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Delightful (and devilish) dozen: what to drive when styling and performance are paramount

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2015 Porsche 911

Base price range: $85,295-$195,595

It’s a classic in its nearly unchanging form and a stubborn holdover in its rear-engine layout. But Porsche has hone and refined the 911 over seven design generations, keeping it a star by which rival automakers measure their own sports cars, no matter their price or power. Today’s 911 comes in coupe, convertible, and retractable roof-panel targa body styles. Each has two tine rear seats for a 2+2 configuration, and each has a six-cylinder engine with horizontally opposed cylinders. Hardly a year goes by without a new model being added to enhance the range. The lineup now starts off with the standard rear-wheel drive Carrera Coupe that has a 350-horsepower flat-six 3.4-liter engine, which is then tuned to 400-horsepower for the S version of the Carrera. There are currently 15 different variations of the 911, with the top of the range being the Cabriolet S Turbo that features a 560-horsepower version of the 3.8-liter engine, as well as all-wheel drive. Economy isn’t talked about all that much with cars like this, but the 911 range is particularly good in this respect. The most frugal model will return as much as 28 mpg on the highway, while even the Turbo S only drops down as far 24 mpg in the same conditions. All 911s except the GT3 and Turbos offers a choice between a seven-speed manual transmission and a seven-speed paddle-shift dual-clutch automatic called a PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplung), whereas the GT3 and Turbos are only available with the PDK. With 0-60 mph varying between 3.2 and 4.6 seconds, thrilling performance can be taken for granted throughout the range.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]