The Porsche 911 is a car for dentists. A car with the engine in the wrong place. A car that has evolved from the Beetle. A car that has never had a new design. A car where precision beats passion. Those all the cliches? Good. The 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S is terrifyingly fast and I have no time left for cliches.
(Full Disclosure: Porsche let us take the new 911 Turbo S for a full week. Matt drove it to DC. I did launch control in the car with my dad and he laughed harder than I've heard in a while. Who says Porsches are joyless? Ok, I promise, that was the last cliche.)
What started as a 911 with just a bit more power has now become a simply manic acceleration machine. To give you some perspective, this car gets to 60 MPH 0.1 seconds slower than a Bugatti Veyron. Here's your reminder that the Veyron can cost upwards of $2 million, gets to 60 in 2.5 seconds, and is one of the fastest cars the Earth has ever seen.
The 911 Turbo S costs 1/10th of that $2 million and gives it a run for its money. That's unreal. Come to think of it, the Turbo S is literally 1/2 the car of the Veyron for 1/10th of the money. It has 560 horsepower and 3.8 liters of displacement from the engine. The Veyron has at least 1,000 horsepower and eight liters of displacement. And at 4,100 pounds, the Veyron weighs about 600 pounds more than the Turbo S. That means that the Turbo is just that much more efficient at deploying it's power to match the Veyron.
Porsche offers the Turbo in two flavors: Turbo and Turbo S. In the past, a 911 Turbo S was a limited run version of the turbo that came at the end of the model cycle. It would be lighter, better optioned, and more powerful. Now, the 911 Turbo S is more a performance pack for the Turbo. The $31,000 price difference between the 911 Turbo and Turbo S gets you every performance option available on the Turbo (center lock wheels, carbon brakes, sport chrono, PDCC, and more) plus an extra 40 horsepower. It's actually, and this is rare in Porsche land, a deal.
The Turbo is not a Turbo Shitty, as some around here posit. The Turbo is a Turbo and the Turbo S is the Turbo Holy Hell They Made It Faster How Is That Even Possible?
911s have never been overt about their power or capabilities. In the supercar game, the 911 Turbo has always been a "best revenge" sort of car. It has the looks of any other 911, but it's faster than really anything on the road and the people who know what it is respect it.
This 911 Turbo is no different. But shit is it faster than you'll ever know what to do with.
There's something about the 991-gen 911 that just hits all the right ocular spots. It appears lower and wider than a 997 ever did, especially from the back. Like the Carrera 4 S, the tweaks made to the Turbo transform the base 991 from something pretty to something gorgeous.
The absolute best part are the rear haunches. They are impossibly wide, a rare moment of flamboyance from Porsche that seems to be a signal to those behind the Turbo S. That signal, of course, is that you aren't getting past the 911 Turbo S no matter how hard you try since it's faster than your car and is so wide you won't be able to get by no matter what.
Combine the Kardashian sized booty with a deployable wing, side scoops, gorgeous wheels, and a slightly angrier front clip, and you have near perfection. It's undeniably a 911, but it's a 911 in full Hulk mode. It's on the juice.
Exactly one year ago, we drove a 911 Carrera 4S. It was silver with a red interior. This 911 Turbo S is silver with a red interior. It is the exact same interior, just with a few buttons that have a different function and some red areas are now black. Here is what I said about the last one, since nothing has really changed:
The last 911 I drove had the same interior, but it was this really boring shade of grey. This C4S was resplendent in natural red leather, which really made everything pop.
I wouldn't buy the 18 way seats for my own car, because I'd want to save weight (and money, more on that later), but I did find them quite comfortable.
Other than that, it's standard Porsche in here. That means there are a lot of buttons, great feeling leather everywhere, and cupholders that are beautifully over-engineered and totally useless.
Two point six. That's the number of seconds a 911 Turbo S takes to get from 0 to 60 with launch control active. And it isn't a drama free experience like the solidity of a Nissan GT-R launch. The Turbo S feels and acts alive. All four tires break traction when you leap off the line. Your neck cracks back. Then the laughter starts. Or the nausea. It just depends on the person.
The ferocity off the line is also met by an equally docile attitude in mid-gear acceleration. Let's say you're cruising on the highway at 65 and want to go 90 for no good reason. Lightly press down your right foot, and it feels like a giant is now running behind the car, pushing you forward. "I got this," he says. And just like that, without any drama, you're going way faster than you could need to.
Here's an issue that you're all going to ridicule me for: This car is just too fast to be usable in the real world. Around town and at low speeds, the Turbo S is boring. You can be in sixth at 30 MPH and accelerate without downshifting. Running it to redline in first or second will be enough to put you behind bars. In a non-track scenario, it's fun merging on highways or exiting slow corners in a low gear on boost.
In reality, no matter how much you say it in the comments, you won't be doing launch control starts everyday, you won't be going 125 on your favorite backroads, you won't be on Route 80 going 150 with no worries. You'll be stuck in traffic.
Objectively on numbers and visceral feel at full throttle, the Turbo S is one of the most manic acceleration experiences on the market. In the real world it's more than adequate, if a bit boring at legal speeds.
One of the Turbo S pieces of standard equipment are Porsche's carbon ceramic brakes. Great pedal feel, great response, great stopping power. The ferocity of launch control works in tandem with the capability of the brakes.
A fun thing to do is launch the car up to around 75 MPH and then get on the brakes as hard as you can. It stops straight and true, no drama at all. Except from your passenger who is screaming at you to "not do that ever again."
It was totally worth it.
Ever drive a marshmallow across a sea of pillows? Or a shag carpet across a newborn baby's skin? Yeah, the Turbo S isn't like that at all. It starts off as firm and assertive and goes to solid steel girder when you put the PDCC in sport.
It's not a relaxing, cushy, lovey-dovey experience. The Turbo S is a very serious car and its serious suspension takes doing serious driving very seriously. You feel everything. On a backroad when you're trying to tame this Rancor monster of a car, that's fantastic and welcomed. When you're cruising on the highway and every single expansion joint makes its presence known, that's not as great.
This isn't a car about comfort. I'd be labeled with a scarlet letter M (for Moron) if I said that this needs to be softer. The stiffer ride would always be a compromise
But that compromise pays off in the corners. At nearly 3,600 pounds, the Turbo S has porked up a good bit over the years. Good thing it can mask that weight, like Chris Farley in a small coat.
And a girdle. And with gastric bypass surgery.
The electric steering, which some people make out to be a carnal sin, continues to get better and better. It's properly weighted and never feels artificial. If there's one manufacturer that will get it right first, it's Porsche, since steering feel is what makes a Porsche and what makes a 911.
Like the Corvette Stingray, the problem the 911 has is that the limits are just too high on the road. If you get close to them, you'll be going 830 MPH and be the subject of a Russian dash cam video that goes viral as you careen off a cliff. And even though it isn't the track car, I bet it's mighty fun on a track. That's just a wild guess.
PDK just gets better and better, but now Porsche has seemingly perfected it. The Turbo S has simply telepathic shifts. Will it and it is so.
The three modes also provide three distinctly different modes in the PDK, all three of them impossibly fast. It's just smooth when you leave everything alone, gives a bit of a kick in sport, and sport plus is ferocious. It's the smoothest, most tractable, and best gearbox on the market.
There's a reason this car doesn't have a manual option: It wouldn't be nearly as good a car. PDK is perfectly suited to the character of the 911 Turbo. Giving this car a manual transmission would be like playing Gran Turismo 6 with a broom. It just doesn't make sense. The Turbo is about the free flowing, unabashed surge of uninterrupted power. That's precisely what PDK is designed to do and it delivers in spades.
It has all the things. In addition to your normal stuff like satellite navigation, satellite radio, parking sensors, and reconfigurable gauges, it has the sweetest suite of performance add ons.
You have carbon brakes, PDK (and it's amazing launch control function), Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control, center lug wheels, and active aero in the form of a big rear wing and a front wing that is actually controlled by inflatable bladders. All its missing is a camera to help back it up without scratching the paint.
Porsche works with Burmester to make some of the best in car stereos that you can get. This one is no different. It's crisp and near perfection, easily one of the best stereos . Every little note just rocks. 4 Non Blondes have never sounded so good.
What isn't as great is the engine note, which is muted by the turbo and sounds a bit vacuum cleaner-esque. There are some pops out of the exhaust that I quite enjoy, and there is something cool about hearing the turbos work, but a turbo engine rarely has the auditory chutzpah of a naturally aspirated unit. There's also an obscene amount of tire noise on the highway. It's tough to strike a balance between what noises you let in the cockpit and what you keep out, but the tire roar got tiresome after a longer drive in the 911.
Normally, we disparage Porsche for just how much options can jack up the price of a 911. But not this time. The Turbo S is actually a deal compared to the 911 Turbo. If you go on Porsche's configurator and make a 911 Turbo that has all the options that are on the Turbo S as standard, you get a car that costs $178,490. The Turbo S has a base price of $183,695 and it has 40 more horsepower than the standard Turbo.
In a Carrera S, a powerkit to add that much horsepower to the 3.8 liter boxer six is a whopping $17,000. Here you're getting it for $5,000. That's a steal in my book.
Our Turbo S came in at $200,535, but that's because it had some frivolous options like a leather key pouch and a key matched to the exterior color. Options you just don't need. Still, with just $17,000 in options, this is the least optioned Porsche I think I've ever driven. And that's just fine.
It's faster than just about anything on the road, even its competitors from Ferrari and McLaren. It's expensive, but this is definitely worth it. And to think this thing started out as a Beetle decades ago.
Sorry. That was the last cliche.
Engine: 3.8L Turbocharged H6
Power: 560 HP at 6,500 RPM/ 516 LB-FT at 2,100 RPM (553 LB-FT at 2,200 RPM with overboost)
Transmission: Seven-Speed Dual Clutch
0-60 Time: TWO POINT SIX seconds
Top Speed: 197 mph
Drivetrain: All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight: 3,538 LBS
Seating: 4 people* (The two people in the rear seats better not have legs, or be contortionists)
MPG: Not very good
MSRP: $183,695 ($200,535 As Tested)