Best of the base 911 Carrera

Here at Total 911 we believe there is no such thing as a poor 911. We admire them all, and as motoring journalists we get particularly excited when new models are released. Porsche has spoiled us with many different model iterations – S, 4S GTS – and as owners we’ve become addicted to upgrading and going as high up the chain as possible, thereby moving away from the entry-level 911 Carrera.

But, and this may surprise you, we sometimes think that less is more, and if you are undecided on which model of your chosen generation to buy, then this feature just might save you some money.

Back in 1964 the only 911 available was the ‘0’ Series 911. If the 130bhp on offer wasn’t enough you would have to get out your own spanners and try to coax a few more horses out of it. Over 9,000 were sold, and it wasn’t until three years later that Porsche would offer 4,000 lucky owners the heady 160bhp of the 911S.

And this was pretty much the pattern from the ’70s to the ’90s – new models would be offered with a basic horsepower level, and more powerful versions would follow, often several years later.

The 993 arrived in 1993, and a total of over 40,000 base models were sold. An ‘S’ version offering an extra 13bhp came two years later, with sales of a further 7,000 cars. The 996 that followed in 1998 sold 120,000 base models, with the 4S released in 2001 attracting a further 23,000 buyers. The ratio of base to S still substantially favoured the former.

But with the 997.1, introduced in 2004, that ratio switched dramatically. 34,000 base models sold, but S sales were more than double that at 72,000. Suddenly the base car was no longer the norm, but relatively speaking became a rarity, and this ratio of two thirds S to one third Carrera continued through the 997.2, both generations of the 991, and into the 992 today. 

So what does this shift away from the Carrera tell us? The cynics might say that it shows Porsche has got more clever at persuading the buyer to part with extra cash for what is perceived to be a more attractive model, and there is probably truth in that. But maybe it’s also because the base model has come to be regarded as not just different, but somehow inferior. We’ve heard too many people say variations of “mine is just the base model, I’m afraid.” The humble 911 Carrera has rather a lot going for it, as we’re about to find out…

For the full feature on our walk-through of the modern Carrera through the 997, 991 and 992 generations, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 211 in store today. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery, or download it straight to your digital device now.

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