In every segment there seems to be one car that sets the bar, the standard by which every other car like it is judged. For the white-collar sports car enthusiast it has long been the Porsche 911. For thinking buyers, however, that may no longer be the case.
I’m not going to complain about the 911 in the way most Porsche purists do, I’m fine with the electric steering, I’m fine with it being water cooled, and I’m even fine with it gaining some size. My gripe really only concerns what buyers get for the price. The car itself is fantastic, but now you’re paying a lot more money for something that really hasn’t changed all that much over the years.
Frankly, the Porsche 911 has become boring and cliche. They don’t even turn too many heads anymore because it feels like there’s a 911 everywhere you look. Maybe it’s the fault of the Cayenne and Panamera for making the Porsche brand more commonplace, or maybe it’s the fact that so many people have bought 911s because it is such a great car. Either way, though, the basic 911 just doesn’t seem worth the kind of money Porsche is asking these days.
What might those numbers be? Well, you have to figure in some of the basic options that everyone wants on their 911. The basic Carrera starts around $84,000, but the minimum functional options we all want on it bring that price up to around $100,000. But then again, the Carrera isn’t even the 911 you really want, no, you want the Carrera S, and that’ll run you at least $99,000, or around $135,000 with all of the must-have options. Also, as you can see in the above photo, you can option the price of a standard 911 Carrera up to over $150,000.
All of that money for a car that will barely get a second look these days, is that really how you want when you spend so much? It sure isn’t how I’d spend mine.
Look, I love Porsches, the 911 specifically. But the Carrera and Carrera S models are all a bit of a ripoff at this point. If you want one, but also want to be smart with your money, might I reccomend a certified pre-owned 911. Sure, it’s a few years old, but you won’t waste tens of thousands of dollars nickle and diming yourself with Porsche’s optional extras.
In my opinion, decent value in the Porsche 911 range begins with the GT3 and goes up through the Turbo models. Those all have the performance and a bit more visual distinction to back up a heftier price tag.
Now, if I’m looking to buy a sports car in the sub $140,000 range, there are some far more attractive offerings than any of the 911 Carrera models…
Audi R8 4.2
The V8 equipped Audi R8 has similar performance to the 911, but offers the full experience of owning an exotic supercar. Heads will turn everywhere you go because such a car brings with it a sense of occasion. 450hp from a revvy naturally aspirated V8 isn’t bad either, even if it’s not in an entirely different league than the Porsche.
Jaguar F-Type V8 S or R
The F-Type is a bold sports car from Jaguar that gives a nod back to the legendary E-Type. Under its sexy body lines lurks a supercharged V8 with 500-550hp… compared to the Porsche’s 350-430hp. Prices for a well-optioned F-Type typically fall in the $100-$115k range.
Chevrolet Corvette Z06
For those who don’t mind leaving their white collar at home when they go for a drive, the new hot Vette offers performance that cannot be matched for anywhere near the price point in question. 650hp from a supercharged V8, and it’s lighter than most of the other cars listed here. Forget worrying about beating a Porsche 911, this Corvette will embarass a Lamborghini Aventador and a Ferrari 458 on the track. If all-out performance is your biggest concern, then the Corvette Z06 is surely your ticket, and you’ll have a lot of money left over because its starting price is only around $78,000.
About as cliche as the 911 Carreras with about the same level of performance. The only difference is it’ll run just over $80,000 with all of the goodies on it, so you can do something else with the $60,000 you save.
Certainly not the pure-driving car that the 911 is, but the Nissan GTR is a machine that produces some serious numbers. Not a bad car by any means, and certainly less boring at this point than a standard 911. It’ll cost you $100-$120k.
Mercedes AMG GT-S
Maybe my favorite of the new “911 competitors.” Early opinions seem very optomistic for the AMG GT. It seems to have a lot of the appeal that a Jaguar F-Type has mixed with the same sort of driving precision that is so sought after in the Porsche 911. The AMG GT-S flexes 503 “German horsepower” out of its twin turbocharged 4.0L V8… “German horsepower” meaning add another 10-20% to the number they give. Pricing for the GT are rumored to begin in the neighborhood of $120,000. This is the one to watch, people!
So with all of those more attractive options, why would any thinking buyer still go for a 911 Carrera model? Don’t get me wrong, they’re great cars, but they have become vastly overpriced for what they are in my opinion. That said, part of me does hope that enough suckers keep buying them, because brand new 911s become used 911s at a much better value in the future.
So to all of you scoffing at me right now, with you brand new 991 Carrera in the garage, I look forward to picking up one just like yours in a few years for 1/4 of the price… just please, go easy on the break-in miles for me, will you?