997 Turbo

997 Turbo
997 Turbo

In a dramatic demonstration on a soaking wet Weissach test track recently, Porsche proved two things to us. Firstly, the Tiptronic version of the new 997 Turbo is significantly faster than its 996 Turbo predecessor down the quarter mile sprint. Secondly, it is also fractions faster through the gears than its own six-speed manual twin, a first time ever event for a self-shifting Porsche.

3.7 sec to 100km/h (62mph) for the Tiptronic car is simply astonishing, and while it shades its manual brother by 0.2 sec, it also beats the company's flagship Carrera GT, which clocks an identical 3.9 sec to the manual 997 Turbo with Walter Rohrl behind the wheel. Top speed is 194mph.

PTM

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However, the 997 Turbo's technological density runs much deeper than just sheer power. In a fast lap of Weissach against the 996 Turbo, we found that the new car has discernibly better balance. In line with other 997 models, the suspension has been uprated with PASM, Porsche's electronically controlled active damping system. But the big difference in the handling balance comes from Porsche Traction Management (PTM).

PTM uses a Borg Warner-made viscous clutch, that can open or close in just 100 milliseconds, to shunt power between front and rear axles as required to maintain optimum traction. This clutch also opens instantly to free the axles under ABS activation.

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Installed in the Getrag transmission, this viscous clutch is designed to deliver as much as 100% drive to either axle, although on a dry road under constant throttle, it send 60 percent of the power to the rear axle. The new system is superior in slippery conditions where it helps to reduce understeer without affecting the stability of the car. This was very evident when we were driven around the wet test track on the limit by Porsche's test drivers.

In the Driving Seat

When we got behind the wheel of the new Turbo ourselves a few weeks later, we chose the manual six-speeder, which will still be the enthusiasts choice, especially as Porsche are now offering a special derivative of the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyre as factory fitted alternative rubber. Either way, the tyres are 235/35ZR19 and 305/30ZR19 on lightweight 8.5J and 11J x 19-inch alloys.

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First impressions were of a car that has lost none of the low speed docility and polish of its predecessor. If anything, its secondary ride has been enhanced by the PASM active damping in Comfort mode. Porsche has learnt a lot about PASM settings since it first launched this system with the new 997 Carrera, and while the Sport setting is still not our choice for road use, the overall balance is much better and it is no longer over-stiff at the rear relative to the front.

480bhp
480bhp

While the performance numbers look good on paper, it is the potential pace of the new Turbo across real world roads that is most impressive. Massive power is not much fun on a public road if a car suffers from turbo lag. With the new VTG Variable Geometry Turbocharger technology, the 997 Turbo has no lag to speak of. Indeed it is so flexible that you can drive around at low speeds in a high gear when you are feeling lazy.

Overboost!

The counterpoint is that when you do push the accelerator pedal all the way to the carpet, ballistic acceleration is a given. The full extent of this experience is magnified if you specify the optional Sport Chrono pack. Apart from the dubious analogue stopwatch that blights the top of the dashboard, the SCP includes a fortified ECU map that allows 10 seconds of over-boost on full throttle.

While taking the normal 1.0 bar of peak boost to 1.2 bar does not affect the 480bhp that arrives at 6,000rpm, it does add another 60Nm (44 ft-lb) to the already beefy torque curve, resulting in a massive 680Nm (502 ft-lb) on tap between 2,100 and 4,000rpm.

And boy can you feel its effect. The surge forward as the car rockets away down the road is a serious g-force event. In the lower two gears you have to keep your wits about you if you are not to waste time through running into the rev limiter.

The other issue is that this bombastic acceleration is both intoxicating and very addictive, so if you are long on road and short on willpower, you will get through an awful lot of super unleaded!

Braking

Ceramics
Ceramics
The rapid rate at which you can pile on indecent velocity means that your approach speeds to corners will be significant. Here the latest ceramic brakes with their big yellow calipers and awesome stopping power provide a welcome safety net, but you need to remember that even they cannot change the laws of physics.

When you do arrive at a corner, you will find that turn-in is crisper than before, the PTM element of the revised 4WD system allowing the nose to be more pointy. And you can also play with the tail more to balance the car and encourage controlled power oversteer, with the PSM system allowing a reasonable angle of drift if you are smooth enough not to trigger its hand. As with other Porsche's, you can switch it off completely and then it will only come to your aid if you hit the brakes.

Steering

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We have said before that the variable ratio power steering Porsche introduced with the 997 Carrera is amazing because you don't realise it is there. It works just as well on the Turbo and makes fast driving effortless while delivering the kind of communication that Porsche drivers expect, and that means a lot more information about the road surface than is common with today's power-assisted steering systems.

For years, Porsche have proven that their rear-engined 911 platform is versatile enough to address several price and performance points in the market. And at each of these points, each individual model is capable of beating the competition in all-round ability.

£100,000
£100,000

At around £100,000 in the UK, the new Porsche Turbo is not cheap. But this most complete supercar of the lot leaves you with significant money in the bank compared to obvious rivals like the Ferrari F430 and Lamborghini Gallardo.

As has happened countless times before, just when the opposition were catching up, Porsche has put blue sky between its flagship supercar and rivals.

 

Comments (74) Join the discussion on the forum

  • woppum 29 Nov 2009

    well the new one certainly is. the one back from 2006 might not be?xmas

  • cayman-black 29 Nov 2009

    Heres my view i think the turbo is quicker to 100 than the z06,and i hope it is, and a better drive. finger crossed as i love them!

  • polar8 28 Nov 2009

    ponkyporky said:
    The whole thing is flawed mathematics. I expect everyone is bored with the exercise anyway but here's my bit.

    To get one thing straight, the assumption that the speed involved is the average of the start speed (always zero) and the terminal velocity added together and halved is incorrect. As everyone knows acceleration is not linear.

    The correct formula for distance travelled is simply:

    Distance covered = Avergage speed X time. Note: average speed is unlikely to be in any car the: start speed + final speed / 2

    As acceleration is far faster in the lower gears you spend much less time doing the lower speeds, the average speed will be biased far closer to the terminal velocity than zero. So it can never be the two added together divide 2

    taken to the extreme to illustrate:

    A. - If I had one real special space age drag car that gets to 59mph in 0,1 sec flat then spends 3,9 secs finding the next 1 mile and hour to get to sixty. Its average speed will tend towards being very close to 59 mph and it will have covered a lot of ground in 4 sec. (actual ground covered if ave taken as 59 mph is = 59 miles X 4/3600 = 0.06555 miles or 105 metres (at roughly 1600 metres a mile).

    B. - Is a rocket it hardly moves for the first 3,9 secs while the fuse burns and it inches forward at barely 1 mile an hour, but in the last tenth of a second it ignites hurtling the rocket car to 60mph in 0.1 secs getting it also to 60 mph at the tick of the 4th second whereafter a parachute opens and it is restrained at 60mph. for 39/40th's of the time this car did vertually no distance at all before shooting to 60mph and no further just in a tenth of a second time for the 4 second to apply. Distance covered equals ave speed times time. the average speed over the 4 sec's would be about 1.5 MPH if the rest of the time it was virtually still apart from the final tenth of a seconds squirt to 60 this would give a distance covered of 0.01666 or 2.6 metres, pretty impressive lurch to its terminal velocity! i can feel a nose bleed coming on.


    Clearly A had convex aceleration and the rocket was concave (flat before becoming exponetial). One spent a lot of time at a good speed therefore covering a lot of distance the other fizzed then popped for a mere moment. To calculate distance you need to understand the rate of change of velocity, commonly known as acceleration (acceleration is the first derivetive of velocity for calculus buffs).

    For distance covered immediate acceleration good, late acceleration bad. As the one will produce a higher average speed over the same time frame even though the terminal velocities may end up the same.

    I am aware that 993TT (great car by the way) did a similar type scenario with a speed break at 80km/h which illustrates the difference in distance covered above but he still took the average of two numbers one of which always has to be zero and the interim speed of 80km/h if you add the two numbers and divide by two that still assumes linear acceleration between the two points, instead of aknowledging the acceleration is higher lower down with most typical cars (apart from my rather cranky rocket in scenario B).

    Right now I am sure everyones got a headache, and no I won't be running the numbers over the 1/4 mile to see who wins, (I capped the rocket with a parachute, weren't you paying any attention at the back of the class. You yesss you, if you don't eat your meat, you can't have any puddin')

    Unfortunately, the equation falls over if time is not constant, which it's not in certain parts of the universe. Too much to drink tonight.

  • Pebody 02 Mar 2007

    O.K. guys, here goes...
    I will (hopefully) help answer the Vette Z06 /vs. 997 Turbo Question.
    I own a 2007 Porsche 997 turbo with ALL the bells and wistles. (triptronic, sport crono, ceramic brakes, etc...) and my best friend has a 2006 - Z06.
    My car is about 1 sec. faster from 0-60 than his.
    The Porsche is also about 1 sec. faster in the qtr. mile and will walk away from the Z06 on any back road. And no, It isn't becouse I'm a better driver. The all wheel drive has a lot to do with all of the above.
    When we run them from a stop light, his car has trouble hooking up (loads of wheel spin).
    I love the sound of the Z06 as compaired to my turbo. The Z06 is very much "in your face" if you like that kind of stuff. Also, He (Randy) paid 1/2 what I did. I could have pursched two Vette's for what I paid for the Turbo.
    Both cars are a blast to drive. Randy has had his car for a year and when I steped up to the plate, I bought the Porsche at twice the money and I am still happy I did, and would do so again. I would have to say, when it comes to the overall driving experience he and I both agree, if you have the cash buy the Porsche. This car does it all and does it very well. The 997 may not be twice to car for twice the money, but there is a very noticable difference in the two cars. To be fair, you really can't compair the two in the same way.

  • bean455 01 Jan 2007

    As I sell most exotica,and drive them daily,the 997 Turbo is the car for all occasions.Yes the Gallardo is sexier and will get you noticed,the 430 and 360 sound fantastic and have the Badge,but as an everyday supercar,trust me guys,the 997 is it.

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