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Porsche 911 Turbo S
9/10

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Road Test

Porsche 911 Turbo S driven

Driven August 2010

Additional Info

As sure as night follows day, there will be arguments in car magazine offices. Look at the way Clarkson, Hammond and May are constantly bickering on the telly. They aren't the only ones. For a perfect example of an argument-maker, I present to you the Porsche 911 Turbo, a car that has caused arguments aplenty in this office because a lot of people who aren't me are completely wrong about it.

If you read Jeremy Clarkson's column, you'll see that he is wrong about it. In my opinion. He's the boss so he's not actually wrong if I'm going to be sacked. Jeremy reckons that the Turbo is trying to be something the 911 shouldn't be, a supercar, and that it is therefore a bit rubbish. I disagree. I think the 911 Turbo is trying to be a spectacularly fast and capable all-weather GT car - a cruiser, in effect, a softy - and it is therefore brilliant.

For evidence, look no further than this new Turbo S. It is specified - as 90 per cent of 911 Turbos around the world are already specified - with the PDK semi-auto gearbox, which gives you a clue as to the type of buyer the car appeals to (older gents who want to potter around in ease and comfort most of the time yet display their wealth with the ultimate 911, as well as occasionally destroy every other road user at the traffic lights just to prove they haven't lost their mojo). You can't actually have an S with a manual. Also satnav, leather and carbon-ceramic brakes, the special centre-nut wheels and the chrono package are standard.

The S gives you all of that stuff - stuff nine out of 10 buyers choose with a normal Turbo, remember, because money is no object - plus 30bhp and 37lb ft for ‘free'. That extra oompf makes this the fastest-accelerating Porsche in history. It will run from 0-60mph in 3.1secs and from 0-100mph in 7.1secs. And it handles all of that urge with grace and aplomb, never feeling frightening or unruly. Grip, poise, balance, pace, all are nicely balanced and easy to use, with a terrific stability system in reserve in case you overcook it.

I can understand why some say the GT3 is the purest modern 911, but I can also understand why I say this is the better all-round car, money no object. It is a hell of a lot faster and it has four-wheel drive, which gives it incredible traction when it's wet, which it often is in Europe.

Is it the 911 I'd have? No. That'd be the upcoming 911 GT2 RS, which has a 620bhp version of this car's twin-turbo motor, but with rear-wheel drive and a stripped-out interior like the GT3's. Porsche does turbos well. Long may it continue.

Bill Thomas


On your drive for: £3,040pcm
Performance: 0-62mph in 3.3secs, max speed 196mph, 24.6mpg
Tech: 3800cc, 6cyl, 4WD, 523bhp, 516lb ft, 1570kg, 272g/km CO2

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