The Porsche 911’s impact on modern motoring cannot be understated. After first roaring to life in 1964, the design of the low-slung sports car has remained largely the same over the last six decades — much like its fellow German automotive icon, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class. But, whereas the G-Wagen built its rugged, rough and ready reputation on hardiness and reliability, the 911 had its signature bug eyes on another prize: style.
The unique iconography of the 911 comes down to a couple of its enduring characteristics. First, there’s that fast, sloping back — that almost looks like the car’s blistering speed has swept it back over the cabin. There’s the long, laid-back bonnet, languishing slowly up into a panoramic windscreen. And, finally, those headlamps — always round and always happy. You’ll be glad, then, that all these quirks are present in the latest speedster from the German carmaker, the Porsche 911 Turbo S.
One of the few cars to be launched during the lockdown, the Turbo S means business. It boasts a twin-turbocharged 3.7-litre flat-6 engine beneath its boot, based on the powertrain found in the current Carrera. And it’s a hefty thing. The last time a Turbo S was fired up by Porsche, it had an already enviable 552 horsepower. This new model has 641.
With such a leap, it needs all the cooling it can get. And don’t Porsche know it? The air intake system is larger than it’s ever been, located directly behind the engine instead of in the rear fenders, as in previous 911 Turbo models. And, with all these tweaks and touches, the speeds have shot up, and times have shot down. This 911 Turbo S can now reach 62mph in just 2.7 seconds. That’s 0.2 seconds less than last time round the track.
It’s fast enough to go tyre-to-tyre with a hypercar — and that’s no mean feat when it has four seats and a pretty roomy luggage compartment. In fact, you get more for your money all around. Even as standard, you’ll enjoy Porsche dynamic chassis control (PDCC), rear-axle steering and ceramic composite brakes.
There’s money bodywork bang for your buck, too. The whole car is more muscly, with shoulders almost five centimetres wider than before, meaning that the overall width now nudges two metres. The distinctive rear wing is noticeably larger, and pairs with a remodelled front that now sports adaptive cooling flaps to create over 15 per cent more downforce than in previous models.
In this rear wing, we’re particularly fond of the new seamless, one-piece light strip, including the Porsche logo and three-dimensional LED tail lights. It’s a design quirk characteristic of the whole car — where attention to detail itself has been given the attention it deserves. Not one feature or factor has been overlooked. And that, of course, extends inside the car…
Once you slip into the 911’s cabin, you won’t want to leave. New adaptive sports seats have 18-way electrical adjustment and are finished in staggeringly smooth leather with quilted centres. In a nice nostalgic touch; the fabric’s design can also be found on the door panels of the Turbo S, and is inspired by the original 911 Turbo models.
But, while the callbacks are appreciated, we’re also glad to see some technical innovations. The central control centre for audio, navigation and communication can be controlled via a high-resolution 10.9-inch touchscreen display. And features, including Adaptive Cruise Control and the brand new Wet Mode, make driving the 911 easier than ever.
But don’t be disheartened, diehards. The 911 Turbo S may be a little bigger and a lot more technical than its predecessors, but the spirit of the original remains. It still speeds along with the same signature, timeless silhouette. It still bellows with a throaty, reassuringly overpowerful engine. And it still stares out at you with those unmistakable eyes — even if they are LED matrix beams these days…
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