Porsche 911 Turbo Review

by Neunelf
porsche 911 turbo review

Since 1859, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution has challenged religious fundamentalism. Forget Adam and Eve. Humans started as random spices in a primordial soup. Natural selection took us from soup to trees, trees to cars. And then Ferdinand Porsche created a mutant Volkswagen. Since its inception, the 911 has been evolution’s four-wheeled poster child, moving quickly from an oversteer monster to a supersonic pussycat. And then, on the seventh day, Stuttgart created the latest Turbo, a car so capable that driving it is a biblical revelation.

Walking up to my loaded lender, I realized that the more things stay the same, the more they change. The Turbo still wanders the line between “normal” and “steroidal” with delicious subtlety, advertising its alpha status with the kind of nonchalance one associates with closeted superheroes– and TV serial killers.

If natural selection dictates aero-friendly styling, artificial selection demands the return of the bug eyes. And there they are. Meanwhile, the Turbo moves the styling needle towards the temper of the times: Bauhaus bling. Clock the split-level induction ducts in the rear quarters and the new, “Audi-inspired” LED’s in the snout.

Nineteen inch two-tone rims (revealing epic brake discs) and a subdued spoiler indicate function, while Bette Davis’ eyes and Bettie Page’s hips project the iconic form. The Turbo’s wheels are by far the most “distinctive” yet offered as stock. To my eyes the fifteen-spoke Ferrari-esque pentagrams are the only miscue in an otherwise perfectly judged stealth wealth gestalt.

Open the Turbo’s door and the six figure price tag is well represented. Illuminated door sills greet, leather aromas intoxicate. The Turbo’s build quality and material choices offer haptic harridans Teutonic titillation. All the buttons and switchgear click with infinite precision, nestled within their intuitive homes. The Turbo’s low-slung sport seats hug your hide while the side bolsters holster your spare tire. Digital ICE rends Floyd asunder through thirteen channels. While Dr. B’s boom box isn’t as orchestral as Lexus’ Levinson unit, Turbo owners won’t care until at least their third oil change.

Twist the Ned Flanders-friendly ignition and life breathes into the miraculous mill through twin-intercooled turbines. (THAT’S what you paid to hear.) The horizon takes on a bi-xenon hue as you slot first. Loop your thumbs over the spokes at nine and three, mash the gas and the world begins to look like the Matrix. The seats give a little before they don’t; keeping you locked and loaded.

The last Turbo I sampled was of the calf-master floor-mount clutch variety. It provided an ideal setup for three pedal track tangos, but felt like three left feet when negotiating a city grid. The new Stiletto-savvy pedal positioning and lighter clutch uptake make pothole-piloting and Honda parking a piece of piss. Yes, well, even a gentle tickle on the go-pedal provides an unequivocal indication that this car is built to be driven hard and put away wet.

As enthusiasts of a certain age will tell you, waiting for big blowers to spool up sucks. I’m pleased to report that Porsche’s professors nixed the problem in the low-rpm bud by blending Variable Turbine Geometry (VTG) and VarioCam Plus. VTG modifies the planes directing exhaust gases to the turbine so that low rev launches are fully spooled. Those planes then change as the big tach needle in front of you flickers by, keeping optimum boost primed. VarioCam Plus keeps the twist on tap through two different cam profiles; city schlepping and Bahn burning.

The new Turbo Porker’s 3.6-liter flat six stables 480 apocalyptic horses. When dispatched, over 500 pounds of twist try to eat Mother Earth. In manual trim, rest to sixty arrives almost before it arrives: 3.7 seconds. Endure cries of wuss, and the Tiptronic S gets there .3 seconds earlier. To keep all that power from going up in ZR-rated Holy Smoke, an all new electronic controlled multidisc AWD system ensures forward motion.

There are very few cars that mind meld with the driver as quickly and easily as the new 911 Turbo. Look, point, accelerate. Wipe stupid grin from face and repeat. I’m told there’s a bit of understeer out there, somewhere. Didn’t see it. In fact, this car is so easy to drive at such stupendous speeds that within minutes I was thinking Matthew “Schumacher” had a nice ring to it. When your ego gets the better of you (and it will) Porsche Stability Management (PSM) steps in to save your bacon.

The new 911 Turbo is the fastest, friendliest and safest evolution yet– at least until the Turbo S arrives. Why in the world anyone would want to make this car any faster is beyond me. But then this is the company that has done more than any other to ensure that well-heeled speed freaks can procreate. That is, if their Porker’s ever parked long enough for them to bother.


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  • Jstnspin82 Jstnspin82 on Nov 24, 2008

    Porsche proves to everyone year after year, generation after generation, that the 911 Turbo is the best sports car model. Every generation, they make it quicker, handle better, and the performance is nothing less then perfect. The 2009 represents the 911 in it's purest form and it is unmatched by none. There is a reason why it is priced so high, it is worth every penny! You get ore then you pay for! The 911 is an icon and is the best sports car of it's day! PORCHE - THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE

  • Adrift Adrift on Nov 24, 2008

    I beg to differ. I would argue the GT3 represents the 911 in its purest form, while the turbo represents the 911 maximized to its fullest road-car potential. It is fast, comfortable, and easy to drive at ridiculous speeds, and quite safely at that. I would also argue the Cayman would be a better car than the 911, if they would just unfetter it.

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