After almost six decades, the Porsche 911 has become the perfect sports car. Its looks have clearly evolved from the low, wide, rounded design of the first 911 in 1963, but it has taken giant leaps forward in power and handling.
The 911’s 57 years of engineering improvements make the new eighth-generation model the Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2020.
Against a competitive set that included the BMW 8-Series, BMW Z4, Hyundai Veloster N, Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe, and Toyota Supra, the 911 not only beat them all, but beat them all handily. Its masterful handling, comfortable ride, ready power, and even those familiar looks stood out, but it was the 911’s poise and precision on a racetrack that put it in another league. Our 911 4S tester owned the two miles of Atlanta Motorsports Park, and made us all feel like better drivers.
The 2020 Porsche 911 is intstantly recognizable, despite being new for this year. It's evolved over eight generations and more than 50 years to be our Best Car To Buy 2020. (Nathan Leach-Proffer/For Motor Authority)
All 911s are now turbocharged and they all make more power than before. The base car produces 379 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque, while the S and 4S spin up 443 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. Even the base car hits 60 mph in about four seconds, while the 4S drops that time to 3.2 seconds. Buyers have a choice between a quick-shifting 8-speed dual-clutch automatic or a 7-speed manual transmission.
Subtle but important changes make the 2020 911 the best yet. Larger wheels aid turn-in response, a wider rear track increases traction and lateral stability, a stiffer structure reacts more quickly to steering and suspension inputs, a quicker steering ratio means faster turn-in response, and new dampers improve both comfort and handling.
On the road and track, these changes translate to unflappable stability, incredible grip, agile moves, and ready power. The S and 4S models we've driven feel faster than their horsepower figures suggest. As for handling, the 911 may be too stable in turns; it requires an act of hooliganism to get the rear end to slide. It all inspires confidence and turns a good driver into a great driver.
The interior of the 2020 Porsche 911 is mixed, but the way it drives is unmistakeable. The Porsche 911 is our Best Car To Buy 2020. (Nathan Leach-Proffer/For Motor Authority)
The story isn't quite as positive inside. The new dashboard design evokes earlier 911s, but we spot some hard plastic and oddball cupholders that could be better executed. The dinky automatic transmission lever looks more like a toggle switch than a gearshift. What lies beneath it, however, is the best dual-clutch automatic on sale.
So far, the new-generation Porsche 911 is available in base Carrera, all-wheel-drive Carrera 4, and more-powerful S and 4S models, in coupe, convertible, and Targa body styles. More are on the way. Expect them all to offer the unwavering stability and confidence-inspiring handling of the 2020 911 S and 4S, though likely with even more power.