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All Porsche 911s are turbos now…

Yes, but not all Porsche turbos are Turbos. The range-topper still gets the name with a capital and spelled out, for a reason. It’s the daddy of fast. Sorry, I may have given the game away early there.

It must be frustrating, being an engineer on the 911 Turbo. You can’t just go mental like those RS types and start manufacturing bits from magnesium and nicking bits off the racing car when nobody’s looking. You can’t make the car too hardcore, or too jittery. Too much noise won’t do. And if you went around deleting the air-con and stereo and then telling customers it was an advantage - then you’d just get the sack. But every time the new model time rolls around, you have to expand the superlatives. It can’t just be faster, it has to be better. And it was pretty damn good in the first place.

Looks pretty much the same as before, though?

Generally it is - think of this as a facelift. So you get all the new visual signatures of the revised 911 that got the new 3.0-litre biturbo engines a few months ago: 3D head and taillights, neater, vertical strakes on the rear engine compartment lid, subtle air scoops feeding the Turbo’s 3.8-litre motor between them. There are new, wider wheel designs and some massaging of the front and rear bumpers to accentuate the width of the Turbo’s front end and haunches. It’s wide, this - especially when parked next to a standard Carrera. Mind you, you’ll have to be a decent Porschephile to spot the differences between this and the last-gen if it flashes past on the opposite carriageway of a motorway.

Anything else?

Like I said, this is smallish stuff, really. Inside there’s a new steering wheel nicked from the 918 Spyder, and both cars get Porsche’s - usually optional - Sport Chrono Package as standard. Which means there’s a little rotary knob on the right-hand side of the steering wheel that allows you to switch between Normal, Sport, Sport+ and Individual modes, and a button in the centre of that dial for ‘Sport Response’ which essentially arms every system in the Turbo’s plethora. Hit the button and the turbos boost, the PDK ‘box finds the best gear and most aggressive response profile and the entire car gets fight or flight ready; a state that lasts for just 20 seconds before reverting to normal operation.

Just enough to make a very decisive overtake. In the case of both the Turbo and Turbo S, possibly several decisive overtakes. There’s also a new Porsche ‘Sport Mode’ for the Turbo that allows a driver to ‘approach performance driving limits even more closely’, which basically allows for it to appear that you’ve switched off the traction control - the warning lights all light up - but not to have actually switched it fully off. We’re talking a quarter turn of opposite lock. You still can knock everything off, but a longer, more deliberate press of the PSM off button is necessary.

Oh, and rear-wheel steering: at speeds above 50mph the rear wheels turn in the same direction as the fronts, adding to high-speed stability, and below 18mph turn in the opposite direction, helping make the car more agile and manoeuvrable. It’s useful: lopping nearly half a metre off the turning circle and making circuit driving a bit less frenetic and sketchy in longer, high-speed corners.

Is it faster?

That goes without saying. And as ever with Porsche engineering, it’s not just faster, but more efficient, so you get more bang for your buck, using fewer bucks for your bang. The basics are 540bhp for the straight Turbo and 580bhp for the S (up 20bhp over the old variants), with 31mpg and 212g/km of CO2 for both. Near identical weight, too, with the S being just five kilos heavier. The stats are hard to argue with, no matter what class of car you’re talking about: the new standard Porsche Coupe Turbo (there’s also a Convertible coming) hits 62mph from rest in three seconds dead and shaves the belly of the double-tonne with a 199mph top speed. The S is faster still: 0-62mph in ‘2.9’ seconds (more on the parentheses in a minute), and a 205mph top end.

The power gains for the standard car come from modified inlet ports, new injection nozzles and higher fuel pressure - small stuff - but for the first time the S actually gets bigger turbos than the standard vehicle, allowing it to up the bhp more significantly. Both engines feature a thing called ‘dynamic boost function’ which maintains charge pressure during load changes by cutting the fuel injection but keeping the throttle valve open - when you get back on the throttle, the turbo’s inertia doesn’t need to be regained, which equals more instant throttle response. The pressure would obviously die away after a few moments, so it only works ‘during load changes’ like releasing a throttle on the way into a corner.

But quick?

Yes. Even Porsche mentioned in the press material that 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds for the S is ‘conservative’, and according to our relatively reliable pocket GPS, we hit 2.6s to 62mph four times in a row. And that’s on a marginally dusty, imperfect surface at something like 5000ft elevation. The new electro-hydraulically controlled AWD system shuffles torque between axles more deftly than before - though to be honest, I struggled to feel any difference from the last-gen Turbo S - and the grip off the line is basically drag car. On any surface. And it’s reliably, monotonously easy to do. It doesn’t so much launch as lash out at the horizon and throw a snappy jab at the future road.

Go faster and both the Turbo or S remain one of the quickest point-to-point road cars on the planet. Click Sport Response, press throttle, overtake eight cars, relax. Or keep going and realise that because the Turbo remains a GT, everyday car, that it lulls you into travelling at speeds that you just didn’t think relevant, or actually possible. It’s not that it’s not exciting - it is - its that its so… exact and straight-laced that it’s not that thrilling, or at least as thrilling as it could be. Deliberately so, obviously - there are GT3 RSs in this world for fizzy excitement with a Porsche badge, but even so. It even sounds handily industrial, but not a noise that would make you get the shivers.

Do you actually like it?

Its not that I don’t like it. It’s just that the Porsche Turbo has been endlessly refined to do a certain job that it seems to have lost a bit of a sense of humour. There’s nothing in this price range that offers four seats and this kind of performance (Tesla P90d excepted, but that’s got other dynamic fish to fry), but equally, there’s not much for the keen driver to access on a normal road with other people on it, and on a track, it’s basically mitigate the AWD understeer before deploying the power.

The only time it feels genuinely sketchy is if you pile into a corner carrying way too much speed on the brakes and trying to turn -THEN you get quite a bit of rear-end wiggling and instability. But if you get on the power there’s not much of a line between understeer and… more understeer. You basically have to throw it like a loon to get it to oversteer in the dry, and it’s not what I’d call playful. Still, as tools for unpicking space/time go, its nicely upholstered.

Suffice to say, this is the opposite of a flamboyant street fighter. Its basically a hitman in a sharp suit, and it’s got a bit… emotionally economic. If you have to have the top of the range, I can’t see why you wouldn’t have the S, but equally, if you actually want to drive and enjoy the sensation rather than just cover ground, then consider one of the cheaper 911 variants and don’t worry about what other people think.

Porsche 911 Turbo

Price: £126,925
Engine: 3,800cc, Bi-turbo flat six, 540bhp @6,400rpm, 710nm @2,250- 4000rpm
Transmission: 7-spd PDK, rear-engine, four wheel drive
Performance: 0-62mph in 3.0 seconds, 199mph top speed
Efficiency: 31mpg (combined), 212g/km/C02
Weight: 1595kg

Porsche 911 Turbo S

Price: £145,773
Engine: 3,800cc, Bi-turbo flat six, 580bhp @6,750rpm, 750nm @2,250- 4,000rpm
Transmission: 7-spd PDK, rear-engine, four wheel drive
Performance: 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds, 205mph top speed
Efficiency: 31mpg (combined), 212g/km/C02
Weight: 1600kg

What do you think?

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