The 991-generation Porsche 911 delivered the model’s best-yet combination of tech and safety gear, introduced a new turbocharged engine range, and offered a handful of variants to cater to shoppers’ needs and tastes.
In this larger-but-lighter new 911, an available Sport Chrono package pushed performance even higher, and extreme-performance variants like the 911 Turbo and 911 GT3 were on offer as well.
Look for all-wheel drive (AWD) on many models, as well as manual or dual-clutch automatic transmissions, and signature technologies like Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) to optimize ride comfort and handling in real time.
If you’re new to the Porsche 911 driving experience, remember that most models deliver a pleasing blend of everyday comfort and performance thrills, with selectable drive modes helping the operator fine-tune the car’s attitude in real time. All but the 911’s most hardcore models can be used for track days, a grocery run, or a Sunday drive while losing little in between. During road trips, expect a peaceful highway drive.
In 2013, AWD joined the Carrera lineup, while both Targa and GTS models were discontinued. Redesigned versions – as well as Turbo, Turbo S, and GT3 models – arrived for 2014. In 2015, a new 911 GTS arrived, with the Sport Chrono package standard. Shoppers considering a model with the full array of Porsche 911 performance features without going into a more hardcore Turbo or GT3 should consider checking out the GTS, with the most in-demand performance features wrapped up in a single package. The back-to-basics Carrera T arrived for model-year 2018.
From model-year 2017, a new range of 3.0L flat-six-cylinder turbocharged engines arrived, with 370 hp or 420 hp in the Carrera and Carrera S, respectively. Elsewhere, the 911 Turbo and Turbo S were powered by familiar 3.8L twin-turbo powerplants.
What Owners Like
Porsche 911 owners tend to enjoy a high-performance driving experience that nicely balances thrilling handling and power output with everyday usability. As high-performing coupes go, the 911 is easy to board and exit, easy to see out of, and offers a relaxing drive. By this point in the 911’s life, owners were starting to enjoy the stunning new interior design and rapidly improving infotainment tech.
What Owners Dislike
Common complaints include extremely expensive options and equipment add-ons, tiny rear seats, and an aggressive rear window slope that further reduces space for rear-seat occupants.
Join the Club
If you’re shopping for your first used 911, be sure to check out various online communities that exist in Facebook groups and online forums. These online communities are home to thousands of owners of the same 911 you’re considering, and many are happy to share stories, insights, and advice with prospective shoppers.
Community members of forums have even created a special section that documents instructions, photos, videos, and tips for owners who prefer to spin their own wrenches. Browsing an online owner’s community can be a great place to post questions, see what current 911 drivers are discussing, and check out useful stories, advice, and how-to videos and posts.
Interior Trim Checkup
Though reported with relative rarity against total sales volumes, some owners have reported issues with interior trim and accessories as their 991-generation 911s age. Test-driving shoppers should be sure to fully extend and retract both front seatbelts while checking for damage to the belts and ensuring each retracts fully with no issue.
Open and close the sunroof (if equipped) several times, as well as the shade visor. Any hesitation or binding should be investigated by a professional before you buy, and some owners have reported the need to have saggy sunroof shades replaced under warranty.
Check the infotainment system and other controls next. Are display screens clean and damage free, or smudgy and scratched? Careful cleaning helps prevent infotainment screen scratches. Confirm that all steering wheel and console-mounted controls work as expected. Check for outdated navigation system maps, confirm an ample supply of functional USB and charging ports, and be sure to pair a Bluetooth device and check for acceptable audio quality both during phone calls and music streaming.
Infotainment system trouble is among the most commonly reported amongst owners of modern cars. While the Porsche 911 is one of the most highly-rated cars on the road when it comes to reliability, a careful infotainment system check can save you plenty of money and headaches.
Ensuring the 911 you’re considering has a strong and healthy battery can boost the overall reliability of its electronic systems. Ditto regular use of a trickle-charger or battery maintainer.
Some 991-generation 911 owners have reported trouble with their fuel pumps, up to and including failure. If there’s a problem with the fuel pump in the 911 you’re considering, the engine may have difficulty starting up quickly or at all, may have difficulty running, or even stall. A fuel pump problem may put the car in a reduced-power limp mode, referenced by a warning message and graphic in the instrument cluster.
Some owners say this problem starts with long engine starting times, carries on with occasional sudden power loss, and ultimately results in reduced performance and warning messages in the instrument cluster. A bad fuel pump can also damage engine spark plugs, further reducing performance.
If you suspect the fuel pump in the 911 you’re considering might be bad, be sure to have a professional investigate before you buy. Here’s some more reading.
Change Over Valve
Many cars use special valves to control the flow of vacuum pressure through air lines, which is used to operate numerous components within the vehicle. This generation of Porsche 911 uses many of these valves, including one so-called changeover valve (COV) within its climate control system. A failed COV in a Porsche 911 may make it difficult or impossible to heat the vehicle’s cabin when it’s cold, and may result in engine overheating as well.
On your test drive, be sure to confirm that the 911 you’re considering is able to provide strong heat from its heater when requested. If that’s not the case, a bad COV is a likely culprit. Using specialized equipment and expert training, a dealer technician can quickly track down and remedy COV-related problems.
The Porsche 911 Cabriolet has a convertible roof that operates at the press of a button. A variety of switches, motors, and sensors work in sync to orchestrate the opening and closing procedure, and an array of plastic and rubber flaps, openings, gutters, and hoses help guide rainwater around the roof and safely into a drainage system that allows it to flow harmlessly to the ground below.
On your test drive, have the seller demonstrate the opening and closing of the top several times while you inspect from the outside. Check the roof fabric for rips, tears, abrasion, or seams that seem to be pulling apart. Some owners have had problems like these. Most have not.
Inspect all rubber seals for good condition. Seals should be plump, solid, and lubricated – not dry, cracked, or ripped. Weather seals can become damaged or torn if the convertible roof mechanism is out of alignment, which may require some professional adjustment in a dealer setting.
Operating a convertible top is a big draw on your vehicle’s battery. If you’ll only drive your 911 Cabriolet on occasion, and typically for shorter distances, a battery trickle charger is a very solid investment that can prevent problems with roof electronics, and ensure you’re 911 Cabriolet starts up every time you need it.
The Most Reliable 911
If you’re looking for the most reliable and trouble-free 911 ownership experience from a second-hand 991-generation model, there’s at least one additional consideration that can set you in the right direction. The most reliable used 911 models will tend to be the ones that have been most lovingly cared for by their past owner(s) by way of regular, consistent, and timely maintenance, fluid changes, inspections, and system software updates in a dealer setting.
Many owners of second-hand 911 models prefer to opt for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) models through a Porsche dealership, since these models undergo a reconditioning process and are required to meet a higher standard of quality and care than units sold privately. A used CPO 911 also includes various perks like extended warranty coverage and roadside assistance, adding further peace of mind for a more worry-free experience.
Here’s a list of recalls.