You are here

9/10
Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review: Porsche 911 Turbo S

n/a
9/10
Overall verdict
The mighty 992 Turbo S climbs back to the top of the class
 

For: 

Massively improved chassis, unburstable 3.8-litre twin turbo engine

Against: 

Has lost a chunk of old school 911 character

Overview

What is it?

Taken objectively, the last Porsche 911 Turbo was all the sports car you’d ever need. Its jet speed and sure-footed handling combined with all the boring-but-true facts about being reliable and easy to live to make it nigh on perfect. But, thanks to our monkey brains’ insatiable desire for more power, control, grip and car park status, it wasn’t all that you’d want forever.

To get picky, really picky, the handling did get a little fuzzy, the steering a little light on feedback – as per most 911s – once you started to explore the very upper reaches of the car’s warp speeds. And even though it had well over 500bhp, which never left you with a feeling of being underserved, the competition headed over 600. So, more of that was necessary to keep it at the front of the pack, too.

Porsche, as per usual, was already on the case.  And the result is this new 992 version of the Turbo S, a car so strong, capable and - yes - comfortable, it consumes roads so easily it’s almost not fair on the competition.

In due course, a detuned non-S 570bhp Turbo version will arrive, or if you’re looking for alternative options right now, you can have a Turbo S Cabriolet for a whisker under £10,000 more. And no, this isn’t a cheap car. Porsche has chosen to take the Turbo S further into McLaren Sports Series and Audi R8 territory, pricing this Turbo S Coupe at £155,970.

Other things have risen too. It’s around 40kg heavier than the last Turbo S, but the new level of chassis integrity tells you that extra heft has been used wisely. It remains all-wheel drive with the same eight-speed PDK ratios as in the 911 Carrera. The key change is the final drive ratio has been lengthened to allow the Turbo S to crest 200mph and beyond. There’s an electronically controlled diff at the back and a hydraulic one in the centre of the car. Rear-wheel steering is standard as is Porsche’s two-mode Active Suspension Management.

Vast 420mm carbon ceramic rotors and new ten-piston – yes, TEN – calipers feature at the front, the back wheels making do with 991.2 carry-over calipers and 390mm rotors. And, as is the vogue these days, the front and rear wheels are of different sizes. Instead of 20s all-round like last time, this car gets 20s at the front and 21s at the back.

The aero package has also evolved with the changes to the wider, longer car. The adjustable front splitter and wider rear wing – both of which automatically go to max attack in Sport Plus mode, but can be set independently – add a claimed 100kg of downforce at the Turbo S’s claimed 205mph top speed. Doesn’t sound like that much, but it’s a good balance of added stability without shredding fuel economy.

The one minus in all of these changes is that, in tuning out all the foibles of the last car, a sizeable amount of traditional 911 handling character has been dialed out, too. The blowers on the previous car dulled the soundtrack significantly enough that you lost the flat-six’s hair-raising howl at all but the very top end. It’s the same with the 992’s larger, variable-geometry turbines. So there’s no room for complaint here. Especially as it has another 69bhp and 37lb ft to play with. What you lose in acceleration noise you gain in cruising-speed calm, which you can see as a win of sorts.

But is it all enough to return the new 911 Turbo to the pinnacle of the lux performance car field? Let’s see.

COMPARE CAR FINANCE