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Porsche 911 Turbo S (991): Review

Faster, fancier and a little bit fatter - the 991 Turbo is here

By Dan Prosser / Friday, August 23, 2013

My main duty here is to try and impress upon you just how stupidly fast the

is on the road. Take a stretch of asphalt, perhaps three of four miles long. It runs up and down a hillside, beneath the cover of thick trees. There are some sighted corners to which you can commit, but others are blind and two or three are tight hairpins.

If Dan looks calm he hasn't hit 'go' yet...

If Dan looks calm he hasn't hit 'go' yet...

Starting from the top, you hit Sport Plus, think balls to dialling yourself in and just floor the throttle. Utterly without hesitation, 553lb ft of torque and unbreakable four-wheel drive traction launch you down the road with such force you think the seat back might snap. Your conscious mind has been left behind so it's with instinct that you pull for another gear without lifting, at which point the Turbo S surges forward again with just the same intensity.

The tight corner that was once at the end of that long straight is just ahead now, so you stand on the brake pedal and the monster calipers and 410mm carbon rotors hang you in your seat belt. Tugging on the left hand paddle and staying hard on the brakes, you aim towards the apex. The front tyres dig in and the car attacks the clipping point with not a hint of wash. You force yourself back onto the power much earlier than seems appropriate, feeding it in as you wind off the lock. The process begins again.

Branded splitter emerges at speed - mmm

Branded splitter emerges at speed - mmm

Pain in the neck

That's what every spirited drive in the Turbo S feels like. There are several factors that make it so outrageously effective; the huge torque and much more useable top end of the twin-turbocharged engine, the four-wheel drive system that can only be overwhelmed if you completely disregard the traction circle, the sheer speed of up- and down-shifts, the force of the brakes and the agility of the front end. For all those elements, I cannot conceive of another road car that matches the Turbo S for performance on a twisting road. From the outside, it sounds like a natural disaster.

The Turbo S gives you options mid-corner and by transferring weight on the brakes you really can influence its behaviour. Brake deep into a corner, on road and track (it's a more engaging circuit car than you might imagine), and understeer just isn't a factor. From there, it settles onto its outside tyres, digs in and just grips and grips, the front so brilliantly tied down.

The Turbo has been piling on the pounds

The Turbo has been piling on the pounds

For this latest model, Porsche has introduced a third 911 bodyshell. It's 28mm wider than the

shell, which allows the Turbo models an extra wide rear track, but that does sit at odds with the 911's trademark wieldiness. There are adaptive front and rear spoilers to increase downforce by 132kg at 186mph and active rear steering, which between them are worth four seconds around the Nordschleife, as well as bigger carbon brakes, more power and clever chassis systems that keep roll and lurch in check.

Same, more so
Everything about the new 991-generation Turbo S has been developed to get you from one end of a stretch of road to the other faster than ever before. On the optional road-legal track rubber - which is much better suited to the stresses of track driving, rather than simply being a bit stickier - the Turbo S monsters the 'ring in 7min 24sec. It'll do 7min 27sec on conventional fast road tyres. Both are faster than Walter Rohrl in a Carrera GT.

Conservatively luxurious, brilliantly put together

Conservatively luxurious, brilliantly put together

Beyond the sheer pace of it, the Turbo S is luxurious inside and it rides well enough for daily use at low and medium speeds. At higher speeds the ride of my test car became unsettled, but that's because it was running the middle of three tyre pressures recommended by Porsche, given that the launch route included some fast Autobahn. The lowest pressure should improve both ride quality and track performance. In the UK it'll be the default mode because we can't exceed the critical 170mph mark (or, at least, shouldn't).

The PDK gearbox, meanwhile, works very well indeed in auto and manual modes. There's no proper manual option, but I just don't think you'd be able to keep up with the pace of the rest of the car with a stick and pedal.

Spare part
The electrically assisted steering doesn't offer any true feel. It's crisper than a standard Carrera's and, thanks to specific calibration work and the rear-wheel steering, it feels more responsive, but still numb, as is the brake pedal.

More track-worthy than Turbos of old too

More track-worthy than Turbos of old too

Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control, so contentious on the standard Carrera, is optional on the Turbo and standard on the Turbo S. Effectively variable anti-roll bars, the system cuts roll and prevents big yaw moments as a result of a sudden lift or stab of brakes. That's great for stability, but the consequence is that the front end has no sensitivity to a slight lift of the throttle at road speeds, which takes away a level of engagement.

It's another example of efficiency being prioritised over tactility.

The biggest issue for me, though, is that the driver's contribution to the Turbo S's alarming pace is really quite small. You do need to be alert to hold onto the thing and the sheer speed of it is fantastic fun, but you don't step out after a fast run satisfied that you made it so. That's the GT3's job, though.

The new 911 Turbo S simply offers more of everything that existing owners love about their cars.


PORSCHE 911 TURBO S
Engine:
3,800cc, flat-6, twin-turbocharged
Transmission: 7-speed PDK, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 560hp@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 553lb ft@2,200rpm
0-62mph: 3.1sec
Top speed: 198mph
Weight: 1,605kg
MPG: 29.0mpg (claimed)
CO2: 227g/km
Price: £140,852

 

 



 
   

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