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Review | 21.10.2013 - 22:51

The Porsche 911 Turbo

Most know it as the world's greatest sports car, to the uninitiated it's the Porsche 911 Turbo.
2013 Porsche 911 Turbo
The Porsche 911 Turbo

Most know it as the world's greatest sports car, to the uninitiated it's the Porsche 911 Turbo. Now in 991-generation guise, it's bigger, more polished yet even more apocalyptically rapid. Choose from the 520PS Turbo or the 560PS Turbo S with all the trick bits from the options list included and then some. It's still the one.

 

The Porsche 911 Turbo used to be terrifying. You'd buy one if you found skydiving or alligator wrestling to be a little pedestrian. It was a car with a reputation for making unscheduled excursions into the undergrowth, a ditch-seeking missile with a power delivery less benign than Pol Pot's. Of course, much of this was exaggerated, but early 911 Turbos were certainly to be respected and handled with care.

 

Over time, the role of the 911 Turbo changed. The GT3 and GT2 models were introduced to cater for the unhinged and gradually the turbo inherited the mantle once owned by the 928, namely that of a devastatingly rapid GT car that could nevertheless entertain, with space for a couple of kids in the back. Forty years after the introduction of the malignant original, we get the latest 991-generation version. It's bigger, easier to drive and rides better than ever. Has it gone soft? Not a bit of it.

 

The original Porsche 911 Turbo developed 260PS, drove the rear wheels through a four-speed manual gearbox and could accelerate to 62mph in 5.5 seconds. Now we get a car that cranks out twice as much power - 520PS in standard guise - and sends it to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The sprint to 62mph is demolished in 3.2 seconds. You can even go a step further by opting for the 560PS Turbo S model, which shaves a tenth off that time and tops out at 197mph. The Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) active anti-roll system, is offered for the first time on the 911 Turbo models. This system is standard equipment on the 911 Turbo S, together with the Sport Chrono Package Plus incorporating dynamic engine mounts, and Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB). These are also each available as options on the 911 Turbo.

 

For an even faster and more precise power distribution to the two axles, Porsche has developed a new all-wheel drive system (PTM) with an electronically controlled and activated water-cooled multi-plate clutch. For the first time, the 911 Turbo gets rear-wheel steer. This improves both track driving and everyday performance and at low speeds the rear wheels are turned slightly in the opposite direction to the fronts, helping parking and corresponding to a virtual shortening of the wheelbase by 250mm, boosting agility. At speeds above 50mph, the system steers the rear wheels parallel to the turned front wheels. This is equivalent to a virtual lengthening of the wheelbase by 500mm and gives the car increased stability.

 

The 911 Turbo has never been what you'd describe as svelte and the latest car is no exception. It's still relatively compact by conventional supercar standards, but you'll certainly spot the additional heft in the rear haunches. These jut out 85mm wider than the front wings and 28mm wider than those of the 911 Carrera 4S. Having said that, at 1,880mm in total width, piloting one of these through city streets is still less nerve-wracking than a Ferrari 458 (1,937mm) or an Audi R8 (1,929mm).

 

A raft of weight-saving measures including most notably an all-aluminium body shell, means that weight steps up by a mere 20kg to 1,605kg. You'll identify the Turbo by its side intakes and a prominent bi-plane rear wing that extends at 75mph. There's some active aero at the front as well, with hydraulically-operated elements in the front bumper that also deploy at 75mph - which might be a bit of a giveaway for the boys in blue. Buyers also get 20-inch alloy wheels. The Turbo S gets centre-locks for these wheels as well as a set of piercing LED headlights.

The 911 Turbo's value is a tough one to assess. It's either a very expensive sports/GT car or a very good value supercar, depending on your viewpoint. It's certainly a more multi-dimensional proposition than the hard-riding Nissan GT-R which schooled the 997-generation Turbo when it appeared in 2009. The standard 911 Turbo is priced at just under £120,000 while the Turbo S is pitched at just over £140,000. The base Turbo is priced at about the same level as an Audi R8 V10 which offers a more conventional mid-engined supercar shape. And it's more than £40,000 above a Nissan GT-R - if that's at all relevant. The top Turbo S variant meanwhile, is still some £35,000 or so shy of what you'd begin to pay for a Ferrari 458 or a McLaren 12C. In other words, it finds itself in some clear air.

 

Standard equipment includes adaptive aerodynamics, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Porsche Traction Management (PTM) four-wheel drive, 20-inch diameter forged alloy wheels, leather interior, automatic climate control, Bi-Xenon headlights, Porsche Communication Management (PCM) satellite navigation system, DAB digital radio with Bose Surround Sound, Bluetooth telephone module, a universal audio interface offering MP3 connectivity and a three year warranty. The 911 Turbo S adds a unique interior trim/colour combination, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC), the Sport Chrono Package Plus incorporating dynamic engine mounts, Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) and LED headlights.

 

 

As you might expect, economy is up, emissions are down. To put some flesh on those bones, the Turbo's fuel consumption has been improved by 16 per cent to 29.1mpg - a figure shared with the more powerful S. Emissions are pegged at 227g/km, a figure significantly lower than something as modest as a Nissan 370Z coupe.

 

The seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (PDK) includes an integral auto start/stop function with engine shut-off that now activates when the car coasts to a halt as well as the proven sailing function at speed. Together with a new thermal management system for the turbo engine and the PDK transmission, better aerodynamics and weight taken out of key components, the 911 Turbo is right at the forefront of operating efficiency. Residual values should be good, if not spectacular. The popularity of the 911 Turbo tends to ensure that it's not endowed with the rarity value of an Italian exotic. That might be bad when it comes to resale time, but it's part of why they're bought in the first instance. They can be parked on the street without generating a gaggle of kids with camera phones.

 

It does seem ironic that a car once criticised for persevering with a rear-engined layout that suggested dogma over common sense has evolved into the most sensible seriously high performance car you can buy. The Porsche 911 Turbo has developed into a machine capable of covering many bases. It can cover big miles comfortably and discreetly, it's built tough enough to not require constant attention, its four-wheel drive will cope with our weather, it'll leave you juiced in adrenaline on a twisty road yet allow you to relax on a commute. You could even stretch its legs on track if you fancied. It's hard to think of a better rounded sports car.

 

So much for its capability. Is it special enough as an ownership proposition to command that price tag? That's an entirely different question. Discretion and blinding speed come in many forms these days. Similarly, many seek performance cars that deliver a greater sense of occasion than the 911 Turbo. That this once most uncompromising of cars now represents a singularly compromised choice might surprise you. It's merely a testament to how nuanced its customers have become. The 911 Turbo remains indelibly shot through with greatness.

 

Ok so you might be lucky enough to own a Porsche 911 Turbo, but should the need arise to have to sell it I would recommend a visit to sell-my-car-today.co.uk. Using a car selling comparison engine, the sell my car today website will help you find the best buyer for your Porsche without all the hassle of having to sell privately.

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