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Porsche 911 Turbo S review (2010 onwards model)
Porsche has taken the massively accomplished Turbo and made it even more massively fast. One of the world's most accelerative road cars ever, its speed-gathering abilities make it a relative bargain, despite the £123k list price...
We like: Performance, usability of thrust, confident handling, harder edge than standard Turbo
We don't like: Very similar to standard Turbo, first-glance gasp at list price
Porsche's 911 Turbo S is a car for spec sheet geeks. Visually, apart from the standard motorsport-style wheels and yellow ceramic brakes, it looks no different to the standard Turbo. If you're keen, you'll spot the 'S' graphic on the engine cover, but that's it. This bit's significant, though.
That's because the Turbo S is the most powerful Porsche 911 Turbo yet. It pumps out a massive 530hp, thanks to an increase in turbo pressure to a serious-sounding 1.2 bar (50% up on a standard Turbo). Already a thriller, the turbo-boosted bang provided by the Turbo S is potentially even more of a headrush.
It comes as both a coupé and a convertible, with all the crucial options available on the Turbo as standard: PDK semi-auto gearbox, Porsche Torque Vectoring, Sports Chrono lap-timing dial and headlights that turn their beam into corners. With adaptive sports seats and two-tone leather too, it's yours for £123,263.
It doesn't look it. 'S' models are traditionally the more potent versions of more mainstream Porsches. So, the Turbo S does not divert significantly from the standard Turbo. Consider it a massively more powerful Carrera S equivalent - but a significant one. Porsche reckons it will soon account for three-quarters of Turbo sales...
This is probably the fastest-accelerating (relatively) mainstream car you can buy. Porsche claims just 3.3secs for the all-wheel-drive car's 0-62mph dash; given how some testers have smashed that even in the standard model, it wouldn't surprise us if numbers beginning with a '2' are posted.
It's made possible by that 30hp more, plus a torque boost to 516lb/ft. Pulling power is spread between 2,100-4,250rpm, while max power has a wide band too. On the road, the gains are felt most appreciably above 4,000rpm, where the Turbo S simply flies. It is incredibly fast - indeed, it's approaching McLaren F1 levels...
This performance is deployed with more rawness as well. At low revs, you are aware of some turbo lag, but that's partly due to the intensity of the power once there. It comes with not just a rush, but a dragon-like a roar. It 'feels' more heavily turbocharged; more like an older classic 911 Turbo.
Choose high revs and there's much less delay, just a staggering ability to leap forward and very, very quickly close on its 195mph top speed. Deploying it is fearless thanks to the four-wheel-drive. For some, it will be too easy - they'll yearn for a GT3's involvement - but there's no doubting it's impressive.
The PDK gearbox helps, too. Porsche says 9 in 10 Turbo buyers choose it anyway, so it's an obvious standard fit. With superfast changes and amazing launch control, it's enhanced further here with - yes! - standard steering wheel paddles. They're far better than Porsche's favoured buttons. But the gearbox is so intuitive, you don't really need them...
It's more aggressive in 'Sport' mode, where the right pedal is speeded up and lower ratios are held for longer. The exhausts are louder in this mode too, for near-frightening aurals. The ultimate is Sport Plus, virtually a racecar-like setting. This also allows you to activate launch control, for perfect acceleration runs time and again.
Ride and handling
No changes have been made to the standard Turbo's setup. All Porsche has done is fit lightweight RS Spyder-style wheels, plus PCCB ceramic discs. These cut weight, so help the suspension work more effectively. It's extremely composed and stable, the ride is sportingly decent and the steering feel is, of course, superb (if not GT3-intense).
The clever torque vectoring system is standard as well - it is this that makes the Turbo S so agile and so able to use its massive power. Quelling understeer, the system enables you to turn in and feel the front end bite; even better, power on hard through bends and the car really digs in and grips.
If you know the Turbo, you'll know the Turbo S. It's not completely unchanged, though - to make it unique from the standard car, Porsche fits bespoke leather seats with special colour combinations. There's matching stitching for the dashboard, and a chunky three-spoke sports steering wheel that's delicious to hold (and hides minor instruments...).
Turbo S logos grace the rev counter and door kickplates, and there are two special 'turbo' readouts in the digital display. One shows off actual boost, the other displays a boost bar graph. That reads, yes, up to 1.2 bar. It's details like this that enthusiasts love.
Economy and safety
Is this the 911 Turbo S' most amazing stat? Despite the depth of its performance, it still averages 24.7mpg and emits 268g/km CO2. This is way better than any rival of comparable performance, and means we have to award it a full five stars for economy. It's a phenomenal achievement.
Particularly given the high levels of dynamic safety. It's very agile and grippy, and a full gamut of electronic stability aids enhance this further. Capabilities are very high so accident avoidance levels are heady. Also don't forget, the 911's rear-mounted engine brings big advantages for crash protection in front-end smashes.
The MSN Cars verdict
Porsche hasn't rewritten the Turbo script here. The standard car already did that; all it's done is make it even more of a powerhouse. In doing so, it has rewritten production car acceleration standards. The speed of it is incredible, the ease of using it more so.
Easy to miss as an onlooker, it's impossible to overlook its extra Turbo character and harder edge. This still does not make it GT3-raw; it's a different car. Instead, if you want sensational speed with classy sensations and the easy drive of a Fiesta auto, check it out. You won't believe how it can blow your mind...
|Need to know|
|Petrol engine||3.8-litre flat-six twin-turbo, 7-speed PDK semi-auto|
|Top speed (mph)||195|
|Ratings out of five|
|Ride & handling||*****|
|MSN Cars verdict||*****|
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