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Drive

Porsche 911 Turbo

Prices start at circa £120,000, 0-62 mph in 3.2 seconds, top speed 195 mph. We drive it!
For those who may not have the ultimate driving enthusiasm to turn Caffeine into Viagra

I’ve just got over the 600 miles of exciting driving of the R8 V10 Plus we featured previously on these pages, so you must excuse me for thinking that driving anything else after that would be an anti-climax. But it wasn’t to be so. It just couldn’t be when the badge reads ‘Porsche 911 Turbo’.


 

Actually, the contrast couldn’t be better, for these cars are similarly priced with directly comparable performance against the usual benchmarks (0-62 mph times: Audi R8 V10 Plus 3.3 secs/911Turbo 3.2 secs. Top speeds: Audi R8 V10 Plus 198 mph/911 Turbo 195 mph). They both cost within the region of £120-130k depending on spec, so a customer could easily opt for either of these brands. Yet I doubt it will be a clear choice, for these are very different motor cars; I suspect it’ll be much more of a ‘dig your heels in’ R8 versus 911 Turbo Supporters Club issue with minimal crossover.

Ultimate quality

This 911 is unbelievably well crafted; solid as a rock inside and out. In quality terms, it’s like someone wearing an apparently modest suit or dress that you know simply oozes quality and costs the earth. Credit must be given to the Porsche manufacturing process; if you saved all of your life to buy one, you wouldn’t be disappointed by the quality.

What’s more it looks powerful…yet unpretentiously so. You get the impression that this car would leave a Fast & Furious hot rod for dead at the lights, through sheer breeding and know-how rather than bigger Turbos and superchargers. How Porsche manage to keep reinventing the 911 wheel so successfully, whilst retaining the individual character of the various specifications of the car remains a matter of wonderment. 

Yet the 911 Turbo remains its own car. Here’s what you get; a 3.8 litre 6 cylinder Turbo charged engine, generating 660NM of torque through (in this case ) a 7-speed PDK semi-automatic gearbox,  and pushing 1595 kg of weight. It sits on 20” alloy wheels and, like the Audi, is driven by all four wheels. The 911 Turbo has rear wheel steering as part of the standard package, meaning thrilling high speed cornering and grip is guaranteed.

The 911 experience

The magic of the 911 experience begins with the clunk of the door and the turning of a novel Porsche shaped key fobbed,  igniting a sharp, deep, throaty hum.  The car is so well put together and substantial in feel that I almost don’t want to drive it but, like an awestruck child, sit with the engine humming, tapping the throttle slightly for effect, and savouring it all in anticipation.

I know it will be awesome for two reasons; one that I have got to know this brand extremely well as an ex Porsche instructor and two, not that long ago I did about 1000 miles in a manual entry level Carrera and left the car feeling it has to be one of the best driver’s cars in the world. This Turbo is several tiers up that performance ladder so it should be driving heaven on four wheels.

Yet for the following 100 miles or so of daily commuter and routine driving it didn’t feel so. Not that it was ‘disappointing’; in fact far from it – it’s just that it was such a doddle to drive around at all speeds legal. The Turbo 911 is superior to the routine of everyday driving almost to the point of arrogance. Its’ general controllability, cornering and braking capability, combined with  the endless passive and active safety that comes with most cars these days,  make it one of the safest cars on the planet

So anything under 100 miles an hour means nothing to the Porsche 911 Turbo. It yawns its way through as if to say ‘wake me up when you feel like doing some real driving’; its abilities being so underutilised that if your intention is to potter around for most of the car’s life, you’ve chosen the wrong car. On the plus side, so user friendly is this superbly capable 911 that any average driver will enjoy driving it as the daily and the only car. Drive it like you stole it though, and oh my God, oh my God…

What about the 911 Turbo S?

You have to match courage with driving ability to be rocketed into the 911 Turbo Performance Zone.  You’ll need to be in the right environment too; (race/test track/autobahn) then Wow it’s good…yet not dauntingly so, which again is the sign of a great car. You will be pinned to your seat from rest, head glued to the headrest, whilst the 911 Turbo eats up the road like Godzilla. It gets better the deeper you bury the throttle, and whilst not having the reassuring stopping power of ceramic brakes, control feel (steering, brakes, throttle) are so communicative that you and this amazing projectile feel intimately connected. The rear wheel steering, combined with four wheel drive, razor sharp handling and an instantly responsive throttle, will take you into a zone maybe only a dozen other road cars in the world can achieve. You will end up a 911 Convert for life. I get excited just talking to you about it.

Ah!…you say, but what about the popular buyer’s choice, the more powerful 911 Turbo S? Well I did think about that; yes the Turbo S is even better, but the standard Turbo is the slightly more measured international GT car for those who may not have the wish, inclination, nor indeed ultimate driving enthusiasm to turn Caffeine into Viagra. Simply put;  0-62 mph in 3.2 secs and a top speed of 195 mph is enough.

- Kevin Haggarthy

Visit Porsche Centre in Reading

 

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