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2013 Porsche 911 Turbo Road Test

By raccars Published

10 second verdict: Unbelievably fast supercar from Porsche sets new standards for performance – but comfort isn’t compromised either.

Price: From £118,349 (Turbo S: £140,852)
Gearbox: Seven-speed PDK
0-60mph: 3.1 seconds (Turbo S), 3.4 seconds (Turbo)
Top speed: 197 mph (Turbo S), 195mph (Turbo)
Fuel economy: 29.1 mpg
CO2: 227 g/km
On sale: Now
Insurance group: 50

Three UK Porsche 911 Turbo facts

  • Sold in two guises – 520hp Turbo and 560hp Turbo S
  • Most UK Porsche 911 Turbo are expected to be Turbo S grade, despite the £140k price tag
  • Porsche 911 Turbo S models get PDCC active anti-roll, PCCB carbon brakes and Sport Chrono Package Plus

What is it?

The new Porsche 911 Turbo is the latest evolution of a supercar legend that dates back to the 1970s. This new ‘991’ series model replaces the older ‘997’ series – and while that car was hardly slow, this one is even faster.

The standard Turbo now produces a huge 520hp. If this isn’t enough, Porsche also offers a more powerful Turbo S variant, which produces 560hp. Both models will be available from the car’s dealer launch in September, priced from £118,349 and £140,852 respectively.

The 911 Turbo has always had a wide remit. It should offer the most performance in the regular 911 model line, but also the most comfort. These goals are at opposite ends of the field – to ensure one car can do both, Porsche has loaded the 2013 911 Turbo with technology.

This is the world’s first car to have active aerodynamics, with auto-adjust front and rear wings. It has a new electronically controlled four-wheel drive system, PDK paddleshift gearbox, active anti-roll suspension, adaptive dampers, carbon fibre brakes, even a torque vectoring system that can vary the amount of drive going to each wheel in order to alter the car’s handling balance.

Visually, you will not miss the 911 Turbo on the road. Its wings and spoilers may be tucked away at slow speed now (they are deployed at speed), but it still has massive 20-inch wheels and huge air intakes on the side of the rear panels. The rear is also wider even than the Carrera 4 models, and they themselves are wider than standard Carreras. Be in no doubt, the Turbo has muscular presence…

Performance

The acceleration of both new Porsche 911 Turbos is simply staggering. For starters, it has four-wheel drive and a seamless-shift PDK gearbox with eyeblink gearchange speed: the power that’s there can be fully delivered and then remains unbroken until you lift off.

And what force it is; the 520hp Turbo accelerates to 62mph from rest in 3.4 seconds. Think that’s fast? Try the Turbo S: this reduces the benchmark dash to just 3.1 seconds. And with standard launch control, this is repeatable all day long.

It’s not just quick against the clock, ether. Because the engine has so much pulling power spread across such a wide rev range (maximum torque is 553lb ft), the engine reacts instantly and with huge force. Forget turbo lag: the slight delay here is simply the difference between accelerating with huge force and accelerating with rocket-propelled force.

Ride and handling

Earlier this year, Porsche launched the 911 991 GT3. This is a convincing race car for the road, with involving handling and an edgy feel. The 911 Turbo is a very different proposition: Porsche dictates its handling should be involving but it shouldn’t be at the expense of comfort or composure.

Porsche uses the huge arsenal of technological hardware and software in the new 911 Turbo to thus achieve the impossible. On a track, the 911 Turbo is incredibly alert and agile, squirming and pointing to find the best line through a corner and always going where you place it.

On the road, this equals precise and crisp handling, with all-roads security and a crisp delicacy to the steering that’s really quite something in a car this powerful. It has fingertip precision which is remarkable – but even more astounding is the traction. Al that power can be fully deployed, even at slow speeds out of corners. The force with which it gathers pace is stunning.

Yet the ride quality needn't be uncompromising. You can tighten the suspension by choosing Sport mode, which tightens the ride accordingly. Sport Plus Mode clamps it down further (this mode also deploys the active wings). But leave it in regular ‘comfort’ mode and you’ll discover very impressive compliance and long-distance rolling comfort that means you can cruise in the 911 Turbo almost as comfortably as in an executive saloon. Truly, the best of all worlds.

Inside story

The Porsche 911 Turbo is, inside, just like a really well equipped regular Porsche 911. Fitted as standard are leather seats, PCM sat nav, DAB radio, BOSE stereo and Bluetooth connectivity. The Turbo S gets a bespoke black and Carrera red interior, plus the spec boost of Sports Seats Plus.

Porsche 911s have always been among the more practical supercars and this one is no exception. The rear seats remain – ideal for small children – and the deep front boot is ever-useful. Visibility is good but you must remember the rear end is now much wider than a standard car…

Marketplace

The Porsche 911 Turbo is a very expensive car – yet remarkably, it’s the very, very expensive £140,000 Turbo S that traditionally sells best in the UK. Proving that price is no barrier if a car is this capable. Anyway, the Porsche 911 Turbo is as fast as a McLaren 12C, but more than £50,000 cheaper – so maybe it’s a bargain…

Porsche has priced the 911 Turbo to give a significant gap between it and the more sports-focused 911 GT3. That car starts at £100,000, leaving this very much as the luxury range-topper.

Verdict

The 2013 Porsche 911 Turbo is an incredible car. It has a really broad reach and will make a fine everyday supercar for city commuting and long-distance cruising… but it is at its best on the open road, where its staggering performance can be deployed.

Acceleration is viscous, control is first rate and the ability of the car to use its massive output on all roads and in all weathers is also wildly impressive. A stunning new supercar and a fantastic range-topper for Porsche.

Five rivals

Ferrari 458 Italia – Italian thoroughbred is many people’s definition of supercar brilliance
McLaren 12C – The car you sense Porsche created the 911 Turbo to beat
Bentley Continental GT Speed – Big, heavy, luxurious British beast is fast and plush
BMW M6 – Cut-price alternative to the Porsche, but just as powerful as the Turbo S
Porsche 911 GT3 – The 911 Turbo’s playful brother: this is the one hardcore enthusiasts should pick

Now buy a used Porsche 911 Turbo

The Porsche 911 Turbo was first launched back in 1976 but it is the modern era machines that represent the most alluring buys today.

The 2000 Porsche 911 996 Turbo was the first of these, producing 420hp for 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds. By 2006, this had evolved into the Porsche 911 997 Turbo, with a variable geometry turbo giving a power jump to 480hp.

In 2009, the Porsche 911 997 Turbo received a new engine, which produced 500hp. This was the first ground-up all-new engine in the 35-year history of the 911 Turbo. A year later, Porsche launched an additional model, the Turbo S – now producing 530hp.

Buying a used Porsche 911 Turbo thus guarantees exceptional performance. And with prices for a full RAC 321 Go!-equipped 2006 997 model starting from just over £40,000, you’d have to agree they also offer exceptional value for money right now, too…

How has Porsche 911 Turbo power gone up over the years?

2000 Porsche 911 996 Turbo: 420hp
2006 Porsche 911 997 Turbo: 480hp
2009 Porsche 911 997 Turbo: 500hp
2010 Porsche 911 997 Turbo S: 530hp

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