The Tesla Model S and the Porsche 911 Turbo might not seem to have much in common on the surface, but in reality, they compare nicely. So, which of these two luxury performance vehicles reigns supreme?
The Tesla Model S is the more versatile vehicle when compared with the Porsche 911 Turbo. The Model S provides the owner with equivalent, potentially even slightly better performance features without sacrificing space. It also features an electric powertrain that has a less expensive cost to own.
The differences between these two vehicles are plenty, with each car providing the owner with a fantastic driving experience. Continue reading for a direct comparison between these two high-performance cars.
Model S Vs. 911 Turbo
On the surface, these two cars might not have much in common. One is a fully electric four-door sedan, with plenty of room, while being significantly less expensive. The other is the quintessential two-door sports coupe, powered by gasoline, with a lot of horsepower, and the price tag to match.
But if we dig a little deeper, they actually make for a nice comparison. The performance aspects mirror each other well, and each has its drawbacks and advantages.
The easiest way to differentiate these two cars, besides the noticeable differences in propulsion, is driving experience.
A Porsche by Any Other Name
Ask any Porsche 911 Turbo owner, and they will rave about the pleasure they achieve from the driving experience. You don’t buy a 911 to be a bystander in the car.
If you have a Porsche, you really want to achieve the connection to your vehicle, the road, and the experience that it provides.
Tesla is No Slouch Either
On the other hand, as with all Tesla vehicles, the Model S is a practical everyday driver that allows your car to do the work while separating you from the driving experience. Yes, you are still in control of your vehicle, but they’ve incorporated features that let your car do the heavy lifting like:
From a versatility standpoint, the Model S clearly reigns supreme. Still, if you are looking for the unique driving experience that you can only gain from taking control of your car, then the Porsche is your vehicle.
Continue reading for more of these cars’ differences and why you might want to choose one over the other.
Benefits of Electric Vs. Gas
Perhaps the most obvious difference between these two impressive vehicles is the method by which they’re powered.
The Porsche 911 Turbo is conventionally powered by gasoline, while the Tesla Model S is a fully electric vehicle.
General Benefits of Electric Over Gasoline
There are several benefits achieved by the use of fully electric vehicles compared with their gasoline counterparts:
- Renewable Energy
- No Emissions
- Tax Credits
- Quicker Acceleration
- Lower Cost to Own
The U.S. Department of Energy provides an excellent breakdown of benefits achieved from electric vehicles.
Environmental Considerations of Gas vs. Electric
Electric cars are a friendly alternative to gas-powered vehicles, which burn non-renewable fossil fuels. While their batteries still pose environmental issues. The long-term benefits of electric cars overcome these fossil-fuel shortcomings.
As with other electric-powered vehicles, there are no direct emissions that come out of the Tesla Model S. Direct emissions from gas-powered vehicles include greenhouse gases and other pollutants that contribute to smog and global warming.
Energy.gov is a fantastic resource for information on electric vehicles and how they are helping reduce pollution.
Economic Benefits of Electric Over Gas
When you buy an electric car, such as a Tesla, there are also tax incentives involved, reducing the vehicle’s cost. This tax incentive is also helpful since, generally, electric cars are more expensive initially than gas-powered vehicles. However, that isn’t the case in this comparison, but we’ll get to that later.
Performance Comparisons Between Electric and Gas
Finally, electric vehicles are both quieter and quicker than gas vehicles. It may come as a surprise that electric cars are quicker, but since they create more torque, the power is instantly transferred to the wheels to propel the vehicle forward.
Of course, when you purchase a Porsche 911 turbo, being quiet may not be your goal. Drivers usually want to feel their foot’s connection hitting the pedal and the guttural response of the 911’s exhaust.
Two-Door Vs. Four-Door
When we think about sports cars, there are a few aspects about them that instantly spring to mind.
One of those is the number of doors the car has: two.
The Porsche is a classic sports car in this regard, with two doors. This design fits the coupe styling that most sports cars are modeled around.
The Model S differs on this front.
The Tesla Model S may not be considered a classic sports car, regardless of some of the performance aspects it’s capable of achieving. And in line with not being viewed as a traditional sports car, it isn’t designed to look like one.
With the Model S, you get a four-door sedan that provides a few advantages over the two-door design of the 911 Turbo.
Advantages of Four Doors
Both of these cars have four seats, but the room that you get from the Porsche is limited, to put it kindly.
The 911’s Nonexistent Backseat Legroom
The back seats of the 911 Turbo make for a very tight squeeze, perhaps best suited for someone sitting with their legs crossed.
If you look on the Porsche website, they show an aerial view of the rear seats, which gives you a great perspective about the minimal legroom.
But that is what we have always come to expect from high-performance sports cars.
Being a two-door car, you will, of course, also have to fold down the front seats, and your guests will have to squeeze themselves into the back.
Actually Getting Legroom in a Performance Vehicle
The Model S, on the other hand, with its four doors, allows all passengers to sit comfortably. Since this car doesn’t have a traditional engine, the front cabin is extended forward, leaving much more room in the vehicle’s rear. The cabin of this spacious sedan provides 94 cubic feet of space for you and your passengers.
With almost three feet of legroom in the rear, even the tallest passengers can stretch out comfortably.
The four-doors also provide the advantage of being able to enter and exit the vehicle with ease. Instead of having to fold forward the front seats and contort your way into the car, you can just open your door and quickly enter or exit.
The storage options on these cars vary pretty significantly as well, as you might expect.
When you think of a sports car, usually, storage isn’t one of the exceptionally high features on your list of demands. However, in direct comparison to what the more family-friendly sedan offers, it’s necessary to discuss the differences.
Leave Your Large Luggage at Home with the 911
Famously, the Porsche 911 Turbo features an engine in the vehicle’s rear, leaving its trunk at the car’s front. The space provided by this front trunk is less than ample at just 5.1 cubic feet.
This limited space significantly reduces the number of belongings that you can store in this area.
Luckily, if you don’t have any passengers and fold down the back seats, you’ll create an additional 5.7 cubic feet of storage. Still not an overly impressive amount of storage, but it is something. Again, when buying a sports car, you have to know that your storage will likely be limited.
Pack for a Two-Week Cruise with Your Tesla
The Tesla Model S, on the other hand, comes with ample storage space.
Since it doesn’t come with a standard engine, it allows for two separate trunks, one at the back and a small extra storage area in the front of the vehicle.
The front trunk is tiny and only provides about 2.1 cubic feet of storage space. However, the traditional rear compartment offers a generous 26.3 cubic feet of storage space.
Like the Porsche, you can achieve additional storage space by folding down the rear seats. The total storage space once you fold down the seats is a very impressive 58.1 cubic feet.
When compared to the 911 Turbo, these storage differences are magnified but again, expected.
One car caters more towards versatility and a family presence, while the other only provides a thrilling driver experience, less concerned with passengers and storage.
If there is one aspect that you’d expect the Porsche 911 Turbo to excel in, it would be in performance, and it certainly delivers.
It’s True – Porsche Can Practically Fly
The 911 Turbo can go from 0-60 mph in 2.6 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 205 mph. It achieves these impressive speeds thanks to a considerable 640 horsepower.
Part of this performance is fueled by the large turbochargers that have been slightly redesigned for more efficiency and better airflow from previous generations.
Another factor that has a positive influence on performance is the gearbox. Simply put, the faster your car can change gears, the quicker you can go. The 911 Turbo features an 8-speed transmission that allows shifts to occur so quickly there is no interruption in power between shifts.
Don’t Underestimate the Tesla, Though
While you would expect that the 911 Turbo would have such impressive performance numbers, the Tesla sedan is less expected.
Unbelievably, the Model S has an even quicker 0-60 time, reaching these speeds in only 2.0 seconds. 0.6 seconds may not sound like much of a difference, but it’s enormous when discussing performance.
Thanks to the Dual Motor all-wheel-drive system employed by the Tesla sedan, both traction and torque are instantaneously controlled. This motor allows the microsecond’s power to be implemented to the tires to achieve the most efficient launch.
The Porsche does take the cake when it comes to top speed. Where the 911 surpassed 200 mph by five mph, the Tesla only reaches 200 mph. Perhaps that matters if you’re going to drive on the Autobahn, but really, what does it matter in real life?
In a traditional sports coupe, as in the 911 Turbo, such staggering performance is the norm, but it is undoubtedly much less expected in a family sedan.
Price is a huge determining factor when it comes to selecting a car. Not surprisingly, the Porsche is a very pricy car, even in its standard package.
Starting with zero added options, the “basic” Porsche costs more than $170,000.
You know that when you purchase a Porsche, you’ll have to spend a pretty penny, and if you are looking to make any upgrades at all, the additions are going to add up quickly.
Tesla certainly isn’t an inexpensive car in its own right.
The standard Tesla Model S costs just about $69,000. With incentives, Tesla estimates the car can be even less expensive.
When you compare the cars directly, you can see a little more than a $100,000 price difference between them. That means that you can buy more than two base Model S’s for the price of a single Porsche 911 Turbo.
Both of these cars have upgrades and customizations that make them even more impressive machines and drastically increase the price.
These cars come in different versions that make these cars even more powerful and add quite a bit to the sticker price. Even so, you do receive some pretty impressive benefits when you choose to spend the extra money.
Below are the various versions of each car that you can buy:
|Tesla Model S||Porsche 911 Turbo|
|Models and Associated Price||Long Range Plus: MSRP $69,420|
911 Turbo Cabriolet:
911 Turbo S:
911 Turbo S Cabriolet:
|0-60||Base Model: 3.7 Seconds|
Plaid: 2.0 Seconds
|911 Turbo: 2.7 Seconds|
911 Turbo S Cabriolet: 2.6 Seconds
|Top Speed||Base Model: 155 mph|
Plaid Model: 200 mph
|911 Turbo: 199 mph|
911 Turbo S Cabriolet: 205 mph
|Range per Charge||Base Model: 420 miles|
Plaid Model: 520 miles
|Convertible||No Option||Two Cabriolet Options|
From the base version of Model S to the most expensive and extreme Plaid version, you’ll notice a price jump of basically double the cost.
Porsche’s relative upgrade price is less expensive, but you are also receiving a lot less in return.
Case in point is that these numbers are even more impressive when comparing the Tesla to the Porsche. You can achieve relatively the same top speed, better 0-60 mph, and better range for significantly less money. Even with all of the extra money you’re spending on the Porsche, its performance is still dwarfed by the much less expensive Tesla.
Let’s take a look at the other Porsche upgrade and what you’ll get for the price:
- Horsepower jumps rather significantly from the standard 911 turbo to the Turbo S version. You gain 68 horsepower in total.
Customization is an area where Porsche definitely outshines the Tesla.
Starting with Making the Tesla Your Own
Tesla’s have minimal options for customization. Let’s discuss the options Tesla offers.
These are the three Tesla versions you can purchase:
- Long-range plus
Besides these options, Tesla offers three categories for customization:
- Technology components
Beginning with the exterior, you can choose from five different colors.
- Pearl White Multi-coat
- Solid Black
- Midnight Silver Metallic
- Deep Blue Metallic
- Red Multi-coat
You also can change your wheels, but you can only choose from a 19″ version and a 21″ version.
Those are the only exterior modifications that you can make.
The interior has even fewer options for customization.
You have the choice between three different interior color packages:
- All Black
- Black and White
Finally, the last customization you can choose from is whether to include the autopilot feature for city streets.
In total, you have 11 different options you can choose from when customizing your Model S.
Calling the 911 Custom Style
Compare that to the 911 turbo, which gives you more options than you probably care to choose.
For the exterior, there are 12 different standard colors that you can choose from, as well as four different upgrade colors. You can also select an option to have your car painted a custom color for an additional$12,830.
The interior also has a bevy of color options to choose from; 24 colors, in fact, and three different seat choices.
Porsche offers four different wheel choices and even gives you the ability to have them painted a different color.
Porsche also offers different customizations for the 911, including:
- Changes to lights
- Performance options
- Technology features
- Even child seat options
In total, Porsche gives you 238 different customization options so that you can get the 911 Turbo of your dreams.
As you might expect, these upgrades can add up quickly and increase the cost of your already expensive 911 Turbo significantly.
As we’ve discussed, the most significant difference between these two cars is one is a traditional gas car, and the other is electric.
Gas mileage isn’t usually a huge consideration when driving a high-performance machine like a 911 Turbo, but the gas mileage is commendable and compares nicely to the range achieved by the Model S.
Electric vehicles have had the long-standing misconception that you can’t take them on long trips because you’ll run out of power somewhere along the way. Even worse is the fear that you won’t be able to find an area to charge it once it’s died.
The Model S and Tesla proves these misconceptions wrong.
The Truth About the Electric Option
The Long Range Plus version of the Model S boasts an impressive 402-mile range. Even the Performance version, which has the incredible 0-60 mph time, can make it 387 miles on a single charge.
And for those people who think that this range isn’t long enough, Tesla has set up more than 18,000 supercharger stations worldwide. These stations are positioned in areas that are highly traveled.
These superchargers allow Tesla owners to recharge their cars as much as 163 miles in 15 minutes.
Relying on Gasoline Instead
The 911 Turbo, on the other hand, is a gasoline-powered vehicle, and with that comes the ease and convenience of gas stations, which you can find pretty much anywhere you look.
According to fueleconomy.gov, the 911 Turbo gets about 21 miles per gallon, with a range of about 370 miles*.
*These numbers are based on the 2019 911 Turbo because the statistics aren’t available for the newest model yet.
The 911 numbers are pretty comparable to the Model S, though slightly lower.
Is One Make Clearly Better than the Other?
So, how do we determine which one is better?
The ease and convenience of gas, which is more readily available, might make the 911 look like a more appealing option. Especially when the fuel runs out, and you can quickly refill it entirely in less than five minutes.
This is particularly compelling when compared to the less convenient superchargers, taking 15 minutes and not fully charging your car.
However, there is a considerable convenience feature with Tesla because you can charge your car at home. Every night you can charge your vehicle while you’re inside enjoying your evening.
Environmentally, electricity is much more friendly to the earth than fossil fuels.
What About the Cost of Fueling Up?
Then there is the cost of filling your gas tank versus charging your car at home.
The cost of electricity is different everywhere, but generally, you can expect to pay a couple of dollars to charge a fully depleted Tesla completely.
Compare this to filling the 17.6-gallon gas tank of the 911 Turbo. Even if the gas price is $3.00 per gallon (probably less than it will actually cost), you are still paying more than $50.00 per fill-up.
There are benefits and drawbacks to each car; however, the Model S will be less expensive to operate over the long run.
As long as you aren’t taking an extensive trip along unpopulated roads, the range achieved by the Tesla coupled with their charging stations should more than suffice.
Some of the most fundamental features that you can expect in a Tesla vehicle are the aids that simplify the driving experience. We’ve touched on these briefly earlier, but they bear repeating with some expansion so we can thoroughly compare these cars.
- Lane Change
The Model S features eight cameras and twelve sensors all around the body of the car. These cameras and sensors work to give a 360° view of surrounding objects to keep the driver safe at all times. Especially when using some of the automatic features like autopilot.
Autopilot is a Real Thing
Autopilot is an automatic self-driving feature that uses the guidance functions mentioned above to keep you in your lane and moving with traffic, without the driver needing to do anything. The car drives by itself, braking and accelerating as necessary.
Its lane-change feature allows it to change lanes by itself on the highway to ensure you’re traveling as efficiently as possible.
Autopark is a feature that several manufacturers have incorporated into their vehicles over the years, and Tesla is no different. Difficulties with parallel and perpendicular parking can be a thing of the past with the Model S.
Tell Your Car to “Come Hither”
The summon feature is an extremely unique and user-friendly feature. We’ve all been in situations where people parked too closely beside us, and we have a nearly impossible time scrunching our bodies up to make our way back into our cars.
The summon command works with your key or your phone app. Your car will autonomously drive itself out of the parking spot and stop at a predetermined location so you can get back into the vehicle, unincumbered.
It also comes in handy at home. If you park in the garage, it can start up and pull itself out of its spot and wait for you, warmed up, in the driveway. This feature is especially advantageous in cold or rainy weather.
From Tesla’s website, they describe their driving assist as a “stress-free driving experience.”
On the other hand, Porsche doesn’t include nearly as many driving aids, which again comes down to the driving experience Porsche is looking to create.
While Porsche has the more common parking assist feature and lane keep assist, and lane change assist, they haven’t implemented full self-driving. Porsche’s customers have come to expect a certain level of driving accountability, which doesn’t align with self-driving.
Tesla is providing the exact opposite. They are looking to improve safety and ease the minds of their drivers.
In the future, when full self-driving capabilities are accepted, Tesla can auto-update their Model S’s with the technology they already have.
This article shouldn’t be taken as an indictment of either vehicle. Each provides its owners with a different experience.
The Model S, with its four doors and spacious interior, is geared more towards a family environment. Do you still have the ability to push the limits of speed and handling like you would in a classic sports car? Yes.
But it is more than that.
Tesla is giving its owners a stress-free drive and safety features to boot.
Porsche, on the other hand, is sticking more to its performance roots.
Yes, it provides plenty of safety features to its customers, but it allows the driver to feel in control of the vehicle at all times. You may not have the same space as the Model S, but it can’t be beaten as a classic performance driving experience.