Changes to 2021 Porsche Models Include New GTS Models, Return of 911 Targa and Turbo, Refresh for Panamera

Erin Riches-Wong | Dec 02, 2020

There's plenty going on at Porsche for the 2021 model year. High-performance GTS models return to the Porsche Cayenne and 718 Boxster and Cayman lineups. A year after the latest 911 redesign, Porsche is rolling out the familiar Targa, Turbo and Turbo S flavors. Meanwhile, the 2021 Porsche Panamera receives extensive updates, including a new base engine, a new Turbo S model and yet another variation of the plug-in E-Hybrid. And Porsche has taken steps to make the all-electric Taycan a bit more convenient to own in 2021.

2021 Porsche Panamera Front View

2021 Porsche 718 Changes - Find the best car deals!

A pair of GTS models joins the 2021 Porsche 718 lineup, featuring a 394-horsepower, normally aspirated 4.0-liter boxer 6-cylinder engine. Porsche says the new 2021 718 Boxster 4.0 GTS and 718 Cayman 4.0 GTS can blast to 60 mph in a claimed 3.8 seconds when equipped with Porsche's 7-speed automated manual transmission better known as the PDK (shorthand for Porsche Dual Clutch in German). Purists can still get a conventional 6-speed manual transmission in these cars, but Porsche says you'll be about a half-second slower to 60. You'll also sacrifice a little torque, as PDK-equipped GTS models are rated at 317 pound-feet while 6-speed models top out at 309 lb.-ft. The PDK transmission has four driving modes, plus launch control, and is also a new option on the returning, 414-hp Cayman GT4 and Spyder models.

The entire 2021 Porsche 718 line picks up additional standard equipment, including adaptive bi-xenon headlights, dual-zone climate control, Apple CarPlay integration, heated seats, and rear and side auto-dimming mirrors. Python Green paint is new to the color palette, and no, it's not subtle.

2021 Porsche 911 Changes - Find the best car deals!

A new generation of the Porsche 911 arrived last year, so for 2021, Porsche has begun adding the familiar variations of its classic rear-engine sports car. First up is the 2021 Porsche 911 Targa, which is the 911 for consumers who can't decide if they want a coupe or convertible: The Targa has a power-retractable fabric roof panel over its front seats. The base Targa 4 has a 380-hp, 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine, and an 8-speed PDK automated manual transmission drives all four wheels through an all-wheel-drive system (there is no rear-wheel-drive 911 Targa). The 2021 911 Targa 4S has a 443-hp version of the 3.0-liter 6-cylinder. It also comes with the 8-speed PDK, but a conventional 7-speed manual gearbox is a no-cost option and includes a mechanical limited-slip rear differential and the Sport Chrono package.

Next, there's the 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo coupe and cabriolet (convertible). Like the Targa, the 911 Turbo is AWD, but a 572-hp, twin-turbocharged, 3.8-liter 6-cylinder engine gives it a more over-the-top character. The PDK is standard, and Porsche says both the coupe and convertible will reach 60 mph in under three seconds. Top speed is a claimed 198 mph. 

At the top of the 2021 Porsche 911 lineup, you'll find the 911 Turbo S coupe and convertible. In the real world, they won't be much quicker than the regular 911 Turbo. But who wouldn't want to drive around in a 911 that makes 640 hp and 590 lb.-ft. of torque? The 8-speed PDK and AWD are standard on the 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S, as are 20-inch front wheels wrapped in 255/35R20 rubber and 21-inch rear wheels with 315/30R21 tires. Porsche claims a top speed of 205 mph.

2021 Porsche Cayenne Changes - Find the best car deals!

Porsche's midsize crossover SUV family welcomes the performance-themed GTS model back for the 2021 model year. Available on both the standard 2021 Porsche Cayenne and the prettier but pricier Porsche Cayenne Coupe, the GTS has a 453-hp version of the automaker's twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8, along with an 8-speed automatic transmission and AWD. Porsche says the 2021 Cayenne GTS will reach 60 mph in 4.5 seconds.

Should you be interested in a plug-in hybrid Cayenne or Cayenne Coupe, the 2021 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid and Turbo S E-Hybrid have a higher-capacity battery pack rated at 17.9 kilowatt-hours versus 14.1 kWh for 2020. This change will provide more all-electric driving range, though until 2021 EPA ratings are available, we can't say how much more. (The 2020 Cayenne E-Hybrid was EPA-rated to travel 14 miles on electricity alone, and the Turbo S version was rated at 12.) The improved battery pack also has allowed Porsche's engineers to revise the driving modes for better efficiency and performance.

2021 Porsche Macan Changes - Find the best car deals!

Following significant updates for 2020, the 2021 Porsche Macan sees only minor changes. Apple CarPlay is standard across the board. 

2021 Porsche Panamera Changes - Find the best car deals!

Updates are extensive on the 2021 Porsche Panamera. The base Panamera now has a 325-hp, twin-turbocharged, 2.9-liter V-6 in place of last year's single-turbo, 3.0-liter V-6 engine. The 4S models already used the 2.9-liter engine in 2020 and see only a slight adjustment to their hp rating (now 443). The 2021 Porsche Panamera GTS gets a modest bump in power to 473 hp and has a revised throttle calibration to liven up its response off the line.

Last year's Panamera Turbo is discontinued in favor of a more potent Turbo S model, which uses a significantly revised version of the twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter V-8 engine rated at 620 hp and 604 lb.-ft. of torque. With the 8-speed PDK transmission driving all four wheels through a standard AWD system, the 2021 Panamera Turbo S zooms to 60 mph in a claimed 2.9 seconds on its way to an estimated top speed of 196 mph. The Turbo S is available on all three body styles: the standard Panamera sedan, long-wheelbase Executive, and Sport Turismo wagon. 

On the hybrid side of the lineup, a new Panamera 4S E-Hybrid slots in between the standard Panamera 4 E-Hybrid (455 total hp) and the Turbo S E-Hybrid (689 total hp). The 4S E-Hybrid combines the twin-turbo 2.9-liter engine with an electric motor and a higher-capacity 17.9 kWh battery pack to achieve a combined output of 552 hp. All 2021 plug-in hybrid Panameras get the upgraded battery pack and will offer more all-electric driving range and, most likely, a better driving experience. All three versions of the E-Hybrid can be had in any of the body styles.

Cosmetically, all 2021 Porsche Panameras have the previously optional Sport Design front fascia treatment as standard. A more pronounced light bar links the taillights in back, while the lower rear fascia has diffuser-style fins. There are a couple of new wheel designs and paint choices, too. Inside, you'll find a new steering wheel design.

Porsche says it has also revised the Panamera's suspension damping for better ride comfort and recalibrated the steering to be more communicative. The tires are all-new this year, as the engineers sought to find a more perfect compromise between grip and fuel efficiency. Finally, all 2021 Panameras have standard lane-keeping assistance with traffic sign recognition.

2021 Porsche Taycan Changes - Find the best car deals!

Changes on the 2021 Porsche Taycan have much to do with making the all-electric Porsche more convenient to own. The automaker has announced support for Plug & Charge capability (the ISO 15118 standard), which, starting in early 2021, will allow you to plug in your Taycan at select Electrify America stations and begin charging immediately just like Tesla owners do at a Supercharger. Billing is processed seamlessly, without any extra effort on the owner’s part. There's also a new battery preservation option that allows you to limit charging capacity to 200 kW (versus 270 kW) during long stops to help extend the service life of your Taycan's battery pack.

Porsche has added content to its Function on Demand service, which allows you to download certain factory options over the air for a Taycan you already own and either keep them permanently or subscribe to them on a monthly basis. For 2021, lane-keeping assistance and Porsche's InnoDrive adaptive cruise control and traffic jam assistance system can be ordered this way.

A head-up display is a new option on the 2021 Porsche Taycan. And on Taycans equipped with the optional air suspension, there's a new Smartlift function that allows you to set the suspension to raise automatically in specific locations you regularly visit – steep driveways, for example. Finally, Apple device users will be quite happy in the 2021 Taycan as it's the first vehicle to offer full integration of Apple Podcasts. They'll be a menu item in its touchscreen interface beginning in January 2021, and apparently, you'll have access to Apple's entire library.

Porsche is the source of information in this article. It was accurate on December 1, 2020, but it may have changed since that date. Always confirm product details and availability with the automaker’s website or your local dealership.

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