Porsche 911 Turbo S review

19 Aug, 2013 9:00am Jack Rix

The ultimate Porsche 911 Turbo has 552bhp and four-wheel drive. But is it the best model in the range?


It’s hard to believe, but this Porsche 911 Turbo has topped the previous Turbo’s ballistic pace. Acceleration is breathtaking, while the electrical systems and 4WD will make even ham-fisted drivers look good. The Porsche 911 Turbo S seems extravagant, at £22,503 more than the Turbo, but for those wanting the fastest new model, rather than the best handling, it won’t disappoint.

Each member of the Porsche 911 family has its own flavour. The standard car is the perfect all-rounder, the GT3 focuses on handling finesse, while the Turbo is for those who want to go as fast as possible. And with a 0-62mph time of 3.1 seconds (two-tenths quicker than its predecessor), the top-spec Turbo S model we reviewed fills its role to a tee.

Like the new GT3 (driven in Issue 1,279), the Porsche 911 Turbo 2013 is only available with a PDK auto gearbox. It also gets a raft of new technology, such as rear-wheel steering and Dynamic Chassis Control. But while diehard GT3 fans are up in arms about the addition of the electronic systems and the loss of the manual box, these changes seem like a more logical progression for the brutal, four-wheel-drive Turbo.

In the standard model, the 3.8-litre twin-turbo six-cylinder engine produces 513bhp – good for 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds. Fork out another £22,503 for the S, and Porsche will crank up the power to 552bhp, knock one-tenth off the 0-62mph time and add nearly every option, including carbon-ceramic brakes, unique 20-inch wheels and 18-way electrically adjustable sports seats.

Porsche 911 review

We had a high-speed oval at our disposal for this Porsche 991 turbo review – it's one of the few places you can fully deploy the earth-shattering performance. In a straight line, the acceleration is savage – a relentless surge that squeezes you deeper into the narrow bucket seats. And it’s made all the more intense by the PDK box’s instantaneous upshifts, the mechanical roar from the exhausts and the hiss from the turbos on the overrun.

Powering around the steep banking allowed us to feel the Turbo’s rock-solid high-speed stability. Even at 130mph-plus, with armco barriers just metres from the front wing, the Porsche 911 Turbo feels as serene as cruising at 70mph.

A three-stage front spoiler and rear wing automatically control the level of downforce, and can be retracted to ‘speed positions’ manually should you fancy a crack at the 197mph top speed. Yet on a twisty handling track, the Turbo S felt equally at home. While it’s not quite as nimble as the rear-wheel-drive GT3 and Carrera S, active anti-roll bars keep things eerily flat, the carbon ceramic brakes are frighteningly strong and the four-wheel-drive grip means you can take liberties other models wouldn’t allow.

The 911 turbo's rear-wheel steering (which turns the rear tyres in the opposite direction to the fronts below 31mph, and parallel to them above 50mph) and quick steering rack give the Turbo razor-sharp reactions. But because it’s tricky to trim your line with the throttle, a level of interactivity is missing.

Porsche 911s are supposed to fly under the radar, but the Turbo makes quite a statement. The rear wheelarches are 28mm wider than on the Carrera 4 – and its arches are already wider than the Carrera’s – while the air scoop, rear wing and 20-inch alloys elevate its looks to the supercar class. And with performance of this calibre, that’s only right.

Key specs

  • Price: £140,852
  • Engine: 3.8-litre 6cyl twin-turbo
  • Power: 552bhp
  • Torque: 700Nm
  • Transmission: Seven-speed PDK automatic, four-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 3.1 seconds
  • Top speed: 197mph
  • Economy: 29.1mpg
  • CO2: 227g/km
  • Equipment: Leather upholstery, electric seats, 20-inch wheels, sat-nav, carbon ceramic brakes
  • On sale: Now