Too much power. Too expensive. Too damn fast. Some see these as criticisms, but for buyers of the new Porsche 911 Turbo S they’re probably non-negotiables.
Let me put it this way. Porsche offers a perfectly ballistic 911 in entry-level form. The 911 Carrera delivers 283kW, hits 100km/h in 4.2 seconds and nudges 300km/h when asked. For your $236,300 (before on-roads) you have an engineering and technological tour de force.
“For a base model, there’s insane performance,” former F1 driver Mark Webber told me when this latest ‘992’ generation launched last year, all the while reshaping my kidneys as we cornered at staggering velocity.
If that was insane, this must be unhinged, psychotic performance. The Turbo S has arrived to sit atop the 911 price and brag-worthy numbers tree.
Prepare yourself. Its 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six cylinder puts 478kW and 800Nm at your disposal, and allied with all-wheel-drive, launch control and a wonderment of mechanical mastery and electrickery, punts you towards the horizon with 100km/h showing in only 2.7 seconds. The first time I dared test this at full throttle it left me genuinely shuddering.
It’s an expensive thing on which to get hooked.
Porsche charges $473,500 for the 911 Turbo S Coupe and $494,500 the Cabriolet version — prices mixing it with Ferraris, Lamborghinis, McLarens and Astons.
Changes include an additional 51kW/50Nm over the previous 911 Turbo S and an eight-speed double-clutch auto gearbox redeveloped for ever more rapid shifts. The all-wheel drive system and traction management is stronger and more precise, while Porsche’s torque vectoring, active suspension systems and four-wheel steering have been fettled to help you scythe through corners even faster.
It needs a racetrack to make sense … and if you want to keep your licence.
My drive to Queensland’s Morgan Park Raceway was a lesson in self-discipline. So brutal is the Turbo S’ acceleration — jet fighter stuff — it’s a one-way ticket to a night in the cells if you hold your right foot flat.
Treat it like a grand tourer and it’s quite a refined cruiser, despite its giant 20/21-inch wheels combo. The cabin feels a tad dated next to bells n’ whistles supercar rivals, but a curved digital dash showing your instruments (the rev counter correctly taking centre stage), wide central screen and chiselled finishes are pure class.
“If you go top of the range 911 you go the Turbo or GT route,” says Porsche Australia’s Chris Jordan. “The GTs (GT3 RS for example) are race cars for the road, but Turbos are exclusive, have a luxurious interior and can be your everyday sportscar.”
As standard the Turbo S scores stitched leather electric seats, GT sports steering wheel, Sport Chrono pack and Bose surround sound. So far, so lovely, but you don’t get away that easily. Sports exhaust? An extra $6470. Adaptive cruise control? $3570. Ventilated seats? $2220.
There’s been less skimping on the performance front. Ceramic front brakes are standard – they’re lighter and near bulletproof – while active aerodynamics maximise downforce, slipperiness or air braking as required.
As you’d expect, it feels every inch the race car on track. Morgan Park was a monsoon-hit skating rink, but the 911’s Wet Mode proved pure wizardry. Barrel into a greasy corner too fast? Not a problem, Sir. We’ve got your back.
On a drying track the Turbo released Beast Mode with Sport Plus engaged. Down the straight the acceleration surge was ridiculous, the exhaust pops gruntier, and the organ-crushing ability of the brakes came to the fore.
But it’s the way the Turbo — and any modern 911 — handles corners that defies logic. Yes it feels a bit heavy and it’s the widest production 911 ever — it’s no playful little sportscar – but there’s so much steering slickness, balance, ability and seemingly infinite grip it makes ordinary drivers look and feel like heroes.
Porsche’s 911 GT models do the track stuff even better, while I’d make a strong argument the entry-level Carrera is the only 911, realistically, you’d ever need. But exclusivity and all-round brilliance? The Turbo S remains king.
PORSCHE 911 TURBO S VITALS
Price: About $490,000 drive-away
Engine: 3.8-litre twin-turbo six-cylinder, 478kW/800Nm
3-year/u’ltd km, $2590 for 3 years/45,000km
SAFETY Not rated, 6 airbags, AEB, rear camera, parking sensors front and rear, lane change assist
SPARE Repair kit