can sit in the back of the vehicle, but with limited space, this would only be realistic for quite a short journey.

Equipment and Technology

Many of the car’s on-board systems are accessed via a 10.9-inch touchscreen display, and the instrument cluster features two 7-inch TFT displays. A 12-speaker Bose surround sound system, Apple CarPlay and Porsche Communication Management with online navigation are just a few of the many on-board techno treats at your disposal.

Safety specifications for such a powerful car need to be exceptional and, in fairness to Porsche, they are just that.

The long list of equipment to keep occupants and other road users protected include side impact protection, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist with speed limit indicator, night view assist, warn and brake assist with integrated front cameras, park assist with surround view, a full suite of airbags and lots more besides.

There is also the Porsche Wet Mode that warns the driver if it detects a slippery surface and prompts them to switch driving modes across to Wet for improved traction.


All in all, the latest Porsche 911 is doing anything but growing old gracefully. While the new model maintains all its traditional DNA and is instantly recognisable, it has raised the bar in every department. As always, if you are looking for a proper sports car, then it is hard to look past the 911.