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First drive: 2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.

First drive: 2010 Porsche 911 Turbo
Porsche updates its 911 Turbo and creates a devastatingly effective supercar. And it's now available with paddles, too.

 



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| First Drive | Estoril, Portugal | Porsche 911 Turbo |

Numbers. That's all I've got to tell me that this is the new 911 Turbo. Even with my 911 geekery dialled up to 11 there's no real visual clues that this is a 'new' 911 Turbo. Porsche has built its reputation on incrementally changing its cars, making them drive better with every iteration. The Turbo is no different. With numbers that include 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds (with Sport Chrono and PDK) and 493bhp the last thing I care about is whether Porsche has bothered to change the shape of its head- and taillights.

In the Metal

Porsche's stylists were clearly too busy making Porsche Design kettles, toasters, luggage and the likes to bother themselves working on changing the Turbo's looks. It can't have taken them more than ten minutes to pop on the LED rear lights of the Carrera model and slightly reshape the front bumper. There are some revised wheels too, the new standard Turbo alloys looking way better than anything described as 'two-tone' has any right to. You can also choose the clever Kwik-Fit confusing single nut wheels that Porsche introduced with the latest GT3.

Inside rejoice, as fixed onto the optional sports steering wheel is a pair of paddles. One on the right for up, the other on the left for down. Porsche has finally relented and is offering proper control of its two-pedal Turbo. There's a manual too if you want it. Otherwise it's much the same, the centre console gaining the improved functionality of the refreshed Carrera range.

What you get for your Money

You don't get PCCB carbon ceramic brakes, the Sport Chrono package, the ventilated seats or those paddles with the PDK transmission - which you also have to pay for. Forget the brakes, as the steel ones are fantastic, while Sport Chrono is a must if you want overboost to 516lb.ft of torque when you need it. We could live without the vented, chilled seats too, though you'd have to be certifiable to specify the PDK twin-clutch transmission without those new paddles.

Driving it

It might not look any different but it feels like a new car. The engine's capacity is increased to 3.8-litres, the unit all new and delivering quite shocking performance. In the ultimate PDK with Sport Chrono, launch control specification it'll reach 62mph before you've blurted out Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (or 3.4 seconds). The Turbo is quite insanely effective at piling on speed. There's no lag, or let up either, the forces it exerts on you registering in the unbelievable to ridiculous league. Peak torque of 479lb.ft is available from 1,950 revs and it stays with you all the way to 5,000rpm. With Sport Chrono that's boosted to 516lb.ft between 2,100rpm and 4,000rpm.

It's all so easy, particularly with the new seven-speed PDK twin-clutch auto. The optional paddles transform the operation of the gearbox, to the point that we'd seriously consider one. Until we drove the still brilliant and delightfully slick manual that is, but then we're an old-school bunch here.

Whatever transmission choice you make the 911 Turbo is pretty much untouchable on any road. Nothing, not even the GT3, feels as quick, as exploitable on real roads, the Turbo's supple suspension, seemingly unbreakable four-wheel drive traction and grip, precise, weighty steering and smooth, progressive brakes adding up to a quite phenomenally capable machine. Use just 50 percent of its ability and you'll shake off absolutely anything, but up the stakes and the 911 is an utter revelation, covering ground with scarcely believable efficiency.

Refinement is improved too, the engine's smoothness perhaps the biggest complaint with the new unit. The 3.8-litre boxer engine is so smooth right to its redline that there's no aural trigger to suggest that it's time for a gearchange. That it remains as explosively potent all the way there means that the rev limiter becomes a familiar companion when you're driving the Turbo hard. Unfortunately, the steering loses some of the intimacy of its rear-wheel drive Carrera and GT3 relatives. It delivers more weight than rich information, but it is precise and quick, ensuring the Turbo responds faithfully to input at the wheel.

Opt for the Sport Chrono pack and the Turbo gains active engine mounts that stiffen to prevent the 300kg of mass hanging out behind the back wheels from moving in a bend. It's easy to laugh it off as a gimmick but the Turbo's rear has never felt more stable, or the turn-in so quick. Part of that is inevitably down to Porsche's new Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) system, which brakes the inside rear wheel in bends to aid stability, the effect being a more composed, more faithful reaction to rapid steering input. And a Turbo that's more agile than ever. Combined with suspension that's amazingly adept at isolating bumps while delivering tidy body control, brakes that offer eye-popping stopping ability and it's clear that the engine's increases in output are only part of the reason why the 911 Turbo is so ludicrously quick.

Worth Noting

It might feature a bigger engine, with more power and torque that's quicker against the stopwatch but the 911 Turbo is cleaner and more economical than ever. CO2 emissions of 270g/km (PDK) and 24mpg might not sound that impressive in isolation, but consider them against the 911 Turbo's phenomenal performance and they're nothing short of remarkable.

Summary

We've always thought that Porsche's 911 Turbo was a bit of a pointless extravagance given the rounded performance of its Carrera relations. But the new car is a revelation. Huge power and poise have always been in the 911 Turbo's make up, but this new car takes the experience to a new level altogether. A fitting flagship to the 911 range, the Turbo might look little different, but looks can be very deceptive indeed.

Kyle Fortune - 19 Oct 2009









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2010 Porsche 911 specifications:
0-62mph: 3.7 seconds
Top speed: 193mph
Combined economy: 24.4mpg
Emissions: 272g/km
Kerb weight: 1570kg

Full technical specifications

2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.

2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.



2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.
 

2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.
 

2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.
 

2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.
 

2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.
 

2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.
 

2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.
 

2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.
 

2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Image by Porsche.
 






 

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