Warp Speed Engaged: The 911 Turbo S
Jump In & Feel The Fury

We’ve driven so many versions of Porsche’s latest generation 911 – the 991 – that I’ll spare you another introduction. You know it’s a great successor to the 997; you know it’s grown a fair bit; and you know it comes in a variety of flavours. But if you’re anything like me, the only thing you’d really be interested in when handed the keys to a brand new Turbo S, is how it drives.

So let’s jump right into the driver’s seat of the most powerful and expensive 991 to date…

991-Turbo-S-07

This journey starts at the bottom of a wonderful little road that takes you right up to the Hakone Skyline and over a lovely mountain range that snakes down the Izu Peninsula from the Gotemba area of Shizuoka.

991-Turbo-S-06

This is what the road looks like on the Turbo’s Clarion navigation screen. You know that any road shaped like this is going to be a lot of fun. Like the new 911 GT3 that my fellow Speedhunter Pedey just spent the weekend with in Germany, the Turbo S only comes with one transmission option. And you know what? I get it. I really do. A traditional manual gearbox would be great, but in this car it would really only hamper your pace – something that becomes very obvious when you mash the accelerator to the floor for the first time and punch through a few gears. All I can say is bye-bye GT-R! It’s taken Porsche seven years but they have finally given the Turbo an edge over Nissan’s physics-defying R35.

Excuse my editing skills, but I’m trying to incorporate as much video as I can in my posts from now on. I know it’s something you guys really want to see. By pressing play above, you can at least hear what the Turbo S sounds like; the way those blowers instantly boost and the lovely crackles the exhaust emits on lift-off.

991-Turbo-S-14

Having driven the car around the busy streets of Tokyo for a week, the road provided a great backdrop in which to discover all the traits the Turbo S had been hiding from me in the city. This is one car that can do many things so well, so I was expecting it to shine through the corners – but I just didn’t know how much. When you step into a Porsche you know you are entering a unique and polished level of motoring – one where the dynamics are delivered with poise, refinement and controlled urgency.

991-Turbo-S-10

But I just couldn’t believe just how damn fast this thing is! I love seeing – and feeling – how turbo technology keeps evolving, and how different manufacturers approach it. Porsche have really pushed the envelope with this engine and its reflected in 560ps and a monumental 700Nm dollop of torque that’s delivered from 2,100rpm to 4,250rpm. Think about for a second… As explosive as it is though, acceleration is creamy-smooth and surprisingly accessible and drama-free – provided you have enough space in front of you! You just can’t help but drive this thing hard.

991-Turbo-S-19

As you will have seen in the video, one of the Turbo’s party tricks is the electronic rear spoiler that rises to help keep the rear end planted. Well, at the same time this hard rubber splitter descends down from behind the front bumper to reduce lift and perhaps even generate a touch of downforce. How cool!

991-Turbo-S-15

911s are great, but not being able to see the engine in these newer cars is something that bothers me. All you get a glimpse of under the little vented cover that lifts up are a couple of extractor fans, an intake and the neatly-labelled oil and water reservoir caps. There’s lots more to this car that you can’t see either, like how the chassis has been further stiffened over a regular Carrera, and how the rear end is 7cm fatter to accommodate meatier rubber. And just like in the GT3 – most likely to counteract the fact that the car’s wheelbase has grown considerably since the 997 – the Turbo uses Porsche’s rear-steer technology. This is nothing new – the BNR32 Nissan Skyline GT-R’s HICAS system did pretty much the same thing in 1989 – but 25 years on the setup employed here is far more refined. Porsche’s system employs electromechanical actuators – not hydraulics – to steer the rear wheels up to 1.5 degrees against the fronts at speeds below 50km/h, and with the fronts at over 80km/h. In turn, this gives the car a tighter turning circle and makes it feel more agile, and more chuckable than it would otherwise be.

991-Turbo-S-11

Then there are the brakes. And thank goodness for these optioned carbon ceramic beasts, because I may have found myself in trouble a few times during my week with the car, had this car not been specced up. These may also be the biggest rotors I have ever seen on a road car – a massive 410mm diameter with 36mm thickness at the front, and equally impressive 390mm units in the rear. But then again, Porsche has always taken braking seriously.

When a car can effortlessly accelerate from standstill to 60mph in 3.1 seconds as the short video of a launch control assisted start above shows, good brakes are something you learn to depend on. Check that out – not even a whiff of wheelspin – the 911’s heavy rear end and the Turbo’s fat 305-section rear tyres maximising mechanical grip to its fullest.

991-Turbo-S-12

While you’ll probably either love or hate how the 911 looks, the Turbo S sure sets itself apart from the rest of the line up with its rear spoiler, big booty, and additional aero touches around the car.

991-Turbo-S-13

I couldn’t help but stop for a breath of fresh air; admire the lovely views of Lake Ashinoko, and allow my palms to dry a bit. The 911 is a very engaging drive, and you really need to hang on for dear life when you unleash its full fury.

Torque + PDK = Killer Combo
991-Turbo-S-09

And therein lies my point about the PDK gearbox. Apart from the fact that it’s one of the best double-clutch transmissions around, the 7-speed transmission just can’t be matched on shift speed, which allows you to just get on with the job of steering – and keeping the thing on the black stuff. If this car used a manual gearbox, your pace through a road like this would drop significantly, and it would make the whole driving experience far too hectic. So yeah, manuals are great and everything, but thank god for DCTs in cars with this levels of performance!

991-Turbo-S-08

Seeing I hadn’t been there in quite some time, I decided I’d drive down and get a closer look at the lake.That, of course, required me to fork out some cash to enter the Hakone Skyline.

991-Turbo-S-16

But that’s fine, as it’s like entering a race track. Most of the time the road is empty, and the route it takes as it carves through and crests the mountain range is nothing short of epic. From this angle you get to see how the camber on the road varies too – it really is a great place to put any high performance car to task.

991-Turbo-S-18

As I climbed higher I had to drop my speed – it seemed like I had driven right into the middle of a low-lying cloud.

991-Turbo-S-17

Which meant it was definitely an opportunity for some moody shots! At this point the tyres on the Turbo were nice and warm – the faster corners allowing the chassis to get a proper workout. While the suspension is set up brilliantly with not even a hint of roll until you start to really unsettle the car on purpose, I did find that usual front-end detachment I always note on 911s and other mid and rear-engined cars Maybe ‘detachment’ is a bit strong, but compared to an R35 GT-R where a lot of the car’s weight is over the front wheels, the Turbo S just doesn’t feel as planted.

991-Turbo-S-26

After a rather quick climb followed by a slow descent to allow the car to cool off, I arrived at Lake Ashinoko and promptly parked the 911 up so I could go and grab a bite to eat.

991-Turbo-S-21

When the sky isn’t quite so cloudy you get a stunning view of Mt. Fuji from here, but that was just not going to happen on this particular day. This is a great place to stop and relax after a long and demanding drive – the local food is good and the air is fresh!

991-Turbo-S-22

You can also jump on the pirate ship for a quick tour of the lake – but there was just no time for that. The urge quickly hit me and I just had to get back behind the wheel!

991-Turbo-S-23

About 10 minutes later I was up the top again. It’s a nice climb on a pretty rough and tight road, but it must have put the Turbo’s rear-steer to the test as the car felt responsive and poised the entire way.

The Everyday Supercar
991-Turbo-S-04

Halfway down the Hakone Turnpike – which leads to Odawara City and then onto the Tomei Expressway for me to get back home – I stopped once again, as I realised I hadn’t yet focused on the Turbo’s interior.

991-Turbo-S-03

It’s an important aspect too, because one of the car’s hidden talents is its usability. Okay, so those rear seats aren’t too big, but at one point I had three full-sized adults in the 911 and I didn’t hear any complaints. This particular car’s interior was beautifully appointed in dark brown leather – a rich shade that adds a real touch of elegance.

991-Turbo-S-24

Of course, the front seats have all the electrical adjustment you would ever want, or need. If there’s one thing Porsche always gets right it’s driving position, and regardless of how big or small you may be, you can always get yourself set up perfectly.

991-Turbo-S-01

If there weren’t already enough gadgets to play with, the Turbo S comes with this torque indicator which tells you where you are within the massive curve. Like I said, torque is everywhere!

991-Turbo-S-05

Also in the mix is a sports-oriented steering wheel, which aside from having a nice polished aluminium center section, features proper paddles mounted behind the rim.

991-Turbo-S-02

Everything you touch is either soft leather or Alcantara for the pillars and the headliner, while the rest of the trim was decked out with the optional carbon pack. It’s a very nice place to be, but I have to say, some areas of the dash and transmission tunnel felt like they should be a little softer to the touch – nothing a bit of padding here and there wouldn’t fix though. 

991-Turbo-S-25

I spent the rest of the afternoon heading up and down the Turnpike – at full pace – where the Turbo S shined and impressed even more. The faster speeds you hold through this road really make the chassis work, and you can squeeze out every last bit of performance from the car. I came to the conclusion that this is indeed the fastest ‘everyday supercar’ out there – taking that crown away from the GT-R. The only difference is, driving a Turbo S at its limit requires a lot of skill, while the GT-R inspires just more confidence when you get there. We could get into a debate over cost of course, but that’s a whole different argument…

I have to ask though, given the choice of R35 GT-R or 991 Turbo S, which one would you take?

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino
dino@speedhunters.com

ADVERTISEMENT

Comments

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.

53 comments

by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest
1

Wow, I bet the slow descent down the hill cooling off gave you a chance to feel the luxury part of the car. Has anyone ever mentioned you have the coolest job? Probably not so I shall be the first one, but on a serious note I could not answer your question, I'm guessing you would take the R35...? Great Read BTW, Them low clouds sure made for a cool shoot ;]

2

The R31 had the Auto-Spoiler on the front way back in the 80's. It's funny to see all these technology features coming back again (like 4WS)

3

DIno! Your posts are the purest form of escapism! Presentation mode was designed for your articles. Absolutely beautiful

4

You lost me at PDK.

5

PDK or not - that car on that road must have been heavenly.
Nice work Dino.

6

I would take the 911 before a GT-R, but that has nothing to do with the PDK gearbox. Why 911? Because its timeless shape and quality. Why not the PDK? Because maybe I don't want the fastest car out there. I want the fastest car that I really wanna drive myself.

7

Peoples democratic Korea?

8

Every 'manual' driver who gets into one of my cars will confess very quickly they are scared of using the paddles, and even more scared of the gear stick (that, usually, with a decent box, offer a sequential up a gear down a gear system) and then proceed to drive the car in "auto" mode (soft gear changes done by the car, lower rev pick up, whole lot less performance) - I'm not the only one to notice this and it's lead to at least one manufacturer to drop the semiauto selector system and go back to boring, no clutch, bland, even less input auto boxes because old people plain just don't understand the system, and younger gear heads believe the hype that your quicker with a clutch pedal.
having had to spend a very large portion of my life driving cars equipped with them I cannot explain how far these boxes have come from the clunky, slow, expensive to fix (and easy to break) boxes of the 90s And really hope on the back of Dino's excellent write up of the Turbo S and its features that some of us will go out and give a different, more modern way of launching yourself out of/into corners a chance.
Now, how do I sneek a 911 into the garage without the missus noticing.......

9

I can't decide if I'm more jealous of some of the cars you get to drive, or some of the roads you get to drive. Either way, there's a lot of envy on my end!

10

I think it was Motor Trend that had an editorial piece a few years back praising the virtues of feeling engaged while driving by using all four points. The four points of course being both feet and both hands. Though certainly blip-shifting through a dual-clutch PDK box is faster, it just doesn't seem as engaging. But that's the way of progress. If Porsche wants to compete with other supercars and build a continually faster and more capable vehicle, then that magical PDK is a large piece of the puzzle. 

I still prefer to row my own gears the traditional way though.

11

I still don't quite understand why people have this innate hatred for dual clutch gearboxes. I personally think its a bandwagon type of thing .I think they're one of the most amazing things to happen to the automobile. 
I still feel as much of a connection choosing when to shift and as much exhilaration with DCT's. You can still hold gears if you like with DCT's, just as you can with a manual.

12

I still don't quite understand why people have this innate hatred for dual clutch gearboxes. I personally think its a bandwagon type of thing .I think they're one of the most amazing things to happen to the automobile. 
I still feel as much of a connection choosing when to shift and as much exhilaration with DCT's. You can still hold gears if you like with DCT's, just as you can with a manual.

13

That biker was so close he almost got sucked into the turbos!

14

@zz
1) They require zero skill to operate 
2) They add weight 
3) They add cost and complexity
4) They take away from the driving experience

15

I have to say I am one of those "has to be manual" type of sports car guy. After driving this car earlier this year with the PDK, I am a little more forgiving. There's just something about the  way the 991 turbo S drives that feels so pure. Sure you can argue it takes no talent to nail it and ride out. But it's one of those things that you can't  bash it until you drive it. Just a fantastic piece of German Engineering art.

16

I have to say I am one of those "has to be manual" type of sports car guy. After driving this car earlier this year with the PDK, I am a little more forgiving. There's just something about the  way the 991 turbo S drives that feels so pure. Sure you can argue it takes no talent to nail it and ride out. But it's one of those things that you can't  bash it until you drive it. Just a fantastic piece of German Engineering art.

17

TarmacTerrorist Sound's like your hanging out with a bunch of pussies. 

Preferring a clutch over a DCT isn't a matter of being faster. It's a matter of enjoying the driving experiencing and knowing there is more skill involved in manually rev matching a car than having a computer do it. 

Manual transmissions are "clunky, slow and expensive to fix" dude...you're on another level. You really just win the internet trophy with this whole post.

18

TarmacTerrorist  I completely agree with Chris above. You need some new friends, a basic understanding of engineering, and apparently you still need to learn how to use a manual (less prone to break than an auto)...

19

Actually, I'm disabled, used to drive with a clutch, nasty industrial accident, now I use DCT systems as I cant operate a clutch - or for that matter feel much in my left hand - making shifting anything pretty tricky... but I can pull the fingers back pretty well making paddles much easier to use then a classic stick system. If it's was just the leg I could use a pull trigger clutch retaining whatever shaped manual box you have (made my Alfred bekker I think). but it's not so I'm working with what I've got. And I'm enjoying it a lot. When I was younger the boxes where aweful and I hated using them but now it's pre-requisite for any car I buy as its a natural part of driving.
As for my friends - what can I say? we are all middle aged and stuck in our ways I guess, - most like you prefer a stick and paddle as its very natural for them. Different strokes - different folks I guess.

20

I clearly misled you somehow, sorry - you got my meaning way wrong - I was saying crap DCT way back when, getting better at a fair rate now. Hope that clarifies.

21

Infact some of the conversions ive driven Id have to add some of them had pneumatic clutch pedal 'replacement foot and leg' systems using single clutch plate that could be programmed for whatever scenario you wanted. I see these as a rather disconnected way of driving but they are not performance systems - they are designed for your one legged nan to go to the shops, rather then putting in lap times around circuits or just plain fun so Id exclude those systems. Just wanted to make that clear.

22

Infact some of the conversions ive driven Id have to add some of them had pneumatic clutch pedal 'replacement foot and leg' systems using single clutch plate that could be programmed for whatever scenario you wanted. I see these as a rather disconnected way of driving but they are not performance systems - they are designed for your one legged nan to go to the shops, rather then putting in lap times around circuits or just plain fun so Id exclude those systems. Just wanted to make that clear.

23

TarmacTerrorist My mistake Tarmac, I was laughing so hard like "Wtf is this guy talking about!!?!?!" 

Yeah they have come so far, I drove 2 Cayman R's back to back when I was a Porsche mechanic, 1 manual and 1 PDK and the PDK was amazing. I preferred the manual, but the PDK was on another level for an "auto" box. It's unreal how you feel nothing when they shift.

24

TarmacTerrorist When you include that information it makes perfect sense. You still get the enjoyment of a "manual" transmission without the clutch. You should have included that in your original post! Funny about the stuck in our ways comment. I grew up on stick shifts so I'll be stuck until I die. 

You can show me the new Pagani in 20 years with a transmission that allows you to do 0-60 in 1 second and I'll still be yelling at kids going "you buncha pussies, when I was your age we used to have to manually match revs with a clutch pedal. Oh? You don't even know what a clutch is? Of COURSE YOU DON'T."

Then I peel off in my 1200whp twin turbo vette while they wiz off in some air powered hybrid that runs on electricity and the division of molecules.

25

I get a surprising amount of different feeling as the clutch goes in dependent on the car and the box, my 2014 'because the dogs hair on everything else' CRV (equpped with a DCT paddle system.... Yet no stick selector ) is probably the most 'manual feeling' change of gear of all the boxes I use - I've had the car since April and I'm still not sure wether it's a good thing or a bad one! The silky smooth changes of better systems you mention can really help with maintaining speed through twisty roads (as Dino says) so much so it can take you by surprise when you check the speedometer as you make your approach on a corner leading to most of my cars (horrid CRV included!) running upgraded brake components that can deal with my left foot no finesse or feeling 'ohsh!tohsh!tohsh!t' heavy braking heh.

26

If you have enough money to buy a porsche then you shouldnt be worrying about which one is more expensive i guess..

27

Bima Leksono Actually you'd be surprised Bima, just because people have money doesn't mean they aren't educated about marketing costs and carelessly throw away money. It's usually why they have acquired it in the first place. A common misconception about the rich is "they don't care about the cost." Most of them are penny pinchers dude.  

A lot of guys I know who own 997 GT3 RS and custom one off Porsches hate the idea of a DCT adding cost and taking away from the skill involved. Despite what you've heard some guys with money still enjoy being able to work on their stuff. The average Porsche customer is older and a lot of older guys (at least those I know) grew up working on their cars and like to do as much as they can.

28
speedhunters_dino

@Chris lol

29
speedhunters_dino

@zz Oh I get you, but for how efficient and the right sort of progress they are - they still make you work less and that's where the complaints are aimed at

30
speedhunters_dino

FunctionFirst Same here!

31
speedhunters_dino

JCmelik LOL my "office" can at times be quite nice

32

awesome shots right there.  

the front splitter - is that actuated passively like the one on the italia's, or use a system like the 3000GT VR-4's?

33
speedhunters_dino

nugundam93 Active, so it pops out in 3 different stages

34

Nothing wrong with that transmission at all. No man can shift as fast, or as efficient... Not even on their best day, bottom line.

35

Nothing wrong with that transmission at all. No man can shift as fast, or as efficient... Not even on their best day, bottom line.

36

@timmy201 Was going to say this, 1987 I believe is when it became an option. Also had rear steer (via hydraulic rams, HICAS).

37

@Chris I know man, some are careless about their money and just buy whatever that pleases his eyes but some just want to really enjoy what they have worked for years and knows exactly whats going on under the hood. I apologize for the misconception i made and sorry for those who gets offended

38

@Chris I know man, some are careless about their money and just buy whatever that pleases his eyes but some just want to really enjoy what they have worked for years and knows exactly whats going on under the hood. I apologize for the misconception i made and sorry for those who gets offended

39

@Chris I know man, some are careless about their money and just buy whatever that pleases his eyes but some just want to really enjoy what they have worked for years and knows exactly whats going on under the hood. I apologize for the misconception i made and sorry for those who gets offended

40
speedhunters_dino

Option86 Unless you have a mechanical sequential...but even then...uhmmm

41

Option86 but nothing feels as good as successfully done a perfect rev-match on a traditional manual gearbox..

42

Bima Leksono Option86 Yep when i read "hectic" I thought mmm, I like feeling that focus, keeping the business fluid. If anyone can flick a paddle it just feels like cheating! I'd drive slower and choose a stick :)    (lol like I'm buying one of these anytime soon!)

43

TarmacTerrorist Mmmm when I'm driving fast I barely check the speed, revs less too, it all just comes together till actual speed, which gear etc is subconcious and things just flow. ahhhh *needs to go the long way home*

44

@Chris TarmacTerrorist You got it man, the shifting is one thing, matching revs so thet shick shick shift is millisecond perfect is smile city

45

The only thing I actually hate about PDK is the P R N D in the gauge cluster. Every time I see it I lose my interest in driving the car. I dont know why, something subconscious maybe. Eventually its all I look at while driving with the recycling thought of "Why?".

Also, an engineering degree will probably be useful in 20years if you think youll still want to work on your own car. Itll likely cost you both arms and half a leg if you dont considering the next generation of sports cars and sports gt's will probably be hybrids.

46

I somehow just don't buy the reasoning behind this story. I don't
wish to sound like I'm wearing a tinfoil hat because I do think that
Speedhunters is an awesome motoring site that offers a more holistic
image of motoring by focusing on the aftermarket and custom vehicles;
unlike the major mainstream publications that tend to focus almost
entirely on OEM and subsequently drink any Kool-aid that these
companies' marketting and R&D latch on to. I've always seen the rise
of DCT as a case of these car companies dictating to us how we should
be driving, telling us that it's faster overall, despite it adding
weight and complexity. Nowadays, moving forward always has to be the
direction of complexity because it gives us an illusion of progress.
"More is, well, more."


Let me be the first to acknowledge that, not having driven the car myself, that what I can say about the 991 Turbo S is very limited. Experiencing the car is very different from simply reading about it. But lets not get bogged down by the argument that I'd have to drive it to believe it. The same can go for any car on this site, manual or automatic.


The fact of the matter is,
Speedhunters regularly features firebreathing monsters, some of which
are daily drivers, that'll go way faster than the 991 Turbo S, all the
while having some kind of clutched manual transmission. The features on
this site were always a glimmer of hope for me that there are so many
enthusiasts out there who still tout the virtues of driver-involvement
and mechanical solutions to power and handling dynamics; essentially
flipping the finger on an establishment that's clearly fixated on appealing to those with money but are unwilling to take
responsibility in learning how to drive a fast car properly. This is why
it makes so little sense to me for Dino to simply go and say that "he
gets it", and that a traditional MT would just be hectic and drag down
your pace. The argument that DCT's shift faster, no matter what, is a
terrible old cliche by now. Speed and driving pleasure are not so easily
simplified, and the evidence is all over the site!


Just
short of accusing the site of industry collusion (but let's face it,
every facet of journalism is guilty of this in some way), I can't help
but think that, like with any motoring critic out there who's been won over
by DCT, that its largely to do with internalizing things we used to find
outright abhorrent, just to satisfy our insecurities about the future
of motoring and reassure ourselves that everything will turn out fine in
the world of cars. Few are willing to directly speak out, in a sustained
effort, against this alienation because it's not like mere words on a
site or on paper can persuade a multi-billion dollar industry to change
the course of its development. But so many instances exist, and are
regularly featured on this site, that speak through concrete example
rather than mere opinion; of drool-worthy cars that do things
differently from the industry. These are the sorts of things I want to
continue seeing on the site: examples of cars that give us hope, showing
through example how OEM's are overrated and that we don't need to
swallow what the industry is currently trying to shove down our throats.
I don't think any of us on this site want articles telling us that
pandering to the least common denominator is the righteous path to
enlightenment. We get enough of that from just about any other
mainstream motoring publication.

47

I would take the Porsche because it's probably much more reliable (I heard Porsches are the only really reliable sports cars out there. And because even faster from 0-60 than 3.1 s (In a magazine I read, they tested the 918 Spyder. Porsche said I takes 2.8s to get from 0-60 but it did only take 2.6s.), while in most magazines I read the GT-R wasn't able to get from 0-60 in 2.8s...

48

DINO very nice man! Thanks for incorporating videos, i have been requesting this for a while. Well written, good story, keep it up

49

I would take the 911 Turbo.

50

I just put 450 miles on my new 991 Turbo S during two full days of canyon running, it is just an amazing car..
I feel a little guilty about not crusin the RS211 but hey I need to get seat time in the Porsche to justify the need for something so expensive as a daily driver...Not taking it into the canyons would just be wrong.
What a mental car it is..

Cheers

51

Option86 Not the point.

52

roninlotus211  "Fuckin cunt Porsche owners..always lookin for a cute ass even if it's an old dude"


hy·poc·ri·syhəˈpäkrəsē/nounthe practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform; pretense.

53

Dino your pictures make me want to live over there!

OFFICIAL SPEEDHUNTERS SUPPLIERS