Understanding Porsche Models & Trims

Porsche. It’s the one car brand synonymous with performance and history. It even has a model, the 911, that reigns as one of the longest running sports-car models in the automotive world — and for good reason. And from this venerated 911 to the Panamera, there continues to be so much for enthusiasts to appreciate.

Stuttgart, Germany. The birthplace of Porsche, an automobile distinguished by meticulous details yielded from the quest for perfection. There is, however, an inherent problem with that: Porsche creates vehicles with nuanced changes to perfectly fit the needs of different styles of drivers. The cyclical exchange between consumers and brand to curate ideal models and trims.

Codification. Among today’s selection, Porsche has so many variations that there is a specific set of model codes to help differentiate because it can be quite daunting and confusing. I want to help you with a breakdown, in general terms, where each model and trim fits into the Porsche lineup. We’ll focus on the current and recent trims, even though there have been far more throughout Porsche’s history.

So, that begs the question: Why are we discussing this on a digital marketing blog?

Well, I’m a gearhead. And our company regularly develops content for our Porsche dealer clients. In our keyword research with Search Console, MOZ, and other tools used regularly, we’ve seen a need for a clear explanation of each trim by the volume of questions asked by shopper.


A Brief Porsche History …

Porsche was founded by Ferry Porsche in 1936. Originally, the brand didn’t produce its own vehicles, but it offered engineering consultations to other manufacturers. Over time, however, leaders in the company realized there was an opportunity to begin creating their own vehicles and make an even bigger mark on the automotive world.

Since then, Porsche has become widely accepted as one of the finest sports car manufacturers on the planet and has expanded its offerings to sedans and SUVs to serve an even broader audience. Its vehicles are known for their excellent handling and connection between the driver and vehicle.

Through the decades, Porsche has consistently offered an increasing amount of choices within its model range, both by growing the number of models it offers and also by the trim levels within each model. On an even more granular level, which we’ll leave for another time, there are countless options within each model and trim combination, meaning you can order an extremely customized vehicle you can be sure your neighbor won’t also have (especially if you opt for the Bordeaux red leather interior with yellow seat belts – YIKES!)

A Brief Overview of Each Model and Trim Level

Before we dive in, let’s define a few terms that are common to the Porsche brand:

  • Cabriolet: A term used to describe a convertible. Most often used in relation to the 911 model range.
  • Targa: An interesting compromise between a hardtop and a convertible bodystyle of a 911 model. Offered with a folding glass roof, the Targa is easy to spot among other 911 trims.
  • S: A sportier version of the core model, offering more power and performance-oriented features.
  • 4: This denotes a trim offering all-wheel drive.


Porsche 718 Boxster

The Boxster is a mid-engined, two-seat convertible sports car that exists as Porsche’s most affordable entry to the sports car market, while offering Porsche-level performance and handling.

The 718 Boxster received a name change with the addition of 718 in the 2017 model year, in tandem with the model’s shift from a normally aspirated flat-six “boxer” engine to a flat-four turbocharged powerplant. The 718 name was revived as a nod to the Le Mans-winning four-cylinder racecar of the 1950s.

Trim levels include:

  • 718 Boxster: This is the core trim level and offers plenty of performance as standard.
  • 718 Boxster S: This trim boasts increased power and more performance-focused features while sharing the same platform as the Boxster.
  • Boxster GTS: While this model isn’t currently in production, this is often considered the “driver’s” choice, with a well balanced blend of performance and luxury features. The GTS has become known for offering all the major performance option boxes checked, along with several trim-exclusive visual options like larger rims and darkened headlights.


Porsche 718 Cayman

The 718 Cayman is very closely related to the 718 Boxster and includes a hardtop instead of the folding soft top of the Boxster model. Enthusiasts see the Cayman as being slightly more performance-focused than its drop-top sibling because of the increased rigidity of a fixed roof.

Trim levels mostly mirror the Boxster as these two models are very similar:

  • 718 Cayman: This is the core trim level and offers plenty of performance as standard.
  • 718 Cayman S: This trim boasts increased power and more performance-focused features while sharing the same platform as the Cayman.
  • Cayman GTS: While this model isn’t currently in production, this is often considered the “driver’s” choice, with a well balanced blend of performance and luxury features. The GTS has become known for offering all the major performance option boxes checked, along with several trim-exclusive visual options like larger rims and darkened headlights.
  • Cayman R: This is a very limited-edition, race-focused model that was produced on the last version of the Porsche Cayman and isn’t currently in production. Worth noting are its fabric door pulls (weight savings!) and addictive exhaust note.


Porsche 911

Fasten your seatbelt. Brace yourself.

The Porsche 911 has, by far, the most variations of any Porsche model. The physics-defying, rear-engined 911 is widely revered as an industry benchmark for usable sports cars. In continuous production since 1963, the iconic 911 is a go-to choice for discerning commuters and weekend racers alike, offering an excellent balance between comfort and performance.

For trims, we’ll focus on the current model’s offerings, as this post would otherwise turn into a novel:

  • 911 Carrera: The core 911 model, offering a hardtop, two wheel drive, and plenty of performance despite there being sportier variants.
  • 911 Carrera S: Offers more power and performance than the Carrera and includes larger wheels, a different exhaust, and several other features as standard.
  • 911 Carrera Cabriolet: The convertible version of the 911 Carrera.
  • 911 Carrera Cabriolet S: The convertible version of the 911 Carrera S.
  • 911 Carrera 4: The all-wheel drive version of the 911 Carrera, offering better performance and stability in difficult driving conditions.
  • 911 Carrera 4S: The all-wheel drive version of the 911 Carrera S, offering enhanced stability combined with the S’s increased power output.
  • 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet: A 911 Carrera model with a convertible top and all-wheel drive.
  • 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet: A 911 Carrera S model with a convertible top and all-wheel drive.

Porsche 911 Targa 4S

  • 911 Targa 4: The Targa is an unusual version of the 911, offering a blend of a hardtop and a cabriolet. This unique design features a glass roof that tucks away under the rear hatch, leaving an opening only over the front row seats and is not a complete convertible. This trim is easy to spot in its current generation by the distinct silver roll bar behind the front row seats. All Targa trim levels offer all-wheel drive.
  • 911 Targa 4S: A Targa bodystyle with the drivetrain of a 911 Carrera S.
  • 911 Turbo: Yet another historic 911 model. The 911 Turbo is synonymous with luxury and performance. Offered with standard all-wheel drive to help cope with the increased output of its twin-turbo flat six engine, the Turbo covers ground like few other cars can, regardless of the conditions.
  • 911 Turbo S: The Turbo S is an even more performance-focused version of the 911 Turbo, offering increased power and numerous performance-enhancing options as standard.
  • 911 Turbo Cabriolet: The convertible version of the 911 Carrera, so you can blast down a twisty back road in the snow with the top down. Does it get any better than this?
  • 911 Turbo S Cabriolet: In fact, it does get better than the 911 Turbo Cabriolet; with the S version you receive the increased power output of the 911 Turbo S model.
  • 911 Carrera GTS: Similar to the Boxster GTS, the 911 Carrera GTS is considered the Goldilocks of the 911 range, with plenty of power, stunning looks with its exclusive wheels and trim pieces, and all the right performance-enhancing options, all at an excellent price.
  • 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet: The convertible version of the 911 Carrera GTS.
  • 911 Carrera 4 GTS: The all-wheel drive version of the Carrera GTS
  • 911 Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet: The all-wheel drive, convertible version of the Carrera GTS.
  • 911 Targa 4 GTS: The GTS version of the Targa 4, offering a folding glass roof and all-wheel drive.
  • 911 GT3 RS: The 911 GT3 RS offers blistering acceleration and the hard-edged performance of a Porsche racecar. Not for the faint of heart, the GT3 RS happily compromises luxuries and ride quality in the name of lap times and track-day handling.
  • 911 R: A very limited-edition model purposefully built to be as involving as possible. In recent years, the advance of technology has often created a boundary between the driver and machine. The 911 R reverses this by only offering a manual gearbox, the powerful engine of the GT3 RS, decreased sound deadening, and myriad other features and details that make this model one of a kind.


Porsche Panamera

Porsche’s offering for the luxury sedan segment. This model sets itself apart from the likes of BMW, Mercedes, and Audi by focusing first on driving dynamics — and then on luxury. For 2017, this model has been redesigned with a more attractive body, increased performance, and more technology than ever.

Trim levels include:

  • Panamera: The core model, offering two wheel drive, a luxurious interior, and plenty of power to out-accelerate most normal vehicles on the road.
  • Panamera 4: The all-wheel drive variant of the Panamera.
  • Panamera 4S: An all-wheel drive Panamera offering increased performance from its powerplant and additional standard features over the Panamera and Panamera 4 models.
  • Panamera 4 Executive: The long wheelbase version of the Panamera 4 offers increased space for rear seat occupants. These models are common for executives who sometimes prefer to be driven, allowing for them to work in the rear seat.
  • Panamera 4S Executive: The Panamera 4 Executive with the upgraded powertrain and performance options of the Panamera 4S.
  • Panamera 4 E-Hybrid: A technological showpiece, the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid offers both a gasoline engine and an electric motor that combine to enhance both performance and fuel economy. 
  • Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Executive: The long wheelbase version of the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, offering the same powertrain.
  • Panamera Turbo: Similar in philosophy to the 911 Turbo, the Panamera Turbo combines blistering pace with luxurious features. Offering a twin-turbo powerplant, this Panamera is among the quickest variants and doesn’t sacrifice comfort while pursuing speed.
  • Panamera Turbo Executive: The long wheelbase of the Panamera Turbo.


Porsche Macan

The Porsche Macan is the marque’s smallest, sportiest offering in the popular sporty-SUV segment as an alternative to models like the Jaguar F-Pace, Land Rover Range Rover Sport, and others. Smaller than the Cayenne, the Macan boasts a playful demeanor and multiple trims:

  • Macan: The base model, offering the same Porsche engineering and characteristics as higher trim levels at a more attainable price. All-wheel drive comes standard.
  • Macan S: Following Porsche’s naming conventions, the Macan S brings an uprated powerplant and more performance-focused features as standard.
  • Macan GTS: Like Porsche’s other GTS models, the Macan GTS offers slightly more performance than the S model with additional performance-enhancing options standard. Also boasting exclusive trim features like darkened headlights and taillights.
  • Macan Turbo: The current range-topping Macan model, with the most powerful engine and performance-focused features.


Porsche Cayenne

The Porsche Cayenne is a luxurious midsize five passenger SUV, offering a combination of Porsche performance, off-road ability, and comfort. Like other Porsche models, the Cayenne is offered in a number of different trims, ranging from the sensible Cayenne to the delightfully insane Cayenne Turbo S.

Trim options include:

  • Cayenne: The base model Cayenne offers a healthy amount of power, all-wheel drive, and performance-oriented handling, meaning this midsize SUV defies expectations surrounding its handling.
  • Cayenne Platinum Edition: The Cayenne Platinum offers the same powertrain as the Cayenne with numerous visual upgrades including larger rims, blacked out trim, sport seats, and more.
  • Cayenne S: The Cayenne S offers an upgraded powertrain over the Cayenne model which offers quicker acceleration and comes paired with numerous other performance-enhancing options like larger wheels and tires and larger brakes.
  • Cayenne GTS: Similar to other GTS models, the GTS takes the S model, upgrades performance slightly, and pairs that with numerous performance-enhancing packages to create an enthusiast-focused model.
  • Cayenne Turbo: The Cayenne Turbo offers rapid acceleration with even more luxury features as standard.
  • Cayenne Turbo S: The Cayenne Turbo is the performance pinnacle of the Cayenne range, boasting an upgraded powertrain versus the Turbo model.
  • Cayenne S E-Hybrid: Similar to the Panamera E-Hybrid, this Cayenne features both a gasoline motor and an electric motor, providing increased performance versus the Cayenne S while handily beating that model in fuel economy.
  • Cayenne S E-Hybrid Platinum Edition: This trim combines the E-Hybrid powertrain with the visual and performance upgrades of the Cayenne Platinum Edition.

Okay, so you’ve memorized all of that, right?


So, let’s sum this up: there are many Porsche models and trim levels for almost everyone regardless of their needs or tastes. This iconic brand has evolved to be a competitor in the sports car, luxury sedan, and SUV segments by offering performance-focused models that entice shoppers away from larger brands like Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, and more.

Hopefully this breakdown helped clarify some the nuances of the Porsche range. Much like Porsche, we at Reunion Marketing pride ourselves on attention to detail. If you have questions about any of these models or about how we develop content for clients, feel free to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!

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