Forget the 911 - these world-beating supercars are some of the most ferocious performance machines ever to wear the Porsche badge.
Once known primarily as a sportscar manufacturer, these days Porsche makes all sorts of vehicles: four-doors sedans, SUVs... even a station wagon is under consideration. But the Porsches we love most are the supercars. Extending beyond the 911 Turbo and GT2, this list goes goes straight into the heart of supercar-dom. Here you'll find a hybrid, a V10, a homologated racer, an AWD rally machine and two 911s completely rebuilt by independent manufacturers that would give a Bugatti or Koenigsegg what to think about.
We start with the latest Porsche supercar, one that we’ve seen in various states of preparedness over the course of the past few years. The 918 Spyder initially debuted in concept form at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, and is expected to reach production later this year. As part of a new generation of hybrid hypercars, the 918 packs a 4.8-liter V8 coupled to a pair of electric motors to deliver upwards of 800 horsepower. In that respect it will likely be eclipsed by the McLaren P1 and Ferrari F150, but will still go down as the fastest vehicle ever to roll out the gates at Zuffenhausen.
Prior to the arrival of the 918, the top supercar from Porsche was the Carrera GT. Derived for production from a canceled racecar program, the Carrera GT arrived in 2004, packing a unique 5.7-liter V10 smack in the middle of its carbon monocoque chassis, driving 612 horsepower to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. It was notoriously difficult to control, but talented hands could hustle it to 60 in 3.6 seconds and on to a 205mph top speed. Sad as it was to see the racing version canceled, in a broken-eggs/omelet world, enthusiasts were glad to see Porsche wasn’t too busy selling Cayennes to make a proper supercar.
One of the rarest and most extreme Porsche supercars was even more of a racecar for the road than the Carrera GT. The 911 GT1 may have been no more related to the roadgoing 911 sportscar than by name, but it went on to win 47 endurance races, including the 1998 24 Hours of Le Mans. Homologation regulations mandated Porsche build a limited run of 25 road-going "Strassenversion" models, with its mid-mounted 3.2-liter twin-turbo flat six slightly detuned to 537 horsepower. With just over 2,500 lbs to motivate and an extreme racing chassis, it reached 62 in 3.9 seconds and a 191 mph top speed.
Originally built as a Group B rally car, the 959 was eventually built in a limited run of 337 units that were highly sought-after by collectors like Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates. In fact Gates and his Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen successfully lobbied for a special law to get theirs into the country. When it hit the road, the 959 was the fastest and most technologically advanced car ever made. It packed an advanced all-wheel drive system and a twin-turbo flat six with 444 horsepower to drive it to 62 mph in 3.7 seconds and on to a 195mph top speed.
Sharing the last spot on our list is a pair of cars that, though based on the 911, share no more with the production model than the aforementioned GT1 Strassenversion. The 9ff GT9 starts off with a 997-gen GT3, but extensively rebuilt with its 4.0-liter twin-turbo flat six sitting in the middle of its bespoke chassis and tuned to deliver around 1,000 horsepower to reach a 254mph top speed. The RUF CTR3, meanwhile, looks more like a Cayman, but is also loosely based on the 911 and packs a 3.8-liter twin-turbo flat six with 691 hp for a 233mph top end. Both are extremely rare and priced at around half a million.