The classic rear engined configuration with a flat six engine has always produced a thrilling drive, and over the years the 911 has been an incredible success. By constant technical innovation, the Porsche 911 has been at the head of the field right from the start, and the outstanding range of motorsport successes has proved it to be racing thoroughbred as well.
Produced as a coupe, a cabriolet and the Targa (a coupe with an extended sliding glass roof), enthusiasts can choose from a manual or Tiptronic version, some offering fingertip controls. The performance legend has grown with the Turbo, the GT2 and GT3 models.
The models produced between 1989 and 1993 that were the first to be offered with all wheel drive. Introduction of the 'Tiptronic' automatic transmission, Anti-lock brakes and power assisted steering.
The last of the air-cooled 911s and the first to introduce Tiptronic 'S' with steering wheel controls. Favoured by many purists for the distinctive driving characteristics and engine growl that were moderated with new technology and the water-cooling of the 996. This designation refers to 911s produced between late 1993 and early 1998.
Sold between 1998 and 2005, this was the 'evolutionary leap' for the 911. Introducing water-cooling and a higher performance 4 valve per cylinder engine. The body design was noticeably 'sleeker' than the 993. This marked the introduction of the GT2 and GT3 models. These 'stripped down' performance models emphasised weight reduction and power enhancement, with the GT2 offering 477 bhp.
Production of the successor to the 996 began in 2004, and is seen by many as a return to 'classic' Porsche design values with the return of the circular headlights and a reinvented interior.
Unveiled in 2011, the 991 was a completely new platform - only the third full resign since 1964. Stability, weight distribution and cornering ability saw a significant improvement with the introduction of a longer wheelbase and a new transaxle, which moves the rear wheels further back in relation to the engine. Efficiency was improved with the auto start/stop function fitted as standard to all Carrera models. Power across the range begins at 345 bhp, for the 991 Carrera, through to 552 bhp for the Turbo S. This generation immeadiately saw acclaim with the Porsche 991 being named World Performance Car 2012, and the GT3 taking the same title in 2014.
This is the current model of the 911.
The 'standard' Porsche 911 is known as the 'Carrera' and has variations with extra power, all wheel drive and different body styles.
911 Carrera - the standard 911
911 Carrera S - the 'sportier' version of the Carrera with extra power and some cosmetic changes
911 Carrera 4 - all wheel drive (hence the '4')
911 Carrera (available as standard model, as '2S' as '4", as '4S' in both cabriolet and coupe versions
911 Targa (available as Targa 4 and Targa 4S)
911 Turbo (available as cabriolet and coupe)
911 GT3911 GT3RS - a true 'homologation' race car, but very usable on the road
So if you are speaking to a Porsche enthusiast who mentions they have a 996 C4S Cab - you know they drive the Porsche 911 produced between 1998 and 2005, with 4 wheel drive, more power and in cabriolet form.
Of course we could also mention that the Carrera 4 S has the body from the Turbo with flared rear arches but no spoiler, red brake callipers and the twin exhausts, but you probably have enough to go on by now.