A Porsche buyer's guide
There are few brands in the automotive sphere as historical and indeed, well-respected as the German sports car juggernaut that is Porsche. With its origins tracing as far back as 1948 with the Type 356 and Ferdinand Porsche playing his part in the VW Beetle, the brand is entrenched in everyday life, warranting recognition even from the automotive indifferent.
Porsche’s line-up has become more and more complicated in recent years, as it targets increasing portions of the market. EVs, SUVs, a variety of sports cars and more occupy its current roster. Discerning all of the different numerical categories and designations can become complicated when choosing the best model for your lifestyle. Here we've attempted to condense the information...
The Porsche dictionary
There is quite an extensive dictionary of terminology to keep abreast of when discussing this particular marque. This collection of terms comprises PDK 'Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe' or ‘Porsche dual-clutch gearbox’, a system lauded for its lightning-fast gear shifts, another to remember is 'Targa', originating in the sixties, this means that the top roof panel is removable creating a part coupe/part convertible configuration. Tiptronic refers to an automatic transmission with a manual setting should you choose it and, perhaps most importantly, Turbo no longer means that a car is turbocharged as almost all petrol-powered models feature a turbocharger. Now it simply means fast!
Porsche’s entry-level sports car is renowned for its superb overall balance, and starting at £47,700, is one of the most affordable premium driver’s cars on the market. The standard model is joined by further variants including the ‘S’, the ‘T’ and the ‘GTS’, with turbocharged 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre boxer-four engines and a 4.0-litre boxer-six available across the variants. As far as transmissions go, you can choose from a six-speed manual or a seven-speed PDK gearbox.
Porsche owes a great deal to the plucky Boxster, with the model’s accessibility having saved the brand from financial despair in the nineties. Its popularity amongst customers established the Boxster as a mainstay of the Porsche offering, of which the roadster has been a part of for over 25 years. In its modern guise, the Boxster serves as the convertible sibling to the Cayman. Identical in every respect – bar the soft-top – the pair also share the same model and engine variation options.
What is widely considered to be the quintessential sports car, the 911 moniker is fast approaching its 60th anniversary. The two-door, rear-engine model is now in its eighth generation, and the recipe remains largely unchanged since the beginning of its reign. Available in a range of variations, the base model is available as a Carrera hardtop, Carrera Cabriolet and Targa while ‘S’ versions of those models add extra power and a seven-speed manual gearbox. Similarly, a ‘4’ designation is applied for those specified in four-wheel drive configuration.
The GTS strikes a balance between the lower-end and top-of-the-range options. Then comes the performance tier which comprises the Turbo, Turbo S, GT3 and GT3 RS models, each of which has its own unique slant on the ultimate driving experience. There are also numerous desirable special edition 911s to consider. Be it contemporary technological masterpieces that achieve peak handling and acceleration or a more visceral, analogue experience, there’s something for everyone here. The final rung of the 911 ladder is the Turbo-esque Sport Classic that appeals to the traditionalist with the addition of a manual gearbox.
This luxury front-engined, four-door sports saloon occupies a unique space in the market and comes in standard, long-wheelbase and estate-style body variations. The base model V6 can be specified in rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive and can also be upgraded to a more powerful 552hp hybrid. The V8 also has a number of variants in the shape of a GTS, Turbo S and a Turbo S E-Hybrid knocking on the door of 700hp. An eight-speed PDK automatic gearbox comes as standard for all Panameras.
For a number of years the Macan crossover has been the best-selling model throughout the entire Porsche range, so much so that it has been known to outsell all other models combined (aside from the other SUV that we’ll get to in a moment) in a given year. The model variations include the standard car, an ‘S’, a ‘GTS’ and a ‘T’. All-wheel drive and a seven-speed PDK gearbox are standard for all Macans with the upcoming generation slated to be electrified.
The larger of Porsche’s SUVs and the inspiration for many other desirable 'super SUVs', the Cayenne now in its third iteration is available with a standard body or as a coupe. Variations include ‘E-Hybrid’, ‘S’, GTS, Turbo, Turbo S E-Hybrid and the top-of-the-range Turbo GT. Two V6 engines, a V8 and plug-in versions of all three feature throughout the range with optional Platinum Edition styling packs completing the offering. An EV version is slated for launch in 2026.
Porsche’s foray into EVs comes in the form of the Taycan, which can be specified in saloon and estate-style body options. The base model is rear-wheel drive while the GTS and Turbo variants feature dual-motor all-wheel drive systems.
Clubsport and Weissach packs
These additional performance packs are for the drivers among us who can take a car to the edge of adhesion and maintain control with ease. Those who truly belong on the race track. The Clubsport package is a free upgrade for GT3, GT3 RS and GT2 RS models that includes a rear roll cage, six-point seatbelt, battery main switch and a fire extinguisher. The Weissach pack meanwhile, was made available for the already savage 918 in addition to the aforementioned models and introduces myriad carbon-clad elements to both the interior and exterior, along with plenty of refined mechanical components to increase performance. Magnesium-forged wheels are also offered as part of this pack.