A really super supercar
The supercar has been reinvented for the 21st Century. Mention the ‘S’ word to most people and they think of crazy looks and monstrous performance but crucially the other thing that springs to mind is a near-absence of usability.
For some people at least it’s not a supercar if you can see out of it and your spinal column is still intact at the end of the journey.
There’s another element at work here too. The Porsche 911 has been an aspirational sports car for exactly 50 years, since it was launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1963. And yet for all that love for some reason it hasn’t be regularly regarded as supercar material. But that might well be about to change.
Turbocharged 911s have always delivered a fearsome amount of performance in a pretty compact package, but the current 991-series of 911 now has a turbo model of its own. Two, to be precise; the Turbo and Turbo S. Both use the same 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged flat six engine, but the faster S has a mighty 552bhp and 516lb.ft of torque – although there’s an overboost function which serves up 553lb.ft for short bursts.
That sounds like a lot because it is. Squeezing 552bhp into 1,600kg is going to deliver spectacular performance, particularly when all that power is harnessed so well. The Turbo S uses the same four-wheel drive system already seen in the 911 Carrera 4, alongside the superlative seven-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox. A further refinement to the gearbox includes ‘virtual’ gears – additional ratios created by a degree of clutch slip to boost efficiency.
Efficiency might seem pretty unimportant in a car like this but the fact that the Turbo S is still capable of 29.1mpg when driven with restraint just illustrates its remarkable versatility. Just like any current 911, the Turbo S offers a very civilised drive when required. The seats are comfortable and very supportive, the PDK gearbox operates seamlessly and that mighty engine is quiet when you want it to be.
That might sound like a recipe for a dull machine, but in truth even a car like this will spend the majority of its time being driven sedately, in town, in traffic or on its way to somewhere possibly more exciting. When you’re in the mood to just get home with a minimum of fuss, it’s happy to oblige and more than capable too.
That is half the story, however. You get a hint of what’s on offer even when driving normally; give the accelerator a delicate extra squeeze away from the lights and even with plenty left in reserve it pulls away as if it’s being towed by a passing jet plane.
But to really experience what it can do you need to push a few buttons. Slip the transmission into manual mode, hit the Sport Plus button and get ready. Gear changes are speeded up, the active dynamics system stiffens the suspension and the active aerodynamics are deployed for increased downforce. The results are spectacular. The engine responds instantly to the accelerator and, whatever the revs, delivers a breathtakingly emphatic shove forwards. It never lets up either; the next gears snap in instantaneously to give one long, huge surge of acceleration for as long as you dare flatten the pedal.
You can experience the full force of this by initiating a launch control start; simply squeeze the brake with your left foot, floor the accelerator then release the brake. All four wheels dig down and put all that power to the road in an instant. Such is the force at work it is genuinely dizzying in first gear and 62mph passes in 3.1 seconds, but it feels even faster than that.
Even more amazing is how such terrific performance is so benign too. Our test route included many laps of a racetrack, and despite its power and expense the 911 Turbo S could be hurled about with virtual abandon. The four-wheel drive, the PDK gearbox and the dynamic stability control combine to allow full use of the immense power, but leave the driver feeling fully in control and bursting with confidence. Few cars could be driven so hard and so quickly by a driver unfamiliar with both the car and the circuit.
It is the duality of its personality that makes the 911 Turbo S so compelling. It is as comfortable and usable every day as many ordinary hatchbacks, yet given the space it is fantastically entertaining, outrageously fast. Sure it’s not cheap, but it’s as good as getting two cars in one.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
Porsche 911 Turbo S, £140,852
Engine: 3.8-litre petrol unit producing 552bhp and 553lb.ft of torque
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch transmission driving all four wheels
Performance: Top speed 197mph, 0-62mph 3.1 seconds
Emissions: 227g/km of CO2
Latest posts by Sally - Silversurfer's Editor (see all)
- Are M&S right to sue Aldi over Cuthbert the copycat of Colin the Caterpillar? - April 17, 2021
- Support plants for a lifetime with mycorrhizal fungi - April 16, 2021
- How to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol - April 16, 2021
- Discover the freedom of the forest - April 15, 2021
- Brexit, current travel restrictions & reasons why now is the best time to invest in a UK holiday home - April 15, 2021
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!