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Mighty white. Image by Kyle Fortune.

Mighty white
Building on the regular Carrera's strengths the 911 Turbo is perhaps the most complete supercar you can buy today.


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| A Week at the Wheel | Bucks, England | Porsche 911 Turbo |

Inside & Out: star star star star star

Porsche has never been anything but conservative when it comes to the style of its 911, but the visual differences marking out the Turbo ensure it turns heads among its lesser relatives. The trademark rear wing actually looks relatively restrained when compared to those on the GT2 and GT3 models, while unique front and rear bumpers and the large vents in the rear wings to feed more cooling air to the Turbo's mighty engine set the car out as special. The Carrara White (Carrara is actually a type of marble, not a mis-spelling of 'Carrera') of Porsche's Turbo press car means it stands out more than most 911s, the bright white paintwork highlighting the Turbo's additional cooling vents and dark wheels perfectly.

Yellow brake callipers are visible behind the Turbo's five-spoked alloy wheels, these signifying Porsche's optional PCCB (Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes). Inside there's a Chronograph timer on the top of the dashboard, which is part of the Sport Chrono Turbo pack. The presence of this innocuous-looking addition also indicates the addition of an overboost facility, which increases the maximum engine torque from 457lb.ft to 501lb.ft between 2,100-4,000rpm. The rest of the interior is familiar Porsche 911, including great seats and ergonomics but some materials a little bit lacking in a car that's only 80 shy of 100,000. As ever the Turbo is a practical car, those rear seats being useable for short passengers on long trips or taller ones on short trips, the useful folding function making the Turbo's interior hugely practical - at least for a supercar.

Engine & Transmission: star star star star star

Four hundred and seventy three is the number that's important here. That's bhp, from the Turbo's 3.6-litre turbocharged flat-six. Plenty then. Given that the original 911 Turbo was considered something of an animal with almost half that in the 1970s the current car offers quite staggering performance. The benchmark 0-62mph sprint is despatched in just 3.9 seconds (or less with the Tiptronic auto), Porsche claiming that its top speed is 192mph. That sounds conservative given the ferocity of the Turbo's performance and its ability to accelerate hard well into three figures. Otherworldly pace might be on offer, but unlike the Turbo's ancestors the current version is a very easy car to drive. Four-wheel drive ensures terrific traction and stability, the unique variable vane turbochargers ensuring that the engine is tractable and linear in its power delivery.

Even with those trick turbos above 3,000rpm is where the Turbo delivers its most scintillating performance. Third gear is good for 100mph, the Turbo offering cross-country pace that's scarcely believable. The transmission isn't perfect, the clutch in particular being difficult to modulate due to it lacking any real feel, while the gearshift is reluctant to shift smoothly until there's some heat in the system. When there is, and when fitted with the sports shortshift option, it's quick and precise. If only the engine sounded better; the Turbo's forced induction system robs it of the sort of aural appeal that make its Carrera and GT3 relatives so appealing.

Ride & Handling: star star star star star

Press the Sport button for quicker throttle response and the PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) also firms up. Thankfully it's possible to return it to the standard setting as it's far too firm for all but glass-smooth surfaces. In the standard setting the Turbo is taut, but not uncomfortably so. What's really apparent over its Carrera relatives is the need to watch out for dips and bumps, the leading edge of the front spoiler easy to ground out on speed bumps and forecourt exits. Like all its 911 siblings there's a fair bit of road noise, those large wheels and tyres transmitting a lot of roar into the interior when the surface isn't perfect.

Grip and traction is phenomenal though, the 911 Turbo excelling at converting all its power into searing pace. On country roads it's the fear for your licence rather than any lack in the Turbo's ability that'll see you backing off. Which is part of the problem with it. If anything this 911 is too fast, its limits so high that to really enjoy it you'd need to take it to a track. Push it hard into a tight corner or roundabout and the Turbo understeers, that transferable to oversteer if you're brutal with a lift then quickly back on the accelerator. The steering is quick and has detailed feel, but the Turbo isn't the fine driving instrument its GT3 relative is. The Turbo's responses are more muted, lacking some of the finer nuances of control that are available from even standard 911s. That's perhaps understandable given the huge potential performance on offer, and those wanting a rawer turbo 911 experience can always opt for the really quite bonkers 911 GT2, which adds even more power, but does without four-wheel drive. Still hugely enjoyable and phenomenally fast, the Turbo is missing the final, finer layer of detail that makes most of Porsche's products so interesting to drive.

Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: star star star star star

As a value for money proposition it's unusual to be able to claim that the near 100,000 list price of the 911 Turbo is actually good value. Compare it to the sort of cars its performance and prestige rivals though and the Turbo looks conspicuously inexpensive. Economy too is impressive, Porsche claiming a figure of 22.1mpg on the official combined cycle, which is relatively easy to achieve in day-to-day driving. What is slightly galling is some of the cost options that most drivers inevitably add to the Turbo. Firstly there's those trick carbon ceramic brakes - costing a whopping 5,800 - while things like the Sport Chrono pack, sports gearshift and telephone integration really should be standard in a car costing this much.

Overall: star star star star star

The 911 Turbo remains an extraordinary demonstration of Porsche's engineering prowess, being one of the fastest real-world cars you can buy. Its variable vane turbochargers - a first in a petrol engine - give its 3.6-litre engine quite brilliant performance, while the four-wheel drive transmission allows you to use all of that power effectively. If there's one complaint it is that the 911 Turbo is perhaps too polished; so clever at what it does that the driver is secondary. With 'lesser' 911s there's more involvement behind the wheel and more fun to be had extracting the performance.

Kyle Fortune - 10 Jun 2008    - Porsche road tests
- Porsche news
- 911 images

2008 Porsche 911 specifications:
Price: 99,920 on-the-road.
0-62mph: 3.9 seconds
Top speed: 192mph
Combined economy: 22.1mpg
Emissions: 307g/km
Kerb weight: 1585kg

2008 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.2008 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.2008 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.2008 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.2008 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.

2008 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.2008 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.2008 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.2008 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.2008 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.

2008 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Kyle Fortune.

2008 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Kyle Fortune.

2008 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Kyle Fortune.

2008 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Kyle Fortune.

2008 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Kyle Fortune.

2008 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Kyle Fortune.

2008 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Kyle Fortune.


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