It is not often you get to drive two 911 Turbos back to back. We set out to see what the 911 Turbo has evolved into since its inception 45 years ago.
Back when it launched in 1975, the 911 (930) Turbo was Porsche’s flagship performance car. It was the supercar killer that just so happened to be the fastest thing from Germany. As one of the earlier applications of Turbocharging technology in road cars, it would often catch its owners off guard with a huge power surge, making the car a little prickly to handle – earning its name as ‘The Widowmaker’. Strangely enough, that made me want to drive it even more so because…
If you grew up between the ’70s and ’80s (or familiar with the online folklore), the 930 Turbo might have occupied that ever prestigious space on your bedroom wall.
“These hips don’t lie”
Unsurprisingly, 930 turns heads with its gigantic ‘whale tail’ spoiler, flared wheel arches and wide tyres. All of which, is necessary to facilitate that raucous 3.3L flat-six turbo. It’s just a bonus that these exaggerated proportions lend the car a sexy, eye-grabbing silhouette.
“He who dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose.”
Handling the 930 is no small feat. It can be a comfortable cruiser so long as you pay attention to the way it delivers its peak power. Should you unwittingly ring out the engine past 3500rpm you’ll quickly find yourself in a life or death situation. Considering the 930 was made in a time before braking assistance and power steering, it becomes a rewarding yet addictive experience that will have you growing chest hair you didn’t think you were capable of growing. It’s a very raw driving sensation that is a far removed from its modern successor. Porsche used the 930 to show the world what turbo technology it was capable of. These are big shoes for its successor to fill.
Since the 70s, Porsche has had a long time to refine and improve upon its flat-six turbo formula. The 2019 (991.2) Turbo S swaps out the 930s air-cooled 3.3L engine with a water-cooled 3.8L flat-six mated to twin turbos. Naturally, these new turbos push a whole lot more boost at a wider rpm range. Except, this time, Porsche engineers have figured their way around the turbo lag. Not only does this make the car much easier to drive without the widow-making burst of torque, but it gives it a seemingly instant yet continuous delivery of power – eliminating one of the common weaknesses of turbocharging. Suffice to say, it has filled the big shoes left behind by the 930.
The performance-safety improvements don’t end there. The 991.2 Turbos S comes with all-wheel drive as standard which not only gives it the grip to launch from 0-60mph in a blistering 2.7s but also makes driving in the rain surprisingly manageable. Pretty crucial for a machine pushing 580HP – as I discovered on a very rainy day in London. Even though the steering is now electronically assisted, it manages to provide more than enough steering feedback to make you feel at home from the get-go.
There’s no option for a manual transmission but you’ll know that’s nothing to complain about If you’ve used Porsches dual-clutch transmission before (PDK). It changes gears instantaneously but not in a way that that you won’t notice it. It’s as if it tells you that it is changing a cog but also saying “I got this.” Which leads me onto my next point. The typical criticism of performance cars with extensive electronic assistance, such as this, is that they lack “soul” which is something we were asked about in our Instagram Q&A. Although this car does take the reins in many areas (thankfully) it does so in a way that never leaves you in the dark. Everything that you need to know about what it is doing, it will communicate that to you somehow or other. The only way you could get more feedback from the car is if it were to literally start talking.
Carbon-ceramic brakes come as standard which, although is great for track use, can be a little bit difficult to use in-town driving as it is rarely close to optimum temperature. This is to be expected from carbon ceramics, but you can counter the hard braking by breathing on the brake pedal. There’s little in it between gradually slowing down and grinding to a complete stop. Not a deal-breaker but just something to watch out for. The racecar derived brakes hold true to the tradition of the Turbo as the 930 made use of the legendary 917s brakes, and it sure needed every ounce of stopping power it could muster.
Should you option the Carbon fibre wheels, you’ll find that the lower un-sprung mass combined with Porsches dynamic chassis control (PDCC) makes for a ride that copes with bumps on the road considerably well for a car of its class.
The 2019 911 (992.2) Turbo S, with all its power is paired amongst some of the most carefully appointed technology to give the driver all the performance you could ever need while being communicative yet easy to handle. It is all usable. That can also be said about the car as a whole, as it boasts a level of practicality that makes it the perfect everyday supercar. Clearly, then, the 911 Turbo is a tailored for the road supercar that comes with driving a typical supercar. It is for this reason that Porsche Turbos are, to this day, a totally different breed to their GT models.
With special thanks for @Porsche_GB