On the surface, it may seem as if there are any number of glorious supercars on the market, all capable of generating earth-shattering lap times and elevating the (mostly male) ego to heretofore unforeseen heights. Dig deeper, however, and the truth reveals itself: There are few supercars that you can drive to the racetrack, thrash around for hours and then drive back home again, all without missing a beat.
The Porsche 911 Turbo S is one of the rare few.
For the uninitiated, the current Porsche 911 line now encompasses 19 different models, a staggering range of choice that represents … well, probably too much choice. The Porsche 911 Turbo S is the most extreme example in the family in terms of straight-line performance and price – the fixed-roof version is the fastest of the 911s, the convertible is the most expensive.
Make no mistake, any new 911 represents a more-than-competent set of wheels with which to boost your ego and hone your driving skills. This automotive icon has benefited from more than a half-century of continuous improvement. It sets the standard in terms of steering feel, precision and feedback. It handles far better than any car with a rear-engine layout rightfully should. It jumps like a scared cat with the slightest touch of the accelerator pedal.
The question then becomes: Given all the fantastic qualities of the "generic" 911, why spend twice as much to secure a 911 Turbo S? The answer: To get more of a good thing.
Revamped for the 2014 model year, the 911 Turbo S is armed with a 3.8-litre turbocharged flat-six engine that develops a whopping 560 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. An overboost feature of the turbocharger sees the torque figure rise to 553 lb-ft, for up to 20 seconds at a time, which enables even sharper response when the hammer is down.
In the Turbo S, the combination of the engine, a launch control system, an electronic limited-slip differential and all-wheel drive creates a vehicle that is more rocket than road car. This 911 will accelerate from 0-100 km/h in a shade more than three seconds.
Top speed is a stratospheric 318 km/h. Even in a car this quick off the line, you would need a lot of open space to see that figure appear on the tiny digital readout.
Nevertheless, the 911 Turbo S is a rewarding car to drive even when it's not being pushed to its theoretical limits. It's also deceptively easy to drive when the limits are way off in the distance.
When the Porsche 911 Turbo first appeared some 40 years ago, it represented the transformation of an iconic sports car into something far more sinister – a supercar with a dangerous side. Today, the performance of the 2015 Porsche 911 Turbo S easily eclipses that of the original and a lot of the danger has been removed.
Still, if the mood strikes and the conditions are right, you might consider turning off the driver aids to see what's on the other side of the looking glass. We recommend careful planning before this decision is made – and please, hold on tight.
You'll like this car if ... you really like cars
- Base price: $208,500
- Engine: Turbocharged 3.8-litre boxer six-cylinder
- Transmission/Drive: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic/all-wheel drive
- Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 12.2 city, 8.1 highway
- Alternatives: Aston Martin V12 Vantage, Bentley Continental GT3-R, Ferrari 458 Speciale, Lamborghini Huracan, Mercedes-AMG GT-S, Nissan GT-R Nismo
- Looks: An iconic shape with added bulk and increased ferocity.
- Interior: More luxurious than before, still too many buttons and old-school quirks.
- Performance: Stunning acceleration, superior grip, athletic responses.
- Technology: The tech in the cabin is impressive; the tech powering the car is otherworldly.
- Cargo: The car’s nooks and crannies prove useful, but not so voluminous.
The Porsche 911 Turbo S may not be the flashiest or most expensive supercar out there, but it's still king of the hill.
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