Porsche's 911 Turbo gets more than a facelift

The new Porsche 911 Turbo has larger front air intakes and an engine cover at the back with longitudinal slates.
The new Porsche 911 Turbo has larger front air intakes and an engine cover at the back with longitudinal slates. PHOTOS: PORSCHE
The new Porsche 911 Turbo has larger front air intakes and an engine cover at the back with longitudinal slates.
The new Porsche 911 Turbo has larger front air intakes and an engine cover at the back with longitudinal slates. PHOTOS: PORSCHE

Porsche's 911 Turbo gets subtle but impactful mid-life revamp

If you had to give the Porsche 911 Turbo a title, it might well be "Doyen of Turbocharged Sports Cars".

Because it was the first sports car to employ a turbo in 1973. And for a long time, no other car in the segment did so.

The early start means Porsche probably knows a thing or two more than its rivals, some of whom have recently embraced forced induction.

The latest 911 Turbo is a mid-life revamp. Both the 911 Turbo and 911 Turbo S have been enhanced visually and dynamically.

The headlights are LED with four distinct "bulbs" in each unit that serve as daytime-running lights. Also clearly distinguishable are the three larger front air intakes, with the two outer ones incorporating thin LED strips.

At the back, you will find new tail lights, four trapezoidal exhaust outlets and a redesigned engine cover with longitudinal instead of horizontal slats.

  • SPECS/PORSCHE 911 TURBO, TURBO S

    Price: From $743,688, $869,788 without COE (arriving in April)

    Engine: 3,800cc 24-valve flat-six twin-turbocharged

    Transmission: Seven-speed dual clutch with paddle shift

    Power: 540bhp at 6,400rpm, 580bhp at 6,750rpm

    Torque: 710Nm, 750Nm at 2,250-4,000rpm

    0-100kmh: 3, 2.9 seconds

    Top speed: 320kmh, 330kmh

    Fuel consumption: 9.1 litres/ 100km

    Agent: Stuttgart Auto

The engines of both the Turbo and Turbo S produce more power and torque without any change to displacement, thanks to a slightly higher boost pressure.

In addition, the S comes with marginally larger turbochargers to deliver 580bhp and 750Nm, allowing it to hit 100kmh in under three seconds for the first time.

Porsche also claims that fuel economy has improved by 1.7km/litre.

An interesting new feature is Dynamic Boost, which is a form of anti-lag control that works by holding the throttle valve open when the accelerator pedal is lifted off to slow down. The fuel injection shuts off but airflow keeps the turbine spinning. The result is a sharper and more immediate response to the throttle when accelerating again.

The Turbo S has dynamic roll stabilisation in addition to Porsche Active Suspension Management that continuously adjusts the electronic dampers which, on the basis of significantly improved ride comfort, have obviously been tweaked.

Keen drivers will be pleased to see a new rotary knob on the steering wheel which selects Normal, Sport, Sport-plus or Individual modes for throttle response and shift programmes of the car's seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. (There is no manual version.)

As in the previous Turbo/Turbo S, the drivetrain is all-wheel-drive, but a new electro-hydraulic differential is said to vary torque demand between axles more quickly. Rear wheel steering (up to 2.6 degrees) remains as part of the standard drivetrain.

Around the Kyalami race track, chasing an experienced Porsche race-car driver in a GT3 RS, the Turbo S displayed effortless acceleration and devastating straight-line pace.

Its power, traction and torque helped non-professional drivers catch up with the GT3 RS, especially around corners. The Turbo S with its all-wheel traction was incredibly stable through fast corners and always maintained a clean line with no hint of understeer or sign of twitchiness in the rear.

Most impressive was the way it remained calm and resolutely stable during extreme braking at high speeds. Its standard issue carbon-ceramic discs with six-pot callipers shed speed so quickly that it allows the driver to brake late - very late.

Track performance aside, the new 911 Turbo, like its predecessors, continues to offer an unrivalled blend of supercar performance, everyday practicality and timeless styling.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 06, 2016, with the headline 'More than a facelift'. Print Edition | Subscribe