The 5 Best Porsche 911 Model Years

  • The best Porsche 911 model isn’t even a real Porsche, it’s the RUF CTR
  • The best Porsche 911 model years is the 996 911 because you can actually afford one
  • Porsche’s 997 911 brought reliability to the German sports car

Porsche has been building the Porsche 911 since 1964. Over those 58 years, the iconic rear-engine sports car has taken many forms, some more loved than others. In light of the 911’s near 60 year anniversary (we’re impatient), we decided to make a list of the most iconic, best Porsche 911 model years ever.

A yellow 996 Porsche 911 GT3 shot from the front 3/4
The 2003 996 Porsche 911 GT3 | National Motor Museum via Getty Images

People hate the 996 Porsche 911 and that’s a good thing

We’ll start with some runny eggs, only they’re headlights, not the thing that came before the chicken. The 996 Porsche 911 ended the air-cooled era of the iconic sports car and debuted with some controversial looks. Porsche fans couldn’t stand the 996. As such, this makes our list of the best Porsche 911 model years simply because it’s the one almost anyone can afford. See our buyer’s guide on the 996 911 here.

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Why is the 993 911 so expensive?

A yellow 993 Porsche 911 shot from the front 3/4 in a photo booth
We’re suckers for a yellow 911, especially an RS | Daniel Pullen via Getty Images

We’ll move back a 911 model year next. This is the pinnacle of air-cooled Porsche performance. At least until Singer cars came along. The 993, as a result, has seen a huge spike in values. It’s also becoming more expensive because the kids that grew up dreaming of the 993 Porsche 911 can buy one with their own money. Sometimes, you gotta pay for greatness.

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Is the Porsche 997 911 reliable?

A black 997 Porsche 911 Carrera shot from the front 3/4 on a gravel drive
The 997 Porsche 911 Carrera S is thought by many to be a return to form | National Motor Museum via Getty Images

Generally speaking, the newer the 911, the more reliable the 911. And that’s exactly why the 997 Porsche 911 makes our list of the best Porsche model years. With the famed IMS bearing issue fixed, the 997 generation is a reliable sports car you can drive every day, and for that, we love it. Oh, and a minimum of 350 hp, more than any Carrera that came before.

The 911 GT3 RS 4.0 is peak GT3

A white Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 shot from the front 3/4
If you want flat-6 noise, the 911 GT3 RS 4.0 is your kind of ride | Daniel Pullen via Getty Images

But if it’s power you want, you need a very specific Porsche 911 from a very specific year. The 493 hp 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 might just be the best of the famed “Mezger” engine, and we really can’t argue with that. This is, in our eyes, the car that took the GT3 from a fast 911 to something truly incredible.

The best Porsche 911 isn’t even a Porsche

While the 463 hp RUF CTR, or “Yellowbird,” isn’t a specific range of Porsche 911 model years, it deserves to make an appearance on the list, just like the GT3 RS 4.0. If you haven’t seen “Faszination on the Nürburgring,” please give it a watch. Spanning from 1987-1996, only 29 were ever built by Porsche tuning company RUF. Whether that’s enough to constitute a group of model years is up to you. But one thing’s for sure: this is unequivocally the best Porsche ever. And they didn’t even build it.

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