Not many manufacturers could roll out a new car that looks exactly the same as the old one and still grab the headlines. Porsche can though, and has been doing so for years.
Take the tweaked 911 Turbo. It’s even the same yellow as the old Porsche UK press car and the main differences are the RS Spyder wheels (which were and still are an option) and a little cut out of the rear lights (which is the same as has been seen on the other new 997s for months).
But for some reason the car still draws us in. One reason for this is the 911 Turbo’s legendary reputation and secondly because we all know the proper changes are under the skin. Porsche has built its name on taking engineering very seriously and for this reason we know the new 911 will have more than just a tweaked ECU. The turbos have been overhauled to make them more responsive, the electronic centre diff has been adjusted to make the car more tail-happy, and there is a direct injection for the first time.
The fuel system has been revised, the clutches in the PDK are bigger and the intercooler is improved. There is now a “torque vectoring differential” for the first time, which brakes a wheel at the rear to stabilise the car. Importantly the car is also lighter, although Porsche is not yet revealing just how much. The improved torque is also a figure the firm is being coy about for now.
It’s a great car the 911 Turbo, and this will simply be better. There may be sharper and quicker 911s out there but for me the Turbo remains the ultimate all-rounder. Lamborghini fast, practical, easy to drive, and innately quirky, but a fraction of the cost of other supercars.
Porsche customers know that and clearly don’t need extensive visual changes to prove this. Even in these difficult times the £100,000 Turbo (£110,000 for the cabrio) will still sell well, many, I expect, going to people who are trading in an old 997 Turbo. So the 911 is faster, lighter and more fun, but, and I’m going to have to say it I’m afraid, there is one tantalising question lingering. Is it better than a Nissan GT-R?