The new Porsche 911 Turbo S looks so much like the old one that you could be forgiven for thinking Porsche released the same basic car for the last 20 years; but don’t be fooled. All the magic happens under the hood and the new flagship 911 might just be the finest daily driving supercar that money can buy.
The four-wheel-drive Turbo has evolved from the widowmakers of the 1980s into the sporting limousine of the 911 line-up. The rear-drive GT3 and GT2 are the adrenaline junkies’ weapon of choice now, while the Turbo S is an all-weather machine that can handle the daily commute or a track with equal vigor.
At $190,700, it’s a lot of money for a car that only a connoisseur will reward with a second glance, but then that is kind of the point. This is a sleeper hypercar, for those that want all of the Go and a fraction of the Show of certain Italian thoroughbreds.
The whole 911 line-up is now turbo-powered in a bid for lower emissions. But the 911 Turbo S still stands tall thanks the larger 3.8-liter flat six and bigger twin-turbos that give you 580 bhp and 553 lb/ft of torque to play with. That’s 40 bhp more than the standard Turbo and you get a Sport Chrono package that means you can take the edge off the car for daily driving, or turn it up to 11 for serious fun.
That, together with the trick torque vectoring system, gives the 911 Turbo S a next level 0-60 mph time of 2.8s, officially, but independent testers have hit 2.5s with the faster seven-speed PDK semi-automatic that 90% of buyers will opt for. It covers the quarter-mile in just 10.8s and the top speed is an eye-popping 205 mph.
Porsche has spent more than 50 years stubbornly engineering around the basic problem of the engine hanging out the back. The basic balance of the original 930 was so bad that owners put bags of cement in the front storage compartment to stop it spinning out. Those days are gone.
Now, with the help of intelligent torque-vectoring that gives a rear-drive bias under normal conditions and feeds the power to the wheels that need it most when grip starts to slip, the 911 Turbo S is ridiculously fast in the bends. It will also save your blushes and turn an average driver into a superstar.
The fuel-saving electric power steering means it doesn’t quite have the feel of an old-school Porsche, but it’s devastatingly fast and the steering feel is a work in progress. Porsche will get it right in the end.
Safety and Entertainment Features
Porsche has built its reputation on engineering excellence. Safety, then, is an integral part of the package. The German marque doesn’t crash its cars in the U.S., so there is no NHTSA crash rating, but it’s designed to take an impact.
As well as the standard raft of airbags, ABS and stability control (Porsche Traction Management), the 911 comes with carbon ceramic brakes that can get you out of trouble before it starts. It also gets the multi-collision brake system that applies the brakes in the wake of an accident to reduce the risk of secondary accidents.
On the options list, you’ll find automatic braking, blind-spot monitoring and active cruise control.
Porsche’s mid-life refresh for the 911 included a massive overhaul of the Porsche Communication system. It comes with a new touchscreen layout, Apple Play integration, a Wi-Fi hotspot and satellite radio, as well as 11GB of onboard storage. The instruments are analogue, bucking the current trend, but you do get one LCD screen in the binnacle.
Aside from that, the interior of the Porsche 911 Turbo S is everything you’d expect from a conservative luxury car. You get the fit and finish of Germany’s finest and a simple driver-focused layout. It isn’t exciting, in fact it’s willfully drab, but it gets the job done.
How It Stacks up against the Competition
The obvious competition comes from the Audi R8 V10 Plus, McLaren 570S, Mercedes AMG GT S and even the Aston Martin DB11. This is a seriously tough division these days and you could make a compelling case for any one of these cars in isolation.
A carbon-fiber tub and its rear-drive layout means the McLaren is laser-targeted at real enthusiasts, but along with the Aston Martin it’s hard to call it a daily driver because of that fact.
The Audi edges the Porsche in terms of pure horsepower and it is largely similar to the more expensive Lamborghini Huracán. Thanks to its normally aspirated engine, though, it falls well short in the torque war and Audi doesn’t quite have the cache to match Porsche. The Mercedes, meanwhile, is a great daily driver that has come up short against the competition on track too many times.
The Porsche, then, is the perfect combination of pure speed on track, everyday usability, engineering excellence and heritage. It hurts to call such a well-engineered car a compromise, but it really is the total package because of it.
Considering the raw performance on offer, the Porsche 911 Turbo S is a remarkably frugal car. You’ll get a combined return of 21 mpg, with 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on a long highway trip.
The relatively small displacement and twin turbo set-up was a great place to start and Porsche has engineered the car to the nth degree to save fuel. That includes the electric power steering system that has drawn criticism for robbing feel at the limit and lightweight materials.
- Ballistic, intense performance.
- Four seats, although it’s more of a 2+2.
- Porsche’s legendary engineering at every turn.
- A trick four-wheel-drive system with intelligent torque vectoring.
- It really is an everyday, everyman’s supercar.
- Conservative styling inside and out won’t appeal to everyone.
- It might be too fast for the public road.
- Electric power steering system is a disappointment.
- Although this is a matter of opinion, the engine is still in the wrong place.