Porsche 911 Turbo S

Hereís the turbo 911 with a capital T. And S

by CHRIS CHILTON

ENGINE 3800cc flat-6, DOHC, 24v, twin-turbo / POWER 427kW @ 6750rpm / TORQUE 700Nm @ 2100-4250rpm / WEIGHT 1600KG / 0-100KM/H 2.9sec (claimed) / PRICE $465,500 P INCH-TO-ZOOM functionality is the big news on this yearís 911 Turbo S. Pinch the air between the right pedal and the bulkhead and youíll zoom from zero to 100km/h in 2.9sec and not stop zooming until youíve hit 330km/h.

And those are conservative numbers, 911 head honcho August Achleitner and my spine report in unison. Want to know what your stomach feels like when youíre thrust into your seat so hard you can hardly hold your hands up to the wheel?

Imagine taking a hump-back bridge at 100 clicks and discovering thereís a sinkhole on the other side leading straight to the centre of the earth.

Objectively, the increase in performance over last yearís 320km/h, 3.1sec pre-facelift S might not seem huge. Extra power on both the Turbo and S, courtesy of modified inlet ports, new injection nozzles and higher fuel pressure, is one element of their facelift thatís substantially less extensive than the changes wrought on the new turbo Carreras, but far from disappointing. The 3.8-litre flat-six remains, but power jumps to 397kW in the $384,900 Turbo and 427kW in the $456,500 Turbo S.

The engines themselves are identical; the difference comes largely from the turbos. Both get variable geometry turbines, but while the regular Turbo makes do with 1.0bar of boost, and an additional 0.15bar on overboost for a 710Nm output (up 50Nm), the Sís bigger blowers generate an additional 0.2bar and an unchanged 750Nm on overboost.

But the story here isnít necessarily the step in pep, but that you can now tap into it more easily thanks to the new carís lag-killing Ďdynamic boost functioní. Lift off the gas momentarily, say in the middle of a corner, and instead of the throttle valve snapping shut as youíd expect, it now stays open, maintaining charge pressure P (but no fuel), allowing you to stomp your foot down again and disappear down the road with little delay.

In the same vein, thereís also a Sport Response button located in the centre of the new manettino-style driving mode selector on the steering wheel. Give it a nudge while you wait for that epic overtaking opportunity to open up and the PDK transmission slots home the optimum gear for maximum go while a digital counter ticks down 20sec in the instrument binnacle. After that the DEFCON level reverts to five. Turbo lag isnít completely eliminated by either bit of tech, but it never spoils your sense of connection with the engine.

The PDK íbox and its excellent mapping is a big help there. Once again thereís no manual alternative, and while we love the Carrera Sís stick-shifter, Iím convinced the PDK suits the real Turboís engine character far better than a manual ever would.

Similarly, you canít imagine anyone sane of mind wishing the Turbo delivered power to the rear wheels alone, not when its all-paw system gives you so much scope for play.

On track you can take more liberties than a Google accountant, flinging the Turbo into a corner on the brakes, killing understeer by getting the weight moving, and then climbing all over the throttle. On the road, you keep it tidier: slow-in, fastout in classic 911-style to minimise the understeer and then capitalise on the traction to slingshot down the next straight. And hereís what it all adds up to: at the Nordschleife in the hands of Porscheís own test drivers, this leather-lined luxury coupe is 3sec quicker than Porscheís own race-ready GT3 RS.

Like the facelifted Carreras we drove last year, the new Turbo benefits from Porscheís new-style 3D tail-lights, neater door handles and a revised engine grille featuring vertical, rather than horizontal, strakes. There are new lamps in the nose and finally, an optional suspension lift-kit allows you to hike the front end 40mm in the air at the press of a button to prevent that nose grounding out on steep driveways.

Finding that button isnít the work of a moment. The cabin design is unchanged, handsome, and mostly of excellent quality, but as with all modern Porsches the centre console is home to too many small, identicallooking switches for functions like the sports exhaust, dampers and rear spoiler. Far more appealing is the new touchscreen multimedia system.

A beautiful flush-fitting seven-inch display now offers gesture control, a map that responds to smartphonetype inputs, and lets you control your apps, thanks to Appleís CarPlay .

No one could rationally argue they need more performance than what a Carrera offers, so would you really want to blow $61,600 more stepping past the Turbo to the S? The standard Turbo is an impressive machine, with 3.0sec 0-100km/h capability and excellent body control. But the S adds carbon ceramic brakes, along with Porscheís dynamic roll control suspension and those sexy centre-lock wheels. Throw the extra performance into the mix and youíve got a car thatís demonstrably more exciting and no less usable than the standard machine. And despite its sub-exotic 911 origins, a worthy foil for any senior-league supercar. M

STAR RATING

5.0

Like

Stonking speed; new media interface; usability

Dislike

Fewer cabin buttons, please; styling venom

This luxury coupe is 3sec quicker than Porscheís race-ready GT3 RS around the Nordschleife