What is it?
The latest (997) iteration of Porsche’s classic 911 Turbo, with a 3.6-litre flat six, 473bhp, a whacking 502lb ft of torque, four-wheel drive, and the potential to be just about the briskest new car in the real world.
What’s it like?
Very, very quick. The first time we drove the new 911 Turbo, that is to say the first time the key was turned, the 3600cc flat-six thrummed, the new gearchange linkage snick-snicked a few ratios, and we hit 111mph.
There was no intention to reach such a speed, more an exploratory procedure that needed to be carried out: adjust to clutch weight, acclimatise to throttle action, take it easy. So that’s the first thing you need to know about the 997 Turbo: the fastest Porsche is now so fast that if you schmooze it from first through to sixth with negligible throttle, it will hit 111mph.
The 997 Turbo is unquestionably the best sports car the world has ever seen. That much is non-negotiable. It does things normal cars can’t: it behaves, adapts, creates traction, generates adhesion and decelerates like no road car I have ever driven.
It isn’t the fastest car against the watch but, in terms of net available performance, the 997 Turbo marks a new beginning. It is so supple, so amenable, so perpetually on your side, that covering ground now feels somehow different to the way it did yesterday.
Everything is so good here – the colossal optional ceramic brakes, the new transmission, the adaptive damping that somehow manages to preen acceptable ride from those shallow sidewalls – that no single component can possibly shine.
Problems? Only a a couple of niggles: the 67-litre fuel tank is entirely inadequate and the pedals, like those in all 997s, aren’t quite where you want them. And that’s it.
Should I buy one?
The new Porsche 911 Turbo is massively talented, but doesn’t demand massive talents from the driver. It is the supreme all-rounder, and for a shade under £100k actually looks good value.
Its biggest competition could be from in house: the new GT3 is a fabulous all-rounder, too, only lacking the security of the Turbo’s four-wheel drive.
But it can't quite match the Turbo on any-day, any-condition performance potential. In fact, I'd be amazed if anything costing less than £100k can.