When it comes to brand identity few manufacturers can rival Porsche for a singular dedication to speed and style.
Although recent years has seen an increase in more family friendly concepts and adaptations, a mere glimpse of the famous Stuttgart coat of arms elicits memories of favorite models and iconic images.
Despite financial hardship in other areas of the economy, Porsche have continued to register improved sales year on year. No doubt this is down, to some extent, to the prevailing cultural influence of a brand that has seen ventures into motorsport, films and video games strengthen the position of the company.
Initially conceived as a vehicle consultation and development company, Ferdinand Porsche did not develop a car of his own until 1939 when he constructed three Porsche 64s as entrants for that year’s Berlin-Rome road race.
The fledgling automobile company were, like many manufacturers of the age, pressed into service during World War II. Their efforts contributed to the development of the Elefant tank destroyer.
Porsche’s post-war growth was slow as the legacy of conflict was felt across Germany. Development in the late 1940s and early 1950s relied on a strong relationship between Porsche and Volkswagen as they shared parts and development.
Porsche died in 1951- handing the reins over to his son, Ferry, who developed the first cars uniquely associated with the Porsche brand. His involvement led to the 1963 release of the original Porsche 911.
The model is given extra credence by its popularity with famous faces such as Tom Cruise, David Beckham and Steve McQueen all naming the 911 among their favorite cars.
Each new model is invariably compared to classics of the past- the Porsche 911 continues to be revered more than 50 years after the first version was made available to consumers.
Changes in the industry have meant that recent models of the same car share little more than a name, however the 911 remains one of the most iconic lines in motoring today.
Technological developments have meant that in recent years, speed has become king and cars released since Ferry Porsche’s death in 1998 figure prominently in our countdown of the top 15 fastest examples of the German sports car.
The Porsche 911 GT2 RS
With a top track speed of 205 miles per hour and an ability to move from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.4 seconds, the Porsche 911 GT2 RS is the fastest vehicle ever to come out of the German car stable.
With manufacture capped at just 500 units, the GT2 RS carries a not inconsiderable retail price of $245,000, however when compared to many other vehicles in the crowded luxury car market, Porsche’s fastest offering gives a prospective owner a high level of performance for a comparatively low sum.
With a heritage stretching back nearly 20 years, the GT2 RS was announced in 2010 as a reimagining of the 2007 model – dropping roughly 70kg in weight and breaking the then 7 minute 18 second track record at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. In 2017, the new Porsche 911 GT2 RS was revealed, and is the most powerful version yet with a turbocharged 700-horsepower 3.8-liter six-cylinder engine.
Porsche 918 Spyder
The 918 Spyder is sitting pretty in silver medal position on the Porsche podium. With a top speed of 202 mph and remarkable statistics recorded in testing at the Nordschleife circuit at Nürburgring, Germany, there is room for the Spyder to move right to the top of this list.
In terms of 0-60 speed for the Spyder to have dipped under the magic three second mark is an indication of a seriously impressive sports car.
The $845,000 price tag is out of keeping with Porsche’s other offerings- more than four times more expensive than the majority of vehicles on this list- however such is the level of performance recorded that the amount of units produced (918) does not sound unsellable.
Porsche Carrera GT
Years on from its original release, the Porsche Carrera GT remains near the summit of the Porsche speed mountain. Originally produced between 2004 and 2007, the 201.5 mph speed merchant was named as one Sports Car International’s top cars of the decade and eighth in the magazine’s top cars of all time section.
Each of the 1,270 produced vehicles is capable of moving from 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds with a 199 horsepower per pound ratio- an impressive statistic in the company of any supercar.
Inspired by a racing V10 designed for the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans race, the Carrera is also fashioned with environmental responsibility in mind with an onboard monitoring system and emissions indicator fitted as standard.
The extra speed, slice of green thinking and exclusivity does come at a cost; owners will need to find $160,700 before taking the Carrera GT home.
Porsche 911 Turbo S
Another 911, another set of impressive statistics. A top speed of 196 miles per hour is not quite enough to give the Turbo S top spot, however owners of this incredible machine should be comforted by their car’s superior 3.1 second 0-60 speed and clean design lines.
By way of comparison, the Turbo S is as fast to 60mph as the iconic McLaren F1 and sits just on the shoulder of the supercar when raced to 100mph.
In truth, the Turbo S is visually similar to previous 911 efforts and, in terms of engine improvement benefits only from relatively minor alterations rather than a full scale reimagining of a classic.
That said, the 2010 release wedged itself comfortably among the fastest vehicles ever to roll off the Porsche production line. This alone should be enough to earn the Turbo S total respect.
Will all of this in mind the $135,500 demanded by the manufacturer is neither surprising nor unwarranted.
Porsche 911 GT3
Slipping through the gears now, at number five on the list is the Porsche 911 GT3. Possessing a top speed of 194 mph and a capacity to move from 0-60 in four seconds, the GT3 has been in production since 1999 and has spawned a number of variations.
This consumer favorite was named after the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) GT class it was intended to participate in and draws much of its inspiration from the Porsche 962 and Porsche 911 GT1.
Specification wise more impressive than the standard 911, the GT3 had a distinguished racing career- winning the American Le Mans Series on seven occasions and the 24 Hours Nurburing six times.
Equally impressive is the car’s price tag- a $115,000 valuation makes the GT3 the cheapest vehicle on this roll of honor.
Clocking in at a tasty 187 miles per hour, the 911 Cabriolet is well placed on this countdown.
Still providing passenger seating on the snug side, the Cabriolet is certainly not a family car, although the most recent incarnation of the vehicle is designed to target a wider market.
The impressive performance and greatly reduced price tag of the Porsche Boxster has historically impacted the sales figures of the Cabriolet, however the quality of the fifth fastest Porsche has never been in doubt.
Aesthetically, the 911 Cabriolet introduces a more space efficient and sound emitting soft-top roof and those concerned about tire noise will be relieved to discover that this new incarnation has moved to eradicate the problems suffered by its older brother.
All of this is secondary, however, to the performance numbers generated by a vehicle capable of attaining a slot in this Porsche hall of fame.
Porsche 911 Carrera GTS
Promising a top speed of 190 mph and combined with its ability to move from zero mph to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, the Porsche 911 Carrera GTS slots into seventh place on this countdown.
Released in 2010, the Carrera GTS is a real all-rounder and one of the most popular among consumers. A less eye-watering price tag than some of its contemporaries ($103,100) has no doubt aided sales despite a division in opinion over the vehicle aesthetic.
The faster, more powerful younger brother of the Carrera S weighs in at 1420 kg and can boast a 3.8 litre engine from which it is capable of producing 402 bhp at 7300 rpm.
Some have questioned the way in which the GTS was formed, arguing that more could be done to distinguish the new Carrera from the old. However, despite this, the GTS has proven highly popular with consumers, not least because the performance improvements have not come at a premium price.
The Porsche 911 Speedster
Porsche 911 Speedster comes in at number three on the price list but sits at number eight in the speed stakes.
Fetching a touch over $200,000, the 911 Speedster tops out at 189 mph in tests and moves from 0-60 in 4.4 seconds. What it lacks in latent speed, however, it more than makes up for in historical significance.
A car for all seasons, and arguably Porsche’s most versatile engine, the Speedster has been all things to all consumers since first conceived back in the 1950s.
An affordable motoring alternative in post-war America, an expression of yuppie decadence and status in the 1980s and now an eye-wateringly exclusive expensive toy of joy, the Roadster has ticked every box.
Only 356 of the machines are in circulation and this in part accounts for the $233,000 price tag.
Porsche Panamera Turbo
The Porsche Panamera Turbo is the ninth fastest Porsche and the quickest saloon car offered by the German manufacturer. The Turbo has a top track speed of 188 mph and can hit 60 mph in four seconds flat.
By 2013 over six thousand units had been sold in the US alone after the Panamera Turbo was announced in 2009- as clear an indication as any that the offering is the most family attractive vehicle to be released by Porsche since the Porsche Cayenne.
This 2009 release boasts a top speed of 188 mph and can travel from 0-60 in four seconds- impressive by any standard.
Unusually, however, the Panamera is not exclusively about speed. Maintaining the identity of its other out and out speed merchants, the PPT deploys a cabin position comparable to the 911 while improving passenger comfort for all- a facet of its armoury that has not always been top of the list.
Prospective owners should expect to pay somewhere in the region of $135,000.
911 Carrera S
The first of many 911 models to make its way onto this list, the Carrera S, with an eye-catching top speed of 188 mph, only misses out on a higher slot on the list as a result of a ‘slow’ 0-60 speed (4.5 seconds).
The 911 line, with over 30,000 race victories already in its glove compartment, understands speed and it is no surprise that the range dominates this list.
Clocking in at the till just shy of $130,000 the iconic 911 shell, first penned by the late Ferdinand ‘Butzi’ Porsche- son of Ferry- maintains all of the character and flair that has made the 911 one of the most sought after sports cars in the world.
This edition, however, shows just how much has changed in terms of motorcar performance since the first 911 was introduced in 1963.
Sporting electric powered steering for the first time and with the manual version featuring a seventh gear and a paddle shift, Porsche have taken care to move with the times yet vowed not to mess with the classic formula. Butzi would be proud.