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Question of the Week

These are some of Top Gear readers’ favourite Porsche 911 models

We asked, you answered. But is there a more important consideration here, beyond simply which is the best?

Published: 22 Mar 2024

This Monday, we asked our readers which 911 model (of the 578,000 ever made) would take their vote in a ballot determining the greatest, and the response was… superb. Let’s dive right in and share some of your comments, beginning with Tyas Moerti’s support for something very special.

“Current 992s err too much on retro pastiche. The 991.2 Speedster has the perfect balance of classic and modern design in its elements. It is aggressive but refined, and it lends itself well to Speedster treatment with its double-bubble hump and rakish windscreen. Yes, the Speedster takes 4.2 seconds to reach 60, but the open-top experience with that GT3 engine more than makes up for it.”

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Then we came across this brilliantly written comment from Jay Kay, who recounts their experience with a bona fide, lightweight racer which tends to sell for outrageous sums these days. We are, of course, talking about the 2.8 RSR.

“It’s the 2.7 turned up to 11 - a race car that you drive to the track. The first time you wind up the glorious flat-six and hear it scream to 8,000, oh my god. I still get goosebumps on my arms, and I haven’t driven that car in over a decade. Or is it two, now? It seems like last week that I got to do a few laps around Watkins Glen, and then chunter down into town.”

But what makes a good 911, great? David Taylor explained: “To be the greatest, it has to combine two things: that very special feeling of compactness and the ability to surprise with a speed that’s way beyond what the numbers suggest.

“Early 911s have the lightness to go with the compactness, and later 911s have the speed but start to get too big. For me, the sweet spot is the 911 everyone loves to hate: the 996. And of them, the 996.2 GT2 is one of the greatest cars ever made. It’s small, tactical and analogue.”

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Let’s stick with the GT theme, and touch on AK Morris’ mention of one of the undisputed heavyweights (no pun intended) from the lineage: the 997.1 GT3 RS.

“Any 911 has to offer genuine usability, and with the prices of models like the GT3 RS 4.0 and classic air-cooled variants all skyrocketing into supercar territory, they’ve become too valuable to use regularly, let alone enthusiastically. The 997.1 GT3 RS, while still valuable, is arguably one of the more affordable yet seriously special 911s.

“It ticks all the critical boxes, like the Mezger engine, manual transmission, hydraulic steering, pumped guards, functional aero and so on. It also lands in the sweet spot between old and new, with the driving dynamics drawn from the air-cooled, ultra-tactile models, and the safety, infotainment and engine management tech from the modern cars. That means it doesn’t have to rely on a plethora of sensors and complex electronics to keep it at its best.”

The final comment we’d like to highlight was submitted by Imola, who preferred to keep things short and sweet and explain why they actually chose the 901: “It's the greatest 911 because it started the 911.”

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Predictably, all this means is that we’re back to square one. But is that really such a bad thing, or does it simply showcase the chameleon-like qualities of the 911 range, and will almost certainly continue to have as we head deeper into the electric future?

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