Just as good on UK roads as out on the track

Our Verdict

Porsche 911 Turbo
The new 911 Turbo goes head to head with the likes of the Audi R8 V10 Plus and Nissan GT-R

Is the forced-induction 911 still the supercar you can use every day?

It’s Porsche’s new £100k option, the 3.8-litre 911 Turbo, freshly arrived in Britain. And this is our chance to find out if the car that seemed so greatly improved and generally impressive hammering around Estoril last month, copes so well on a wet, cold, slippery and bumpy UK B-road.

You’ll have probably read what’s new about this car by now. If not, here are the edited highlights: relative to the last Turbo it’s got an all-new 3.8-litre flat six with a variable-vane turbo for each bank of cylinders.

It’s got 493bhp (up 20bhp) and 479lb ft (up 15lb ft). It’s got Porsche’s new seven-speed PDK double-clutch gearbox as an option. And among the other revisions, it’s got some very clever active engine mounts, a revised chassis set-up with Porsche’s active ‘PASM’ damper. It’s also lighter and more rigid than the last car.

See the Porsche 911 Turbo pics

What’s it like?

Phenomenally quick. Porsche claims 0-62mph in 3.4sec but according to our timing gear, this car will race to 60mph in just 3.2sec. Nissan’s GT-R took a mean 3.8sec to hit 60mph when we road-tested it earlier this year. The only car we’ve ever properly road-tested that did 3.2sec to 60mph was the McLaren F1.

It’s that incredible double-clutch gearbox that makes the difference. In Sport Plus mode it bangs through changes with unbelievable speed, one short intermediate ratio after another with almost no interruption in acceleration.

Very little else piles on speed as keenly as this car, up to 150mph and well beyond. And thanks to a bigger engine running less boost pressure relative to the last Turbo, throttle response is great and turbo lag next-to-absent.

Inside the car, the driving experience is improved by the addition of a slightly smaller steering wheel, which makes the car feel more wieldy than the last, and the option of conventional gearchange paddles; pull the right-hand paddle to change up, the left one to change down.

On the motorway, the new 911 Turbo is quite a bit more usable car than the last. Better cruising economy means you can get 25mpg, so a tank of fuel will last 300 miles. Those intelligent engine mounts even mean that there’s less engine vibration filtering into the cabin, and because they provide better body rigidity in extremist, Porsche has even been able to decrease the car’s chassis rates slightly, improving rolling refinement.

Since Porsche’s very first all-wheel drive version, the 911 Turbo has had crushing any-weather cross country pace, but this new one’s got much better body control than any previously. It handles and steers with greater precision too.

The four-wheel drive system is quicker to cancel out understeer, there’s less unwanted nodding from the car’s front end, and you can be more confident of the grip you’ll find at the front wheels in wet weather.

That said, this car is definitely not the last word in ultimately stability and dynamic perfection. It’s a Porsche 911, and that means it’s still hampered by a second-rate weight distribution that causes it to understeer in certain circumstances when other sports cars just wouldn’t. You can’t hurry this car into a corner; get on the power too soon and the inevitable happens.

Over bumps and through dips, it sometimes takes slightly longer for the 911 Turbo to regain its composure than, say, an Audi R8 would need. Get hit by a crosswind and you’ll be diverted much more than you would in something front or mid-engined. These are the idiosyncrasies that make 911s beguiling to some and annoying to others.

Should I buy one?

If you’re a 911 fan and you’re looking for a fast car to use all year round, absolutely. There has never been better Porsche Turbo than this, and owning one – making the most of that incredible performance, day in and day out - would make you feel very fortunate indeed.

It’s as well to remember, if you do like Porsche 911s, that the GT3 is a sweeter-handling, more exciting, more rewarding and cheaper prospect. If you’re not so loyal to the Stuttgart shield, bear in mind that the Audi R8 V10 is probably a better handling, better riding, better sounding and slightly more desirable road car.

And yet, nearly 35 years after the first one, the 911 Turbo still has its own place and its own charismatic allure, because somehow you can acknowledge its flaws and still consider it the finest fast car in the world.

 

Join the debate

Comments
15

30 November 2009

My old 2001 Vauxhall Omega 2.2 petrol emitted somewhere along the lines of 260ish g/km CO2, like the Porsche, yet it certainly didn't race to 60mph in 3.2, nor could it hit 193mph flat out! Far far from it! Thats progress for you!

30 November 2009

If "progress" is the strict adherence to arbitrarily set limits then yes, because the reason we're seeing CO2 emissions come down so fast is because CO2 emissions are the hot potato du jour. I'm not saying that improving efficiency in this area is a bad thing, just that it's not fair to compare present with past exhausts.

In any case, once every vehicle on sale emits 99g/km CO2 or less, you can bet your boots on Messrs. HM government looking to raise the duty on some other gas previously thought harmless yet common to all road users with a wallet.

Fart tax? ;)

1 December 2009

This endless comparison between the GT3 and the turbo is pointless. They are two different cars, aimed at two different markets.

For every person who wouldn't touch a turbo with a barge-pole, there's another who thinks the GT3 is too compromised for every-day all-weather duty. Sadly, the people at Autocar can't get that into their thick skulls and we should be delighted Porsche can produce such different cars from the same starting point.

Me? I'm in my mid-50's, wouldn't be seen dead in a GT3 and the turbo being made for me next Monday will do me just fine, thanks. As for an Audi R8, oh please!

1 December 2009

It has been & it will always be the 911 model is the icon of the Porsche's range of cars. Lots of electronics, 4WD & so forth have been developed to mask the basic flaw of the 911. No doubt it has come a long way as we are talking about over 40 years of evolution up to today's 911. The basic flaw I am referring to is the "weight distribution factor." With something like 60% of its weight at the rear & the balance at the front. No amount of electronics can defy the law of physics. Having said that, it is still a very useable 247 sport car. The sad thing is others (competitors) have moved on & the 911 is still lagging behind in some respect.

1 December 2009

The sad thing is that ALL sports car are getting bigger and bigger and can really no longer be called sports cars but rather GT/touring cars. This Turbo and the 997 generaltion as a whole will sadly be the very last line of 911 sports cars Porshe will ever make; as the next will be monstrous and simply unable to fit on most country roads where these cars were built for in the first place.

Indeed a sports car has no fuction on a highway. Goodbye 911 hello 998. J

2 December 2009

very well said

pity yours not being built till next monday mine is finished tomorrow

enjoy yoursa i am going to enjoy mine !!

2 December 2009

it may be lagging behind in its configuration however its certainly not lagging behind in any other department

ok its not a striking as some of its competions however its much quicker overall and bomb proof

i am just back from a session test driving it at silverston the car i had had 400 miles on thee clock and had spent its young life performing launch control start after launch control start maybe somewhere in the region of 300 400 hundred of them all 0 to 60 im 3 sec or so no othere so called supercar could take this abuse not even an audi so i would say this car is leading the way !!!!!

2 December 2009

to the autocar guys

why not give us a road test for this gen II car

as you say its the quickest car you havee ever figured well as the most respected mag give us a full and proper road test and lets see how landmark this car really is

if porsche wont give you a car give me a shout i will give you mine

come on guys !!!!

2 December 2009

I am sure utocar will do a road test on the car pretty soon. Since we are on this subject - 911 turbo. Do we really need a 911 turbo or just a standard 911 be it a C2 or C4 will suffice in the real world? 0-60 & top speed are all academic. Would you drive like a "boy racer" on a public road in 911 turbo? I guess with so much power is liken to you have so much money in your bank account but you do not have to use all of it. You can if you want to. A C4 or C4S should be good enough to own & enjoy. The next reincarnation of the 997 should be better. I think it would be lighter, more aerodynamic & most of all more powerful = faster. Not forgetting is gonna cost more!

2 December 2009

thats a crazy statment

so you suggest i wait 2 or 3 years for the next incarnation of 911 which will be most of all more powerful and faster and costing more ????

why would i do that when i can have a turbo now which is in every aspect a better car than the current C4S

i have owned a Gen I 997 turbo followed by a 997GT2 and currently a 997C4S and its the turbo i miss most hence the car which i should take delivery of in the next week or so

i not saying i am catagorically right but for me the turbo is the most complete car not just from Porsche but from any manufacturer

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