DRIVEN: Porsche 911 Turbo S is insanely fast, and oh so composed
CAPE TOWN - “Where does it go from here? And how could they possibly improve on this?”
Those were just some of the questions my industry colleagues and I contemplated after test driving the new 911 Turbo S in the Western Cape recently.
The claimed acceleration figures are astounding to say the least: zero to 100km/h in just 2.7 seconds, with 200km/h coming up in 8.9 seconds. And after spending the good part of a day putting this silver bullet through its paces on quiet country roads, I have no inclination to argue with those numbers.
The new 911 Turbo S doesn’t make use of any electrical assistance to achieve these incredible performance credentials, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the next generation goes that route, with Porsche CEO Oliver Blume recently hinting that if the company ever went hybrid it would be to improve performance rather than efficiency - and that perhaps answers the aforementioned question that we deliberated over.
But back to the here and now, the new-generation 911 Turbo S is a purely combustion powered beast and its 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six petrol engine packs a mighty 588kW punch at 6750rpm, while 800Nm is available between 2500 and 4000 revs. The engine redlines at 7200rpm, and with a newly developed sports exhaust system with adjustable flaps being available to order, you’re going to want to explore those upper reaches of the rev range - believe me.
To hit 100 in 2.7 seconds you need an ultra-quick gearbox, and this comes in the form of a new eight-speed PDK unit that was specifically adapted for the Turbo S.
Launch control is activated rather simply in this car - just select the Sport Plus mode and floor the accelerator pedal while your left foot looks after the brake pedal and… jeepers, this thing is trying to strangle me! Granted, you don’t quite get that ‘weightless’ sensation that you experience in the Taycan Turbo S electric saloon, but this car certainly succeeds in pushing you back in your seat. And then some.
It’s exhilarating, intoxicating and oh so deceptive.
You really have to pay attention to the speedometer as one ‘innocent’ little jab of the pedal can have you hurtling past the 200km/h mark within seconds. Porsche says this car will top out at 330km/h, but we didn’t test that theory and neither should you.
As you’d expect, this Porsche simply laughs at overtaking manoeuvres and then begs for more.
But it’s the refined and composed manner in which this car puts that power to the road and floats over the tarmac that makes its performance so deceptive.
A car you could happily drive every day
That ‘Jeckle and Hyde’ cliche might come to mind here, but I honestly don’t think it holds true here, because that would imply that the Turbo S has a few rough edges - and it really doesn’t.
This is a car you could happily drive every day - and it’s even got space for small kids in the back. If you’re forced to haul it through rush-hour traffic, the throttle is actually quite forgiving and for a car that was built for such dynamic excellence the ride quality is also surprisingly comfortable, especially if you leave it in the ‘Normal’ driving mode.
But what this brutal beast really craves is fast sweeps on quiet country roads. Road holding is absolutely sublime, thanks to the car’s Porsche Traction Management all-wheel drive system and optional PASM sports chassis, which lowers the car by 10mm.
Thanks to additional water-cooling and reinforced steel plates, the AWD system can transfer significantly more torque to the front wheels (now up to 500Nm) than the previous system.
The new optional sports chassis features faster-switching active dampers as well as shorter springs with more dynamic spring rates and a new active roll compensation system. Porsche also says the new system offers significantly softer damping in both the compression and rebound stages.
Providing the grip is a set of mixed-size tyres, with the front end rolling on 20-inch wheels with 225/35 rubber and the back end riding on 21-inch rims shod with 315/30 tyres. Porsche engineers also spent considerable time perfecting the aerodynamics, through an adaptive front spoiler and rear wing that can boost downforce by 15 percent.
Given the performance on offer here, you’re going to need some serious braking power and Porsche certainly hasn’t skimped here, offering a PCCB ceramic braking system as standard. It’s also the first 911 model to feature brake callipers with 10 pistons.
Porsche’s Sport Chrono package is standard on the Turbo S, and it offers various modes which the driver can quickly switch between using a new mode switch on the steering wheel. The package also includes a stopwatch for attaining performance times and the Porsche Track Precision App. The app (which even has 300 international circuits pre-loaded) allows for detailed recording and analysis of driving data, all accessible through your smartphone.
As mentioned, this car does just fine as a daily drive, and it’s smart looking cabin comes with most of the goodies you’d expect in a luxury car, including a 12-speaker Bose surround sound system and a 27.6cm PCM touchscreen infotainment centre. Not all the toys come standard though, so you will have to pay a bit extra for things like adaptive cruise control with the stop-and-go function, Night Vision with thermal imaging camera lane-keeping assist with road sign recognition.
On the subject of money, the 911 Turbo S is a rather expensive machine, at R3 849 000 for the Coupe and R4 049 000 for the Cabriolet. But it is an incredible and exhilarating package. In fact I challenge you to find a faster car for less money. But the Turbo S isn’t just about fast - it’s oh-so composed and sophisticated. It’s a hypercar that you can happily drive every day.