The Porsche 911 Turbo has long been the poster child for any self-respecting petrolhead – 40 years old this year, it remains a powerful weapon both on-road and on-track. The latest iterant boasts a 3.8-litre, six-cylinder twin-turbo engine that produces an almighty 552bhp in the range-topping ‘S’ version… more than enough to bother many a modern supercar.
Motors.co.uk headed to a sodden Silverstone circuit to put the four-wheel-drive system to the test and see if it handles as well on the surrounding country roads…
The 991 generation of the 911 Turbo (yes, we agree that the naming conventions get a little confusing) that comes packed with a raft of new technology, an injection of horsepower and exterior styling tweaks that make it even more desirable. Many would argue that the eye-catching and aggressive appearance of both the new Cayman and Boxster models has lessened the visual impact of the 911 somewhat but the Turbo remains an imposing beast. It’s also ruddy fast, as we soon found out.
Engineers at Porsche have, to many a disgruntled moan from the more hardcore of the Turbo’s fanbase, made the latest model easier to live with on a day-to-day basis. The formidable 3.8-litre engine is actually a doddle to drive at slow speeds as Porsche’s PDK automatic gearbox takes any of the strain out of wrangling the immense power it serves up. Open up the taps and the potential of this engine soon becomes apparent but the driving experience remains enjoyable and manageable. Porsche’s amazing four-wheel-drive system, complete with rear-wheel steering, ensures the vehicle remains planted through corners, even at face-melting speeds and in horrific weather conditions. It’s an absolute monster, which in the right hands can shave seconds off a lap time, but can still manage to make a driver look like Sebastian Vettel if they’re a tad ham-fisted.
Many improvements have been made inside, including new displays and 18-way adjustable seats that make longer journeys more comfortable. Further backing up the argument that the 911 Turbo S has been made more ‘user-friendly’ is the fact that adaptive cruise control is now available, as is an updated multi-media system with enhanced satellite navigation. It’s an extremely comfortable place to be and every surface is finished to the highest standards. The ambience manages to feel both sporting and luxurious at the same time, while the rear seats actually boast just enough legroom to transport small adults.
That really depends on how you approach the question. If you compare the 911 Turbo S to many other sports cars on the market, it is a fairly practical machine with enough room in the back for passengers, a boot where the engine should be for weekend bags and shopping and a chassis that doesn’t shatter spines when the roads get rough. OK, it will never replace a people carrier but as high-end sports cars go, it’s probably one of the easiest to live with on a daily basis.
If you have a spare £140,852 in the bank and you’re after a ridiculously quick machine that can double-up as your every day hack, then this is the car for you. If you like your Porsche’s a little more hardcore then we’d advise you take a look at the GT3 – a machine that lacks some of the driving aids and niceties that make the new 911 Turbo S so easy to grapple. But nothing should be taken away from the latest 911 Turbo models; they are simply brilliant all-round pieces of engineering that can happily embarrass cars twice the price when called upon.
You can search for a used Porsche 911 here
Porsche 911 Turbo S
List price: £140,852
Engine: 3.8-litre, six-cylinder, twin-turbocharged
Max speed: 197mph
0-60mph: 3.1 seconds
Fuel economy: Urban: 21.4mpg, Extra-urban: 36.7mpg, Combined: 29.1mpg
Euro NCAP rating: Not yet tested
January 10, 2014