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When someone spots a Porsche and shouts “Check out that 911” the car they’re referring to could be one of many different kinds of 911, and unless you’re obsessed with the brand it’s highly likely that you may not immediately be able to identify just which 911 it is. As it happens, while the names can get you befuddled, every Porsche has an official name for showroom floors as well as an in-house type number, and to make it just that little bit more confusing these names can be the same, but there are models that aren’t. Some names can be logical like with the old Porsche 356 A 1500 GS Carrera. Decoding it, the Porsche 356 was part of the refined A-series range (A), with a 1500cc capacity (1500), was part of the Grand Sport trim (GS) and was linked to the Carrera nameplate (Spanish for ‘racing’). Seems like a good system, but somewhere along the way it got mixed up which is why a Porsche 911 can also be a Porsche 991.

While there are hundreds of classic names to explain, we decided an explanation on the modern ones is the way to go with this piece. Here’s a point-form rundown of the names of the current Porsche nameplates, starting with the Boxster. From the CS onwards, the names are for some well-known historic models. 


This one was first seen back in 1993 and is quite simply derived from the boxer engine layout. It’s clever, but also not because there’s a boxer engine in most Porsche products, 


This one harks back to the quad-cam Type 547 engine designed by Dr Ernst Fuhrmann. It soon saw use on the models with the stingers engines, as with the 911 Carrera RS 2.7. These days when someone refers to a Carrera it could be any 911, because it’s likely easier than remembering if it’s a 991, or 996 or something else with a 911 silhouette. The name originated from the Carrera Panamericana, a Mexican endurance race that Porsche kicked ass with in the iconic 550 Spyder.


As the name suggests, there’s a hybrid powertrain in Porsche models featuring this badge. Inside you’ll find a combination of an internal combustion engine and an electric motor.


The Executive is usually the best version, and on the Panamera an Executive badge features a stretched body that affords the rear rear-seat passengers better space.


GTS is an acronym for Gran Turismo Sport, originally a homologation class for motor racing. GTS is currently used to designate the especially sporty and exclusive models of a Porsche model series.


RennSport (Racing Sport) is where the RS badge is derived. RS-badged models are road-legal versions of a dedicated racing equivalent. But, it is also used on particularly sporty models, like the 911 RS America.


As above, it stands for RennSport (Racing Sport) combined with Rennwagen (Race Car) and this translates as racing sport racing car and is a dedicated competition version that’s not legal for road use.

S is a common one and it stood for either ‘Super’ or ‘Sport’ to denote a model with a more powerful engine. Today S is only seen to mean Sport for a higher output engine and equipment enhancements.

From the coach-making term for lightweight, open carriages for two people, the name ‘Spyder’ at Porsche is for open-topped mid-engined sports cars, just like ‘roadster’. 

The 911 Targa is an open-roofed version of the 911 with a distinctive roll-over protection bar and its fixed, removable roof section. The name comes from the legendary Targa Florio Sicilian road race and means ‘plate’ in English.

These models have forced induction from turbochargers, duh.

Simple. Power goes to all four wheels. 

Available from 1992, the Club Sport (CS) version of the 968 had the same engine but excluded electric windows, rear seats and air conditioning to save weight.

The Gran Turismo (GT) is a sportier version of the basic model with origins in motor sport when it was used to homologate vehicles for the GT class.

A near-production racing, non-road legal version as seen in the Porsche Carrera Cup.

Basic one, L is for ‘Luxury’. 

Introduced in 1964 on the 356 SC (Super C) and was intended to mark the end of the series. In a similar way to this, the 911 SC (Super Carrera) was introduced in 1977, and was also intended initially to be the last 911 model but the series continued with the 911 Carrera 3.2.

In Speedster models the windscreen was significantly lower when compared with the basic model for a more streamlined silhouette.

The T in the 911 T from 1967 stood for ‘Touring’, hence for a less expensive entry-level version of the classic vehicle with a less powerful engine.

Take a look at the YouTube video that does a decent job of explaining the different model designations on a bunch of 2021 model Porsches, something even the biggest Porsche fanatics can get confused by: Porsche Models Explained ( All Porsche Cars 2021 ) | Let Me Explain | Wheels Reviews

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