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£142,120 when new
The 911 Turbo S is blindingly fast. I mean that not as a figure of speech, but quite literally. This car blinds you. Human eyes cannot cope with the sheer force of detonating from a standstill past 60mph in three seconds, the Turbo S flinging itself off the line with a lot of noise and just a hint of wheelspin. Clench your jaw, squint, gurn, it’s all useless: as launch control bites, the windscreen starts to swim, the scenery closes in around you, and then, for what must be no more than a few milliseconds but feels far longer, all is a blur as the g-force squeezes your eyeballs’ vital fluids in directions vital eyeball fluids shouldn’t go. It is addictive and unsettling, not acceleration in the traditional sense, but something rawer: thrust, the sensation of a jet aeroplane on take-off, a relentless surge seemingly independent of tarmac and tyres. Ease off the throttle, and the world wobbles back into view. It’s official: the 911 Turbo S is too fast for eyes. Not a bad boast for the machine with a strong claim to the crown of Quickest Car in the Real World. Sure, the record books may herald the Bugatti Veyron and its 267mph top speed, the Pagani Huayra and BAC Mono may sit atop the TGTV Power Laps board. And, true, on an empty track or airstrip in the hands of His Stigness, these three might edge out the Turbo S. But on the road? The Veyron, astonishing achievement though it is, is too large, too heavy, too damn intimidating to use on normal public lanes. The rear-drive Huayra and Mono, meanwhile, require a driver of superhuman skill to exploit their full potential if the tarmac is anything other than bone-dry and perfectly smooth. If we’re talking a real, normal driver on a real, normal road, I’m not sure there’s anything on earth to touch this rear-engined slot car. Some numbers. The new Turbo S, with its bi-turbo 3.8-litre flat-six, sends 553bhp and a ludicrous 553 torques to four very large tyres. That’s some 30bhp and 37lb ft more than the last-gen 911 Turbo S, which few regarded as underpowered or slow. The new car’s 0-62mph time is officially quoted at 3.1 seconds, which is frankly silly for something with at least a nominal set of rear seats and a decent front boot. Yet our unofficial stopwatch tests suggest the Turbo S might even be a couple of tenths quicker than that. Quick enough to cause temporary ocular disability, at least. To some extent, liberating a lump of extra power and pace with the aid of a couple of turbos is the easy bit. And a company less engineering-obsessed than Porsche might be content with that alone: no doubt the chassis of the standard 911 Carrera 4S is competent enough to deal with 553bhp and whatever treatment any Turbo S owner might throw at it. But Porsche doesn’t think like that. Porsche, being Porsche, has entirely re-engineered the 911 for Turbo duty. For a start, take a look at that big ol’ booty. The Turbo S’s rear track is some seven centimetres wider than that of the standard rear-drive 911 Carrera, and 15cm wider than its own front track. This is fine news for grip, but means that no matter how neatly you reverse-park your Turbo S in a supermarket space, it’ll always look a bit wonky.