Driven: Porsche 911 Turbo S

I’ve just got back from driving the new Turbo S and have only three words go report. “This is important.”

Porsche have been slapping Turbo badges (and subsequently turbochargers) on the glorious arse ends for 45 years. That’s since 1975. Four and a half decades of brutal acceleration with no compromise in quality and luxury. The classic Porsche formula makes for classic Porsche icons. Then there’s the fact that that glorious arse end is also its business end because here resides a new flat-six biturbo heart good for ludicrous numbers. I refer you to its outputs of 478kW and 800Nm. Here, have more numbers like 2.7 seconds. That’s the time it takes to go from standstill to 100kph – an example of ludicrous numbers making for ludicrous speed. It’ll do 200kph in just 8.9sec, which is about the time it will take a Mazda MX-5 to do 100kph. It will eventually top out at 330kph with the correct driver’s package but ours beeped itself into submission at 270kph. Allegedly. This doubly-blown three and three quarter-litre engine has been paired with a new dual-clutch eight-speed PDK, features turbos that are 10% larger as well as the fact that the plumbing has been swapped with the intake and charged switching positions. More Air magic takes place across the body such as the way more is tunnelled through the rear lid and grille. It’s all made bigger. The aero is more efficient, active and includes an airbrake, adjustable front spoiler cooling flaps and a new adjustable rear wing rendering downforce at 170kg – 15% up on the old car.

The transmission too has been fettled for top speed and comfortable cruising with a short first and long top gear. Porsche traction management now delivers up to 500Nm to the front wheels, massive rubber items at 20/255/35 (9.5j) whilst you’ll find pregnant 21/315/30 (12j) rears. Grip feels limitless, certainly on my drive around Ceres where the tarmac takes on the form of spaghetti. Also contributing to its poise and tenacity is PASM aka Porsche Active Suspension Management, now featuring updated shock absorber technology capable of calculating 200 times per second for better (telepathic) road holding and stability. How’s this for a neat trick? Joining the usual tyre pressure monitor is a brand new tyre temperature indicator. Blue is cool, red is warm and good. This isn’t a car. It’s a symphony of science. Let me continue.

Because there’s also Porsche Ceramic Composition Brakes or PCCB, their first ten-piston braking system measuring 420mm up front and 390mm across at the rear. The new 911 Turbo S is a lane-hogging 1.9m in width – wider than ever. Added up, this has been the single most brutal drive I have experienced all year, as well as the most engaging from the moment you launch it, through the period in which you’ve carving up apexes, trumpeting through tunnels, beeping at the speed limiter and flipping the middle finger at physics when you turn an unstoppable force into a parked one, with the acrid smell of tyres and brake dust filling your lungs.

Settle into a slower rhythm and you’ll better appreciate the iconic diagonal door stitching in the cabin – a throwback to the original Turbo. As for the pews, they’ve come a long way since the 70s – now 18-way adjustable sports seats with Turbo lettering. Now is a good time to discuss its options list such as the new Sports exhaust with electronic continuously adjusting flaps. Then there’s a lightweight package which deletes 30kg by replacing the seats with lightweight items upfront and air at the back. You could splurge on a Sport package with lightweight carbon roof and plenty of black gloss details as well as exclusive rear lights. The PASM chassis is also an option bringing the 911 ten mill closer to the ground and includes an additional helper spring on the rear axle. It also benefits from a steering ratio that’s been improved by 6%. Incremental. Mental.

And while it’s nice to know the stats, there’s nothing quite like entering an empty Franschhoek Pass, dropping two cogs and, with Sport Plus and noisy exhausts engaged, flattening the throttle. This is where the Turbo S comes alive – left, right and left, right again – the torque in endless and the helm is flavourful with information, perfectly weighted and responsive. The noise wanes beyond 6000rpm but paddle shifters mean I’m shifting half as much for the extra revs and ditto for the soundtrack. The Turbo S is it. An absolute Supercar in sports car clothes. You couldn’t fathomably go much quicker than this on this road in ANYTHING. Of this I’m certain. More than once on this iconic road did all its components conspire to give me a perfect moment, or two. Or ten. As I settle once again and give the car (and myself. Mostly myself) some time to recover, I can’t help but think about what a great job Porsche has done in keeping the Turbo special. Back then, Turbo was a distinction – it was the sportiest iteration because it had that forced aspiration. But in 2020, practically every 911 is turbocharged. But only one wears the Turbo badge. Because only one deserves it.

Thus concludes a day of two turbos, almost four litres, 478kW and 800Nm. If I had a mic I would drop it, but all I have are these photographs of a resplendent German supercar. Porsche 911 Turbo S, you were fantastic. And a 0-100kph of 2.7 seconds won’t soon be forgotten. Nose down, wing up. That’s how we like it in this WAP. Wide-Ass Porsche. A low-key legend, for someone who isn’t brash, but it very, very brave.

Porsche 911 Turbo S coupe R3,849.000
Porsche 911 Turbo S cabrio R4,049.000

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