2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Porsche's marquee model, the Porsche 911. The 2014 Porsche 911 is available in such a variety of editions that it's almost impossible to evaluate the car properly without getting specific. There's the everyday 911 Carrera, the more performance-focus Carrera S, the sun-loving Cabriolet, the over-the-top Turbo, and of course the hardcore GT3, all of which combine to give the Porsche 911 its schizophrenic personality. At the same time, the 911 can be considered the most driver-friendly sports cars on the market, with reasonable practicality and the kind of road manners that make it as much of a pleasure to drive around town as around a race track.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2014 Porsche 911.
01. The 2014 Porsche 911 Provides Coupe and Convertible Styling
The 2014 Porsche 911 maintains the same basic shape that has defined the sports car since it was first went on sale in 1964. Don't think, however, that this gives the Porsche 911 a retro feel: rather, the current slippery profile of the 911 appears quite modern and vital when compared against its sports car contemporaries. The same can be said of the Porsche 911 Cabriolet, which is the name given to the convertible edition of the automobile. The cloth-top 911 has actually come a long way from being derided as a 'cruiser' rather than a true performance model, and it now turns in exceptional lap times of its own alongside its fixed-roof sibling.
02. The 2014 Porsche 911 Features A Rear-Engine Design
Perhaps the most salient aspect of the 2014 Porsche 911's design - aside from its adherence to traditional styling conceits - is the engineering decision to keep the vehicle's motor mounted behind the rear axle. Like the 911's shape, this rear engine placement boasts continuity back to the early days of the vehicle, and plays a significant role in defining its character out on the road. Although no longer as tail-happy as older versions of the car, the polar moment of inertia provided by having so much mass hanging to the rear of the back axle provides a cornering feel that is like that of no other model on the market.
03. The 2014 Porsche 911 Provides Several Naturally-Aspirated Engine Choices
The 2014 Porsche 911 is a very potent automobile even in its base 911 Carrera form. The Carrera is motivated by a 3.4-liter, inline six-cylinder engine that has been tuned to provide 350 horsepower and 287 lb-ft of torque, figures that allow the car to spring to 60-mph in less than five seconds. For those who crave additional thrust, the 911 Carrera S introduces a larger, 3.8-liter version of this motor that produces an impressive 400 horses and 325 lb-ft of twist. Rear-wheel drive is standard with the 911 Carrera and Carrera S, although all-wheel drive can be added to either package (changing the names to the Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S, respectively).
04. The 2014 Porsche 911 Delivers Obscene Turbocharged Power
Of course, for some performance car enthusiasts there's no such thing as too much power. Enter the 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo, which is all-new for the current model year. The Porsche 911 Turbo makes all-wheel drive standard in order to better control the insane thrust delivered by its twin-turbocharged, 3.8-liter six-cylinder engine (520 ponies and 524 lb-ft of torque), and it also provides a wide-body look and enhanced aerodynamics to go with its overachieving engine. For the ultimate in overkill, the Porsche Turbo S turns up the boost on the same motor in order to generate 560 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, allowing the coupe to clock in with a thoroughly ridiculous 2.9 second 0-60-mph time.
05. The 2014 Porsche 911 Can Be Had In Full Race Trim
It would seem that the 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S represents the apex of 911 performance - and in some measures, such as straight-line speed, that is true. When it comes to pure on-track skills, however, racers in the know turn to the Porsche 911 GT3. The 911 GT3 eschews the all-wheel drive of the Turbo S in favor of a return to the Carrera's rear-wheel drive layout, and it also comes with rear-axle steering, active suspension system, and a locking differential that provides a torque-vectoring feature for maximum cornering capability. Out back, the GT3's naturally-aspirated 3.8-liter six-cylinder engine spins to 9,000 rpm on its way to generating 475 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque, making it ideally suited to the demands of track day duty.
06. The 2014 Porsche 911 Flirts With Gearbox Controversy
The 2014 Porsche 911 Carrera, Carrera S, and Cabriolet models all offer the option of a seven-speed manual transmission, an innovative unit that positions an extra gear over and above sixth in order to eke out better fuel economy. In additional to a traditional manual gearbox, Porsche also makes available its PDK dual-clutch automated manual transmission, which boasts lightning-fast gear changes via either its computer-controlled brain or steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.
Where the controversy erupts is the decision by Porsche to make the Turbo, Turbo S, and GT3 models available exclusively with PDK. Although the automated manual design also features seven forward speeds, the lack of a manual option for these dedicated performance cars - especially the GT3 - has been viewed by some longtime fans as a knock against the purity of the brand's heritage and driving experience.
07. The 2014 Porsche 911 Offers A Special 50th Anniversary Edition
The 2014 Porsche 911 50th Anniversary coupe is a unique model that will be available for a limited time only. What sets the 50th Anniversary edition of the Porsche 911 apart from other versions of the car? This celebratory coupe features the Carrera S Powerkit upgrade to 430 horsepower as standard equipment, and it also comes with full Carrera S equipment, a unique body kit, special trim denoting its status as an anniversary car, and its own 2-inch rims. The 50th Anniversary 911 could be destined to become a future collectible, given the amount of attention Porsche has lavished on celebrating the coupe's five decades of existence.
08. The 2014 Porsche 911 Can Be Spec'd With Full Luxury Gear
The 2014 Porsche 911 isn't just quick, it's also comfortable thanks to the bevy of premium features and equipment that can be loaded into it. The base Carrera and Carrera S offer HID headlights, dual automatic climate control, leather seats, a navigation system, and Bluetooth connectivity, while the Turbo provides surround sound audio, electronically-adjustable sport seats, Alcantara leather trim, a SportDesign steering wheel, automatic identification of speed limit signs by an exterior camera, and a sunroof. Also impressive is the fact that the 911's rear seats are actually usable by children or smaller adults, making it a versatile transportation solution that can accommodate more than just a pair of occupants.
09. The 2014 Porsche 911 Offers Expensive Options
The 2014 Porsche 911 doesn't restrict buyers when it comes to available options. Rather, it relies on the flexibility of their pocketbooks when it comes to piling on items from the automobile's rather pricy list of available features. Provided you're not too intimidated by sticker shock you can equip the Porsche 911 with goodies such as the Premium Package (heated sport seats with power adjustment, dynamic lighting), Bose audio, adaptive sport seats, Burmeister surround sound audio, a moonroof, several different types of leather for the vehicle's interior panels, ventilated seats, or a heated steering wheel.
10. The 2014 Porsche 911 Features A Dramatic Range of Prices
Perhaps no other car on the market displays such a tremendous gap between its entry-level and top-tier editions. The 2014 Porsche 911 Carrera starts at an MSRP of $84,300, which seems like a hefty chunk of change until you take into account the $193,900 MSRP of the Porsche Turbo S Cabriolet. That's right - there's a six-figure spread between the cheapest and most expensive versions of the Porsche 911, with models like the $124,100 50th Anniversary Edition, the $102,930 Carrera 4 Cabriolet, and the $130,400 GT3 falling somewhere in between. Even the steel-roof version of the Turbo S - the fastest 911 coupe - costs $100,000 more than the base Carrera.