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First drive: Porsche 911 Turbo (992). Image by Porsche GB.

First drive: Porsche 911 Turbo (992)
You can’t feasibly call a 580hp, 200mph 911 the ‘regular’ Turbo, so we’ll try and think up another epithet for this staggering car…

   



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Porsche 911 Turbo (992)

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

The Turbo-without-an-S-but-with-a-capital-T joins the Turbo-with-an-S-and-a-capital-T-too in the 992 Porsche 911 line-up. Does this cheaper, ever-so-slightly-less-rabidly-fast wide boy make more sense in the UK than the flagship model?

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe (992)
Pricing: 911 range from £82,795, Turbo Coupe from £134,400, car as tested £138,251
Engine: 3.7-litre twin-turbocharged flat-six petrol
Transmission: PTM all-wheel drive with Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) electronically controlled rear limited-slip differential, eight-speed PDK double-clutch automatic
Body style: two-door 2+2 sports coupe
CO2 emissions: 271g/km (VED Band Over 255: £2,175 first 12 months, then £475 per annum years two-six of ownership, then £150 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 23.5mpg
Top speed: 199mph
0-62mph: 2.8 seconds
Power: 580hp at 6,500rpm
Torque: 750Nm at 2,250-4,500rpm
Boot space: 128 litres (front boot), 264 litres (rear seats)

What's this?

Porsche, at first glance, would appear to have done things slightly backside-about-face. In the normal scheme of things, you'd expect the 911 Turbo to appear first, with the harder, faster, stronger Turbo S following on. But in 992 World, it has been the way that the S seems to come first - not only did the 650hp Turbo S land before the car we're testing here, but lower down the ziggurat the 450hp Carrera S preceded the 385hp entry point's appearance. So maybe we shouldn't be surprised that the Turbo lands in the UK after the Turbo S.

The sales mix between the two Turbos was pretty even in the old 991, so there's clearly a desire for a, um, slightly 'lesser' super-fast model in the 992 line-up. So, precisely what are the changes? Well, for £134,400, the Turbo employs the same 3,745cc (Porsche calls this a 3.8 but it's a 3.7, factually speaking) biturbo flat-six engine as the Turbo S, only detuned by 70hp and 50Nm to peaks of 580hp and 750Nm, delivered at slightly different points in the operating rev range (lower revs for full power, wider band for maximum torque) from the S. As you can see, those figures are still incredibly robust and, in fact, are every bit as colossal as the outputs the old 991.2 Turbo S could muster up, so the blister-arched 992 Turbo remains blisteringly quick. With PTM all-wheel drive and an eight-speed PDK gearbox banging in gearshifts like there's no tomorrow, it'll run 0-62mph in 2.8 seconds, 0-100mph in 6.3 seconds and 0-124mph in 9.7 seconds, and if you keep the throttle pinned then eventually it will hit 199mph. Which is so agonisingly close to the 'double-ton' that we wonder why Porsche didn't just claim 200mph anyway; after all, that aforementioned 991.2 Turbo S did 205mph, exactly the same V-Max as the 992 Turbo S can purportedly achieve.

Anyway, these speeds are only relevant on a racetrack, very, very long runway or the German Autobahn (or perhaps that bit of the Stuart Highway in the Northern Territory of Australia, where they can't seem to decide if it has a speed limit or not), so there must be other differences to account for the £21,570 price gap between this Turbo and its £155,970 Turbo S analogue. Ah, there are; both Porsche Carbon Ceramic Brakes (PCCB) and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC), which is the active anti-roll bars set-up, are cost options on the Turbo, whereas they're standard-fit on the Turbo S. Between the pair of them, PCCB (£6,801) and PDCC (£2,273) will relieve a Turbo buyer of another £9,074, so really the gap between comparable-spec Coupe Turbo and Turbo S models falls to a more modest £12,496. Still quite a lot, but is it worth the extra - which works out as a mere 8.7 per cent uplift on a Turbo with PCCB and PDCC equipped - to gain a tenth of a second for the 0-62mph run and a nominal 6mph on a highly illegal top speed anyway, in order to sit in a Turbo S instead?

We'll find that out in a moment. For now, it's worth pointing out that, for the exterior, you won't notice too much difference between the 911 Turbo and its Turbo S sibling from a distance. Unless, of course, a Turbo buyer has managed to exercise some options-box-ticking restraint when ordering, as with this German car. This example, S-GO 4305, is refreshingly light on cost extras for a press demonstrator. It doesn't have the Sports exhaust, so instead of two oval tailpipes there are four square-shaped exits at the back of the car. It has the standard 20-inch front, 21-inch rear Turbo alloys, rather than any Exclusive Design rims. It's finished in £0 GT Silver metallic paint with a £0 Graphite Blue leather interior. There is no PCCB nor PDCC here. And it's also the first 911 Turbo/S which has been put forward for critical appraisal in the UK which doesn't have the 10mm-lower Sport chassis upgrade. It does have regular Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) variable damping, the wider tracks of all 992 Turbos, the revised steering with rear-axle assistance and full torque vectoring through Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) and the electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential, however, so it should still prove to be pretty capable in the corners. Oh, and inside? Inside, you won't know the difference between a Turbo and Turbo S. They both have absolutely superb cabins with plenty of standard equipment.

How does it drive?

As the closeness of the on-paper stats suggest, subjectively you will not feel the difference in speed between the 580hp 911 and the 650hp 911. They're both face-bendingly fast and by a sheer seat-of-the-pants measurement and nothing else, we're confident in saying this Turbo feels like it has the same savage acceleration in lower gears, the same monumental mid-range thump and the same reward for wringing it out through the ratios as you'd find in a Turbo S. That reward being, one minute you're in Oxfordshire and the next, if you're not careful, you'll be totally bewildered and most likely somewhere on the Scottish border. Seriously, aside from some slight hesitance from the 3.7's twin VTG blowers sub-2,000rpm, throttle response in the 992 Turbo is instantaneous and something to be treated with the utmost of respect.

The car sounds excellent, too, despite the lack of the upgraded exhaust. There's still all the grumbles, whistles and snorts from the two massive turbos, plus the angry, serrated snarling of a Porsche flat-six when you start working the motor beyond 4,000rpm. The PDK gearbox is a peach and a perfect match for the mighty engine, although we'd like the (admittedly lovely) metal paddle shifts to be a tiny bit bigger than they actually are. Brakes are strong too - the Turbo runs six-piston aluminium monobloc callipers up front with mighty 408mm discs, with four-piston items at the back clamping 380mm rotors. The discs are all internally vented and cross-drilled, and they seemed to have no problem hauling in the Turbo's mass (1,715kg EU unladen) from decent speeds time and time again. Lovely pedal progression for the driver to luxuriate in, too.

All the other facets of the 911's dynamic character remain as brilliant as you'd expect from Porsche, so the steering is magnificent and the damping is bloody terrific. Which all adds up to a blinding performance car, all told. So... why haven't we given it full marks? Hmm. The thing is, you kind of imagine that the 911 Turbo would be the best grand tourer in the range, given its potent engine would be unstressed on a long cruise and it's got the torque to demolish medium-sized mountains. However, as it has the same-sized rubber as the Turbo S, the Turbo is just as loud on a motorway run as the 650hp model. There's a lot of tyre roar reverberating around the back of the cabin at 70mph and wind noise is elevated too, as a result of that wide bodywork. Also, as it was on the non-Sport chassis and it had standard PASM, we'd have liked it if the 911 Turbo made less of an event of medium-size compressions; for example, cat's eyes when changing lanes on the M4 introduced way too much of a tangible and audible series of thumps into the passenger compartment. In brief, it's no more compliant nor forgiving than the Turbo S. Which seems a trifle bizarre, given that S honorific should indicate something more in Porsche-speak than simply 'additional power here'; we thought the Turbo would be notably softer. It isn't.

This behaviour was exacerbated by the fact the Turbo was driven directly after a run on the same roads in the 992 Carrera S manual, which was far more refined in all regards. And while we don't think £12,500 is enough of a saving to suggest you opt for a 580hp Turbo instead of going the whole hog for the 650hp S, the Carrera S is a massive £40,050 less than the Turbo. So if you want a 911 as a pseudo-GT, your money is better off going into that. Ah. What we're probably angling at is that, as undeniably wonderful and gobsmacking as the Turbo is, we can't shake the feeling that it's somewhat unnecessary in the 992 range. And if you agree with us and think the model-shoehorning of brand-new 911s is a bit much, then you might be surprised to learn that there's still, in Stuttgart's eyes, enough of a 'gap' between the 450hp Carrera S models and this 580hp Turbo to allow for another variant in early 2021. Mind, we're looking forward to that one; if only because, if you rearrange the letters 'G', 'S' and 'T' only ever so slightly, you'll have a good idea of what's next up the 992 product-release ramp. Oh, and don't forget the 992 GT3, either... gibber.

Verdict

It seems unfair to mark the new Porsche 911 Turbo down when it's such a thoroughly epic road car. If the Turbo S didn't exist, it would happily pull in full marks for this review. But the Turbo S does exist and we can't help but feel that at this level of expenditure, most 911 buyers are just going to find the extra required for the 650hp car. Similarly, a Carrera S, or even a 4S, does a wonderful job of being a fast, refined and discreet road machine for a significant chunk less cash. However, don't despair; we have a solution. If you're buying a 992 Porsche 911 and you want the absolute fastest you can get, spec the Turbo S as a Coupe. But if you really crave 'just' a Turbo, treat yourself to a bit of all-weather glamour and opt for this 580hp motor in the Cabriolet body shell instead.

5 5 5 5 5 Exterior Design

5 5 5 5 5 Interior Ambience

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Passenger Space

3 3 3 3 3 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

5 5 5 5 5 Driving Dynamics

5 5 5 5 5 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 3 Dec 2020



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2020 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe UK test. Image by Porsche GB.2020 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe UK test. Image by Porsche GB.2020 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe UK test. Image by Porsche GB.2020 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe UK test. Image by Porsche GB.2020 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe UK test. Image by Porsche GB.

2020 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe UK test. Image by Porsche GB.2020 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe UK test. Image by Porsche GB.2020 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe UK test. Image by Porsche GB.2020 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe UK test. Image by Porsche GB.2020 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe UK test. Image by Porsche GB.








 

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