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First drive: Porsche 911 Turbo S. Image by Porsche.

First drive: Porsche 911 Turbo S
Faster than ever, the 911 Turbo gains power and dynamism for 2016, yet retains its incredible, almost unique, usability.

   



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Porsche 911 Turbo S

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Twenty more horsepower means 580hp for the 2016 Porsche 911 Turbo S, which translates into 205mph, 2.9-second 0-62mph potential. Fast, enormously capable and a comparative bargain to boot, the Turbo S is a mighty flagship for the revamped 911 line-up.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Porsche 911 Turbo S coupé
Price: £145,773
Engine: 3.8-litre flat-six twin variable vane turbo petrol
Transmission: four-wheel drive, seven-speed PDK automatic
Body style: two-door, 2+2 coupé
CO2 emissions: 212g/km (Band K, £290 per year)
Combined economy: 31.0mpg
Top speed: 205mph
0-62mph: 2.9 seconds
Power: 580hp at 6,750rpm
Torque 750Nm at 2,250- to 4,000rpm

What's this?

The product of internal competition, a bit of inter-departmental rivalry. The new 911 Turbo S can lap the Nürburgring in seven minutes 18 seconds, which might be all but irrelevant in the real world, but it's two whole seconds quicker than the people at Porsche's fabled GT department manage in the current GT3 RS. Given that car's a homologation special, with its roots firmly in racing, that's got to hurt a bit. Still, Porsche has thrown a huge arsenal at the Turbo S to achieve that, the 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six engine getting new turbos, higher boost pressure, a new manifold and plenty more besides to up output by 20hp to 580hp - torque remaining the same 750Nm.

Mate that all grunt to a revised Porsche Traction Management (PTM) four-wheel drive system with torque vectoring, an improved PDK twin-clutch transmission, wider tyres, the Turbo S's standard PDCC active anti-roll chassis and PCCB composite ceramic brakes and it's not difficult to see why it's so capable. The 2.9-second 0-62mph time Porsche quotes is a 'worst case' repeatable figure too, with perfect conditions allowing almost half a second to be shaved from that. For the Turbo S to get any quicker Porsche will have to work out how to start bending time...

How does it drive?

You could read the numbers and think that the 911 Turbo S will be a recalcitrant, spiky and uncomfortable car to drive. It's not. The 911 Turbo's been firmly established as an insanely performing grand tourer with a rocket up its arse since the 993 tamed its blown power with four-wheel drive. So there's none of the scary big boost, bang and hang on of 911 Turbo legend; the 991 gen II Turbo S is a remarkably civilised 205mph machine. It retains all the daily-driver appeal and ability of its 'lesser' Carrera relatives, only with McLaren 675 LT matching performance - at half the price.

That's civilised in the context of a car that'll fling you forward at an almost incomprehensible rate; the Turbo S is a fast car if you're only using a quarter of the accelerator pedal's travel. Push it further and the performance is bonkers, though it's a shame that the monumental forward pace isn't matched with some aural charm. Porsche has recently proved in its new 3.0-litre turbo Carreras that a forced-induction engine can sound good, and the Turbo S could learn from that.

As part of the revisions for this Gen II Turbo S it adopts the same Mode Switch dial on the steering wheel for the different drive settings as the Carrera offers, but it comes with the Sport Response button as standard. Press it and the 911 Turbo S's systems are all primed up to the maximum, with the gearbox, throttle and every other system set for their most explosive performance for up to 20 seconds. Porsche says it's derived from motorsport and helpful for overtaking; we reckon it's a gimmick, albeit a fun one.

The reality is, if you need more than the already ludicrous performance on offer in any of the other drive modes (Sport Response works in any of them) then the overtake is probably not worth the risk - even in the Turbo S. It's already so fast it's impossible to really explore anything like its potential on the road. On track it reveals more of its capabilities. The Turbo S monsters South Africa's revamped, wide and, thanks to some serious rain before we arrive, river-crossed Kyalami racing circuit. The traction it exhibits is incredible; the way the four-wheel drive system divvies the torque to the wheels that can use it best remains deeply impressive, the Turbo S managing to carry its so-easily gained speed with nonchalance despite the tricky conditions. It only reveals its real character at the extremes of its ability, and then it lacks the delicacy of its supercar rivals.

It's possible to use its classic rear-engined layout to set it up for a corner, trail braking and using the weight shift to back the Turbo S into a bend before getting back on the power to ride it out. In tighter corners you have to work through the understeer if you've been a bit ambitious on entry speed, but the Turbo S proves remarkably benign and hugely predictable even when either axle is losing hold. There's as much or little electronic intervention at your disposal as you like, the PSM system allowing huge yaw before intervening in Sport mode, or if you're so inclined, talented or just foolish, it's possible to switch everything off with a long-push of its button.

The S's standard carbon ceramic brakes are as impressive in their stopping power as the relentless acceleration on offer from the twin-turbo flat-six. The pedal feel is good and the response unerringly strong. It's the tyres that'll limit your fun on track - more so if you mess around with reduced intervention PSM settings. The steering too is shown up for clarity and feel by its Carrera relations, despite Porsche making some revisions to the geometry at the front axle. Nonetheless, there's real agility despite the lack of steering feel, the rear-wheel steering helping here by effectively shortening the wheelbase for quick turn in; even so the 911 Turbo S feels a bit like it's bludgeoning the laws of physics rather than tricking and tickling them.

Verdict

No other car can offer such elevated performance combined with the genuine day-to-day usability of the Porsche 911 Turbo S. That's not changed in gen II 911 Turbo S. That it's derived from a range of Carrera relations is perhaps its undoing, as it's possible to have more fun elsewhere in the 911 line-up - albeit at lesser speeds. It feels less exotic than its supercar rivals as a result of having a family of cars under it, too. That's never really been a Turbo problem though, and as a performance flagship it's undeniably, incomprehensibly mighty, even if, ultimately, it's not the 911 we'd spend our money on.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Comfort

4 4 4 4 4 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Kyle Fortune - 25 Jan 2016



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2016 Porsche 911 Turbo S. Image by Porsche.2016 Porsche 911 Turbo S. Image by Porsche.2016 Porsche 911 Turbo S. Image by Porsche.2016 Porsche 911 Turbo S. Image by Porsche.2016 Porsche 911 Turbo S. Image by Porsche.



2016 Porsche 911 Turbo S. Image by Porsche.
 

2016 Porsche 911 Turbo S. Image by Porsche.
 

2016 Porsche 911 Turbo S. Image by Porsche.
 

2016 Porsche 911 Turbo S. Image by Porsche.
 

2016 Porsche 911 Turbo S. Image by Porsche.
 

2016 Porsche 911 Turbo S. Image by Porsche.
 

2016 Porsche 911 Turbo S. Image by Porsche.
 

2016 Porsche 911 Turbo S. Image by Porsche.
 

2016 Porsche 911 Turbo S. Image by Porsche.
 

2016 Porsche 911 Turbo S. Image by Porsche.
 






 

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