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Porsche 911 Turbo review: 5.0/5

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The great 911 Turbo lineage continues; we've driven the 991-series Turbo model on road and track.

Kyle Fortune

Words:

Published on: August 28, 2013

Words:

Published on: August 28, 2013

Tech Specs

Model testedPorsche 911 Turbo
Engine3.8-litre variable geometry turbocharged flat-six petrol
Transmissionfour-wheel drive, seven-speed PDK automatic
Body styletwo-door coupé
RivalsFerrari 458 Italia, Lamborghini Gallardo, McLaren MP4-12C
CO2 emissions227g/km (Band G, €2,350 per annum)
Combined economy29.1mpg (9.7 litres/100km)
Top speed314km/h
0-100km/h3.4 seconds (3.2 seconds with Sport Chrono)
Power520hp at 6,000- to 6,500rpm
Torque660Nm at 1,950- to 5,000rpm (710Nm at 2,100- to 4,250rpm with Sport Chrono)

Porsche throws all its technology at the 911 Turbo to create a 520hp machine that will monster just about anything on the road, yet retains the day-to-day civility of its Carrera relatives.

In the Metal:

With its wider rear haunches, deeper front bumper (now with active aero on the leading edge) punctured by larger air intakes and a large rear wing on the back the 911 Turbo follows its design DNA to the letter. It sits a bit uncomfortably though, the Turbo looking closer to its Cayman relatives than Carreras from some angles; particularly the front without the aero extended, while the flatter angle of bodywork over the rear wheel interjecting with the roof line does cause a double take - and the air intake in front of the rear wheel adds to that.

It's all functional though; those intakes are required to cool the engine and brakes, while the active aero does its thing at speed to produce downforce without adding drag. Those fatter wings cover a significantly wider track front and rear, too. Inside it's all familiar, only better equipped as standard.

Driving it:

This car's early predecessors might have had terrifying reputations, but since the 993 onwards the 911 Turbo has been civilised. That's despite a specification that reads pure supercar. The 911 Turbo's variable vane twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre flat-six engine produces 520hp and 660Nm of torque. Opt for the Sport Chrono pack for some overboost on those turbochargers and peak torque jumps to 710Nm - spread between 2,100- and 4,250rpm. It's hardly surprising to discover then that the Turbo is accelerative, the combination of a new electronically controlled four-wheel drive system (the old one being hydraulic), Porsche's seven-speed PDK automatic gearbox and numerous driver aids including traction and stability control allowing the 911 Turbo to dispatch 100km/h in just 3.4 seconds. Opt for that Sport Chrono and press Sport Plus and that drops to 3.2 seconds.

Do so with launch control and the force is incredible, yet for all the Turbo's ferocious potential it never feels wayward or difficult, the chief criticism of the power delivery being the very merest hint of a pause between you pushing your foot to the floor and the 911 Turbo doing its thing. Use all that power on the road and you'll be conspicuous in your speed, the ease by which the Turbo gains and carries speed testament to its refinement and exemplary chassis. The ride is remarkably composed given its near 320km/h potential, the steering quick - if light on information - and the brakes mighty for road use.

With the clarity of the GT3's steering and incisiveness of its PDK shifts both the steering and PDK in the Turbo feel muted in comparison. That probably suits the Turbo's more rounded brief better, and on track it's difficult to criticise the Turbo's ability to cover ground at astonishing pace. Traction is mighty, and with the revs in the mid range the Turbo gathers pace with ludicrous ease. What's surprising is how playful it is on track right up to and beyond its limits of grip; it moves around readily so it's easy to coax it from its natural understeer into a more neutral or tail-led stance. It'll never be driven so on the road, but it's good to know it can...

What you get for your Money:

Sitting at the top of the 911 pile - if you ignore the Turbo S - the Turbo comes comprehensively specified as standard meaning you could conceivably buy one at list price. Nobody will of course.

Worth Noting

Should you choose to start dipping into the options list it's worth considering the Turbo S. While its list price adds tens of thousands of Euro to that of the Turbo it features Porsche's dynamic chassis control system, ceramic brakes, 18-way electrically adjustable seats, Sport Chrono with active engine mounts and single nut 20-inch wheels, as well as its increase in output to 560hp and 750Nm of torque on overboost.

Summary

It's impossible not to be impressed by the breadth of ability that the 911 Turbo possesses. It's got all the day-to-day usefulness of its Carrera relations, yet adds an even greater level of performance to it. Offering staggering composure and pace, it's enjoyable when the opportunity allows you to exploit both. Sadly on the road you're rarely, if ever, likely to really reveal the 911 Turbo's incredible breadth so high are the speeds where it delivers the very best and most enjoyable facets of its performance. It's a remarkable car.



Tech Specs

Model testedPorsche 911 Turbo
Engine3.8-litre variable geometry turbocharged flat-six petrol
Transmissionfour-wheel drive, seven-speed PDK automatic
Body styletwo-door coupé
RivalsFerrari 458 Italia, Lamborghini Gallardo, McLaren MP4-12C
CO2 emissions227g/km (Band G, €2,350 per annum)
Combined economy29.1mpg (9.7 litres/100km)
Top speed314km/h
0-100km/h3.4 seconds (3.2 seconds with Sport Chrono)
Power520hp at 6,000- to 6,500rpm
Torque660Nm at 1,950- to 5,000rpm (710Nm at 2,100- to 4,250rpm with Sport Chrono)