2021 Porsche 911 Carrera

2021 Porsche 911 Carrera Review: The Price Of Perfection

by Karl Furlong

Flaws. They remind us of our humanity and that even the wealthiest, most distinguished figures don't always get everything right. And, although sports cars have gas rather than blood running through their veins, they're similarly more intriguing when they occasionally shock, frustrate, or disappoint. Porsche does not subscribe to this philosophy, believing instead that every detail of a sports car that isn't perfect, can be made perfect. Enter the Porsche 911, which is near impossible to find fault with. Honed to perfection over several decades, the current 992 is an overachiever of note: it handles with precision, its turbocharged engines deliver brilliant acceleration, the cabin is stunningly made, and it looks both modern and classic. But does its sheer competence in every aspect make it less captivating than an achingly pretty Lexus LC500 or an angry, raucous Ford Mustang Shelby GT500? That's without mentioning the Porsche 911's high price - since you can no longer drive off in a new Porsche 911 for under six figures. Chances are, though, that once you're behind the wheel of the 911, all of these concerns will be rendered meaningless.

2021 Porsche 911 Carrera Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 911 Carrera?

The still-fresh 992 generation of the 911 receives only a handful of small updates for the 2021 model year, with several options filtering down from the Turbo variants. For example, you can now specify the optional 930 Leather Package, which adds classy, quilted leather to the seat centers and door panels, an option that was previously reserved for the 911 Turbo and Turbo S. The color palette now includes Python Green, an especially eye-popping shade. Further options include lightweight, noise-insulated glass (with a weight-saving of over eight pounds) and a front-axle lift system to quickly and easily increase ground clearance. The available Sport Chrono Package now includes a digital tire-temperature display.

Pros and Cons

  • Powerful and flexible flat-six engines
  • Magnificent handling
  • Best-in-class transmissions
  • Unmistakable design
  • Cool and sophisticated cabin
  • Increased availability of tempting options, but...
  • ...those same options are pricey
  • You can no longer buy a Porsche 911 for under $100k
  • No manual gearbox option on base 911
  • Tiny back seats

2021 Porsche 911 Carrera Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Carrera
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo Flat 6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$97,400
Carrera 4
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo Flat 6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Other
$104,700
Carrera S
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo Flat 6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$113,300
Carrera 4S
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo Flat 6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Other
$120,600

911 Carrera Exterior

Porsche hasn't rocked the boat with the newest Porsche 911's coupe design, although from the back, the changes are a lot more noticeable than before, especially the taillight strip that runs across the rear of the coupe. The wider fenders add to the muscular exterior looks, although perhaps Porsche could have done more to update the familiar 911 face, which is neat but hardly exciting. On the base Porsche 911 Carrera, there are staggered 19/20-inch alloy wheels. It also has an auto-deploying rear spoiler, recessed door handles, dual single-tube exhaust outlets, and LED headlights with four-point LED spotlights. On the Carrera S, the wheels are 20/21-inch items front to back, and the brake calipers are painted in red, not black.

2021 Porsche 911 Carrera Front Angle View Porsche
2021 Porsche 911 Carrera Side View Porsche
2021 Porsche 911 Carrera Rear Angle View Porsche
See All 2021 Porsche 911 Carrera Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The 992-gen 911 is similarly sized to its predecessor, although it has gained nearly an inch in length for a total of 177.9 inches. With the mirrors folded, width is 72.9 inches, increasing to 79.7 inches when they're extended. The wheelbase is 96.5 inches and the 911 measures 51.1 inches in height. A maximum ground clearance of 4.7 inches (for the base model) is typically low for a sporty coupe. The curb weight starts at 3,354 pounds for the base Carrera, increasing to 3,487 lbs for the PDK-equipped Carrera 4S.

  • Length 177.9 in
  • Wheelbase 96.5 in
  • Height 51.1 in
  • Max Width 72.9 in
  • Front Width 62.7 in
  • Rear Width 61.2 in

Exterior Colors

With over 15 available colors, most customers should be able to find something that suits their taste. The four standard shades are White, Black, Guards Red, and Racing Yellow. These are followed by several metallics for an additional $840, including Jet Black, GT Silver Metallic, Gentian Blue, and Aventurine Green. At a much more expensive $3,270, you can gain access to Porsche's range of special colors, including an all new Python Green. Other options here are Carmine Red, Chalk, Lava Orange, and Miami Blue.

  • Carrara White Metallic
  • Jet Black Metallic
  • Agate Grey Metallic
  • Dolomite Silver Metallic
  • Gentian Blue Metallic
  • Night Blue Metallic
  • Aventurine Green Metallic
  • GT Silver Metallic
  • Carmine Red
  • Chalk
  • Lava Orange
  • Miami Blue
  • Python Green
  • Custom Color
  • White
See all 18 colors

911 Carrera Performance

Porsche doesn't make a slow 911. From the base Carrera all the way up to the Carrera 4S, each model provides thrilling acceleration thanks to the powerful twin-turbocharged flat-six engine. In the base rear-wheel-drive model, a zero-to-sixty time of four seconds dead is in the cards, dropping to 3.8 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package. A maximum speed of 182 mph is achievable. The all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 has exactly the same acceleration times but a top speed that is lower by two mph. A welcome bump up in output to 443 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque will see the Carrera S hit 60 mph in as little as 3.3 seconds with the Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) dual-clutch gearbox and the Sport Chrono Package. Faster still is the Carrera 4S in the same spec, which will whizz to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and top out at 190 mph (just one mph behind the Carrera S, which can manage 191 mph). The manual versions of the Carrera S and 4S are a few tenths slower to 60 mph, but not slow enough that they should deter you if you prefer to do the shifting yourself.

2021 Porsche 911 Carrera Front View Driving Porsche
2021 Porsche 911 Carrera Rear View Driving Porsche
2021 Porsche 911 Carrera Badge Porsche

Engine and Transmission

The 911 Carrera starts things off with 379 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque from the 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged boxer-six. Porsche has done a fantastic job of making the turbocharged 911 deliver its considerable power in a controllable, linear fashion, all the way up to its 7,500 rpm rev limit. The eight-speed PDK automatic transmission's ability to rifle through the gears is as astonishing as ever, but we do wish that the base Carrera also had access to the manual gearbox. Moving up to the Carrera 4S gets you the more powerful version of the boxer engine, now delivering 443 hp and 390 lb-ft. The eight-speed PDK can be swapped out for a sweet-shifting seven-speed manual gearbox at no additional cost to the Porsche 911's total price, plus this will get you the Sport Chrono Package.

On PDK-equipped models, the Sport Chrono Pack includes Porsche's superb launch control function, whereby the 911 will perform effortlessly fast acceleration runs. Even without this function enabled, acceleration will bring a smile to your face each and every time you hit the loud pedal. Passing power is similarly potent, with the 911 surging into gaps and rocketing past slower traffic with ease.

  • Engine
    3.0-liter Twin-Turbo Flat 6 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    Other, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Porsche 911 remains the perfect example of an everyday sports car, combining a comfortable ride with legendary handling that flatters even less experienced drivers. Unlike older 911s, where the rear-mounted engine required more attentiveness from the driver to manage the weight at the back, Porsche has endowed the latest 992 with more precise and controllable handling than ever before. The electromechanical steering is once again a highlight, communicating what the front wheels are up to and it combines deftly with the ability to power through corners early without losing traction.

There's a lot going on beneath the surface, of course, with the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system's electronic dampers compensating for varying surfaces and driving modes constantly. With the Sport Chrono Package, there are additional driving modes - besides the standard Normal and Sport - including Sport Plus and Wet, providing more flexibility. On the Carrera S, available rear-axle steering improves low-speed agility and aids stability at higher velocities. The beauty of the 911 is that it never feels overly computerized - there's an organic feel to all the controls that make the driver feel like an integral part of the process. While the AWD models do provide more traction in the wet, the RWD 911's stability controls do such a phenomenal job that we don't think the upgrade is a necessity.

911 Carrera Gas Mileage

Although fuel-economy estimates haven't yet been released for the 2021 911 range, we see little reason that these would change based on 2020's figures. Regardless of the model you go for, the same combined figure of 20 mpg applies. All of the PDK-equipped versions return consumption of 18/24/20 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles, whereas the 4S with the PDK has a slightly lower highway figure of 23 mpg. The Carrera S manual has figures of 17/25/20 mpg. All RWD versions have a 16.9-gallon gas tank and AWD versions a slightly larger 17.6-gallon tank. On RWD versions, a larger 23.7-gallon gas tank can be equipped optionally - if this box is ticked, the 911's combined cruising range works out to around 474 miles.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    16.9 Gallons
* 2021 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe

911 Carrera Interior

The latest 911's cabin employs a clean and high-tech look, with far fewer buttons than before. Being a Porsche, everything that matters to the driver has been carefully considered, such as the simplicity of the analog tachometer, the gearshift paddles and steering wheel that fall perfectly to hand, and the ideal driving position. Material quality is generally excellent. A large central touchscreen leaves little doubt that it's all bang up to date, though, and when fully optioned out, there are plenty of gadgets to play with. However, straight out of the box, the latest 911 is hardly as well equipped as similarly priced competition from Mercedes-Benz or Audi. Yes, there's dual-zone climate control, partially power-adjustable and heated front seats, and an eight-speaker sound system. But the likes of adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and a surround-view camera system are all expensive options.

2021 Porsche 911 Carrera Steering Wheel Details Porsche
2021 Porsche 911 Carrera Gear Shifter Porsche
2021 Porsche 911 Carrera Gauge Cluster Porsche
See All 2021 Porsche 911 Carrera Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Porsche has continued to stick with its 2+2 configuration, which means there are two minuscule seats at the back. These are useful for emergencies or smaller kids, but are better utilized as extra packing space to compensate for the tiny cargo area. Things are a lot better in front, with the low-set driving position making you feel at one with the car. The standard sport seats have electric adjustment of the backrest angle and seat height, but the fore/aft adjustments must be done manually. However, 14-way power-adjustable sport seats or 18-way adaptive sport seats with a memory package are available options. Although ingress and egress require you to drop down quite low, access to the front seats is mostly a trouble-free affair. And, while visibility isn't nearly as restrictive as in a mid-engine Ferrari, there are some fairly large blind spots over the shoulder.

  • Seating capacity
    4-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

The base 911 has a standard black interior with partial leather seats; the only other no-cost color option is Slate Grey. The default interior trim is Dark Silver Diamar and smooth-finish leather is applied to the steering wheel, door grab handles, door panel armrests, and the lid covering the center console. Moving up to the Carrera S adds leather to the seat centers, too. From here, the sky is the limit in terms of cabin upgrades. A Black/Mojave two-tone interior will cost $700, while the Leather Package in Black or Slate Grey costs $2,840. The Club Leather interior in colors like Truffle Green or Agave Green costs over $6,000 but adds the color to the dashboard, roof pillars, and more for a much more opulent look. The 930 Leather Package harks back to the special quilting found on the 911 Turbo from 1975. Even the steering column casing can be finished in leather. Carbon fiber, open-pore wood, and brushed aluminum trim inlays are also offered.

911 Carrera Trunk and Cargo Space

With the engine taking the place of where your shopping bags would be stored in many other sports cars, the 911's cargo-carrying duties go to the frunk. Here, you will find a space that measures only 4.6 cubic feet that can, at a push, take two overnight bags. This is when those rear seats really come in handy, although accessing anything stored on them isn't an especially graceful task.

In-cabin storage is average at best, with a glovebox and center console that are both on the small side. There are two front cupholders, including a center console cupholder which is a first for a 911. The door pockets can take smaller bottles, too.

2021 Porsche 911 Carrera Front Angle View 1 Porsche
2021 Porsche 911 Carrera Side View 1 Porsche
2021 Porsche 911 Carrera Front Angle View 2 Porsche

911 Carrera Infotainment and Features

Features

The 911 has just enough standard features for the salesman not to be embarrassed when showing the car to a potential buyer, but any savvy customer will be able to tell that it's sparsely equipped for how much it costs. As standard, the Porsche has LED headlights with four-point LED spotlights, three-dimensional LED taillights, and front/rear ParkAssist with a reversing camera. The central tachometer is flanked by dual seven-inch digital displays. Along with dual-zone climate control, the front seats have heating and partial electrical adjustment. For the driver's convenience, cruise control and comfort access with keyless go are standard. On the extensive options list are features like 18-way power front seats, a surround-view camera system, night vision assist, lane change assist, adaptive cruise control, and traffic sign recognition. A sport exhaust system and a front axle lift system are also available.

Infotainment

The standard 10.9-inch infotainment screen displays exceptionally clear images and is neatly integrated into the dashboard design, instead of being stuck on like a tablet that appears as an afterthought. The touchscreen is responsive and there is no lag when swiping through the various menus. As part of Porsche Connect Plus, you get navigation, Apple CarPlay (but no Android Auto), SiriusXM, wireless internet access, and a 4G/LTE telephone module. Devices can also be connected via two USB ports, or media can be played from an SD card. The standard sound system has eight speakers and 150 watts of power, but as you may have guessed, you can simply throw more money at your Porsche dealer to upgrade to either a 12-speaker Bose system or a high-end Burmester unit with 855 watts and 13 speakers.

911 Carrera Problems and Reliability

Although the 911 has one of the best reputations for quality and reliability for any sports car, the 2020 model has already been subject to two recalls. The first one, issued in June 2019, was for driveshaft bolts that could loosen, increasing the chances of a crash. Another recall followed in December 2019, for hazard warning lights which could not be activated. However, at the time of writing, the 2021 model had not yet been affected by any recalls.

Should you run into any trouble, the 2021 Porsche 911 is covered by a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty that includes 24-hour roadside assistance. A limited paint warranty runs for the same time period or mileage, while a corrosion warranty runs for 12 years.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    12 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Maintenance:
    1 Years \ 10,000 Miles

911 Carrera Safety

The Porsche 911 Carrera may attain an easy five stars for performance and handling, but the same can't be said for safety. This isn't because Porsche built an unsafe car, though, but simply because, like most other high-priced sports cars, the 911 hasn't yet been crash-tested by the USA's major authorities. Until the Porsche 911 is subject to review, it won't carry an official crash rating.

Key Safety Features

The excellent Porsche Stability Management (PSM) system with brake assist should keep 911 drivers safe, especially at the high speeds this car was designed to be driven at. Along with tire pressure monitoring, there are also sensors to warn of brake pad wear. Porsche has also equipped six airbags (front, curtain, and thorax) protecting the driver and front passenger in the event of a collision.

Things get more stingy when it comes to driver-assist gear, though. Yes, the 911 has front/rear ParkAssist, cruise control, a reversing camera, and warn/brake assist, but all other driver-assistance systems cost extra. These include a surround-view camera, night vision assist, lane change assist, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and active lane keep.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Porsche 911 Carrera a good car?

Porsche has made precious few changes to the 911 Carrera for the 2021 model year, but this is no surprise since the 992 generation remains a recent introduction. It also speaks to how fundamentally accomplished the model line is, which could probably go without any changes for another two or three years and still not have its all-round appeal surpassed by anything else. Aesthetically, Porsche has introduced changes like the wide rear arches and a rear light bar that are noticeable upgrades from the 991, yet retained the coupe's instantly familiar silhouette. The turbocharged engines are all potent, flexible, and reasonably efficient. On a twisty road, the 911's supreme balance and feelsome steering remain the envy of most competitors. There's also a stunning cabin and a much-improved infotainment system, although Porsche continues to frustrate by excluding too many driver-assist technologies from the standard specification sheet. The Porsche 911 has never been more expensive, but it's also never been better.

🚘What's the Price of the 2021 Porsche 911 Carrera?

At $99,200, the base model Porsche 911 Carrera is $1,800 more expensive than last year's car. Once you've added in the $1,350 delivery fee, it means that for the first time, you can't get a Porsche 911 for under six figures. Next in the lineup is the AWD Carrera 4 with an MSRP of $106,500. After this comes the more powerful Carrera S at $115,100, followed by the Carrera 4S at $122,400. So extensive is the options list that you can effectively double the price of a 911 by adding on enough extras.

2021 Porsche 911 Carrera Models

The 2021 Porsche 911 Carrera is offered in a choice of four trims: Carrera, Carrera 4, Carrera S, and Carrera 4S. All models make use of a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged engine, but whereas the non-S models have 331 hp, the S variants deliver a more potent 443 hp. An eight-speed PDK gearbox is standard, while a seven-speed manual is available to the S-badged models.

The base Carrera sends power to the rear wheels and is fitted with 19/20-inch staggered wheels. It comes fitted with LED headlights, an auto-deploying rear spoiler, dual-zone climate control, partial power-adjustment for the heated front seats, front/rear ParkAssist, and an eight-speaker sound system.

The Carrera 4 shares the same features but adds all-wheel-drive traction to the mix. It also has a larger gas tank so it can go further between visits to the gas station.

The Carrera S reverts back to RWD but has a more powerful version of the 3.0-liter engine and can also be optioned with a seven-speed manual gearbox. It is distinguished by a quad-exit exhaust system, wheels that are an inch larger, and red brake calipers.

Finally, the Carrera 4S combines the Carrera S' specification with all-wheel-drive.

See All 2021 Porsche 911 Carrera Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Porsche's available packages and countless standalone extras can add tens of thousands of dollars to the base price of a 911. At $5,350, the Premium Package adds a Bose surround sound system, a surround-view camera system, ambient lighting, ventilated front seats, and more. The Pure Heritage Design Interior Package carries an overall price tag of $16,660 (on the base Carrera) and includes corduroy interior trim, extended leather, and aluminum door sill guards. For a grand total of $22,080, the Exclusive Manufaktur Leather Interior includes leather quilting, extended leather on just about every surface, and deviated stitching. Oddly, the manual gearbox must be specified for this option, which means it is only available on the Carrera S and 4S. On the 4S exclusively, the $5,460 Sport Package adds a lowered suspension and the Sport Chrono Package.

Standalone options will take up far too much space if we name each and every one of them, but on the base Carrera, some of the most interesting upgrades include 18-way adaptive sport seats for $3,830, an electric glass sunroof for $2,000, the Sport Chrono Package for $2,790, the front axle lift system for $2,770, adaptive cruise control for $2,000, and the Burmester sound system for $5,560.

🚗What New Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe Model Should I Buy?

Although the Carrera S is quicker, the base Carrera is over $15,000 cheaper in comparison, and is still a mighty fast sports coupe. We'd be tempted to stick with the base Carrera and use around $10,000 for optional upgrades. The boxes we'd tick include the Sport Chrono Package, the Premium Package, and the Black/Mojave interior to brighten up the standard dark environment. Including delivery, which takes the total price to $109,390.

2021 Porsche 911 Carrera Comparisons

Porsche 718 Cayman Porsche
Audi R8 Coupe Audi
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Porsche 911 Carrera379 hpTBC$97,400
Porsche 718 Cayman 300 hpTBC$57,500
Audi R8 Coupe 562 hp13/20 mpg$169,900

2021 Porsche 911 Carrera vs Porsche 718 Cayman

At almost half the price, the smaller 718 Cayman is a much more affordable entry point into the world of Porsche. With its smaller size and lighter weight, the Cayman is one of the most well-balanced and entertaining sports cars on the planet, even if the 911 is a more refined companion on a cross-country jaunt. At the bottom of the range is Porsche's 2.0-liter turbo-four, which can't match the acceleration or acoustics of the 911's six-cylinder, but it's still really nippy. More of an issue for the base 911 is the Cayman GT4, which costs exactly the same but uses one of Porsche's most astounding engines - a 414-hp naturally aspirated 4.0-liter that sounds glorious. It's paired with a manual transmission and the combination makes the Cayman GT4 an even more exciting driver's car than the base 911. However, the 911 is better-equipped, has a much more upscale interior, and offers two extra seats. If you can't stretch to the 911 Carrera S, we'd recommend the phenomenal Cayman GT4.

See Porsche 718 Cayman Review

2021 Porsche 911 Carrera vs Audi R8 Coupe

Where the 911 Carrera is more of an everyday sports car, the Audi R8 is an all-out supercar. With its bellowing V10 producing over 550 horsepower, the Audi has similar performance to the Carrera S, yet feels a lot more dramatic in the way it blasts off the line. The same is true of the appearances of each car; the 911 is familiar and approachable, whereas the R8 is all theater. Both handle brilliantly, but the 911 is a more delicate performer at the limit. They are both also comfortable enough as daily drivers. Although the Audi's interior is an older design, it's still blessed with high-quality materials and feels appropriately racy - of course, it can only accommodate the driver and one passenger. At around $170,000, the R8 is far pricier but a Carrera S can fairly easily be specced to the same price. Despite the R8 turning more heads, it's the flawless 911 that gets our vote between these two.

See Audi R8 Coupe Review

Porsche 911 Carrera Popular Comparisons