Easy choice for a reason

Easy choice for a reason

  • The 911 is Porsche’s well-loved sports car. It starts at $106,100 and comes in many variants.
  • I drove a Carrera GTS for a week – a mid-size 911. With add-ons, mine came to $160,000.
  • The 911 is often seen as the “easy choice” for car buyers. Whenever I drove one, I reminded myself why.

I remember the first time I put on glasses. I was so used to my filthy surroundings—illegible signs, sidewalks that looked like turn lanes, and TV stars with no recognizable features—that I figured it was just the way it was. Then I put on my glasses, went outside and saw that trees had single leaves and characters had words. It was a whole new world.

When I recently got into a $160,000 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS, I felt that way again.

The 2022 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS.

Alanis king


The 911 is Porsche’s well-loved luxury sports car and one of the most iconic vehicles on the road. It’s been around since the early 1960s, evolving in style and technology while always retaining its core characteristics: a sleek yet rounded body shape, rear engine and a widely acclaimed driving experience.

This has made the 911 popular both in name and in sales, and in the decades since its introduction, Porsche has produced more than a million of them. Like a more expensive version of the Chevrolet Corvette or the Ford Mustang, 911s are everywhere.

The 2022 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS

The 2022 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS.

Alanis king


But popularity always has a downside. In the case of the 911, seeing it for so long – and so often – can be desensitizing. Novelty is often lost in numbers, and an acquaintance recently said what made him doubt buying a 911 is that “everyone has one.”

“That’s because they’re the easy choice for a reason,” replied another. Nobody could disagree.

A gray Porsche 911 Carrera GTS.

The 2022 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS.

Alanis king


Porsche’s 911 lineup is huge, with the cheapest priced at $106,100 and some of its counterparts starting at more than double that. The Carrera GTS I drove falls in the middle — it starts at $142,600, and various optional features brought the price up to $159,090 from me. These included $3,200 “Chalk” gray paint, a $4,500 exterior appearance package, $4,000 carbon fiber accents, a $2,800 front nose lift system to get over bumps and burglaries to drive, and much more.

Nose lift functions typically require pressing a button and waiting for the front of the car to slowly rise, but the 911 has a “Smart Save” feature that allows drivers to mark GPS locations where they are have to lift your nose regularly. So it will lift itself in the future.

The interior of the Porsche 911 Carrera GTS, shown with manual transmission instead of PDK.

The Porsche 911 Carrera GTS, shown with manual transmission instead of PDK.

Porsche


There’s also a choice of a seven-speed manual and what Porsche calls “PDK,” an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic. Regular transmissions use a single clutch to shift gears, while a dual clutch uses two to shift really really fast.

Many automakers have dual-clutch transmissions, but few are as well known as Porsche’s PDK. That’s because it’s too good to ignore.

A gray Porsche 911 Carrera GTS.

The 2022 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS.

Alanis king


In real life, it’s also hard to ignore just how big the 911 is. This fast little sports car is fast and small in my opinion; Its soft yet agile body lines convey this.

But the 911 is actually wide and bulky, even if passenger and storage space remain tight. The modern 911 is a mammoth compared to previous models and is a reminder of just how much larger, safer and more isolated cars have become over the years.

A modern Porsche 911 Carrera S and a 1965 Porsche 911 in Australia in 2020.

A modern Porsche 911 Carrera S (front) and a 1965 Porsche 911 (rear) in Australia in 2020.

Porsche


Driving the 911 proves why it’s so popular: it’s stiff and tough enough to remind you you’re driving a sports car, yet comfortable enough to handle long commutes. It hugs the road through corners like the world’s smoothest roller coaster, and the quick, velvety shifts of the PDK transmission feel more effortless than breath.

The interior of the 911 Carrera GTS is full of smooth, clean lines. Its seats hug your hips and thighs while still remaining comfortable on long highway journeys and short journeys down winding roads. The suede wheel fit my hands perfectly, and the rear “seats” made great purse storage.

My husband and I spent eight hours traveling back and forth to NASCAR races in the 911, and there was still room in the back seat and trunk after we added our bags and beverage coolers. With all that space, the 911 is practically a family car – you know, if your family is just two people.

The 2022 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS

The 2022 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS, covered in flakes and dust spots on its black trim.

Alanis king


Where the interior of the 911 fails is in the little things. Its infotainment system can be difficult to learn, and the tactile controls are a headache. Some of the switches feel more plasticky than they should in a $160,000 car, and certain buttons require almost Hulk-smash work — press the tune and volume controls too lightly and they won’t even register your touch.

Those aren’t the only annoyances. Aside from the center console, there’s also no accessible space in the 911 to house a phone or small device, and my car was full of glossy piano black accents.

The 2022 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS

The 2022 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS with more piano black.

Alanis king


Modern automakers have been making this mistake for years: piano black looks great in the showroom, so they put it in every possible new car. The problem is that in real life it immediately collects flakes and dust and grease. It’s gross in a Kia Seltos and it’s gross in a Porsche 911.

When Piano Black finally dies, I will laugh at his funeral.

The 2022 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS

The 2022 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS with even more piano black.

Alanis king


Road noise is loud in the 911 at high speeds, but there’s an easy fix for that: just put it into “Sport Plus,” a driving mode where the car revs up so much before shifting that all you can hear is an angry engine hum.

It’s also really handy when you want to feel obnoxious in traffic, which is more common than you think.

A gray Porsche 911 Carrera GTS.

The 2022 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS.

Alanis king


However, the 911 didn’t just give me a chance to feel obnoxious – it gave me a chance to see it clearly again. Just as I had gotten used to seeing the world without my glasses, I had also gotten used to seeing the 911 everywhere. It felt less special because spending it on a sports car was an easy choice for people with six figures.

But the 911 reminded me why it’s the easy choice. Porsche devised a formula for the ideal rear-engined sports car decades ago, and automakers have only had time to refine it since then.

A gray Porsche 911 Carrera GTS.

The 2022 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS.

Alanis king


It wasn’t the 911’s fault that I was desensitized to it. Much like the time I spent trying to shake off my need to buy glasses, it was all mine.

Now that it reminds me how special it is, I’ll make sure it never has to be that way again.

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