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.

Disqus - noscript

Somebody will be along shortly to ask why the review only awards 4 stars when original 911 is 5. To save them the trouble I would like to point out that there is no point in taking any notice of AutoExpress star ratings, they are pointless, forget them.

Doesnt really look 140,000 pounds worth of car. (Germanic blob n slats on four wheels)
Has a very generic VAG look to it somehow.
Somethings missing Porsche... (flair?)

Especially the dashboard. It is even golf mk VI looking on the touch screen and the pillars...Add the similar switches...

The VAG connection has only harmed porsche's style. To be honest if now falls in omg who cares especially after the GTR ring fiasco and walter rohrl's pathetic comments (he was only a sore lose, especially to women he he).

you don't really understand cars do you? the base 911 is a better all rounds sports cars considering handling, acceleration, nimbleness, and driver involvement hence the 5 stars, this 911 turbo s however wins only in category and that is raw power, acceleration and speed and nothing else, the additional power weight and power compromises braking, handling and cornering, get it?

Oh really? Start up your comment with the ad hominem? What a cowardly statement you make. I understand plenty about cars thank you, but my comment wasn't about cars or this version of the 911, it was was about AutoExpress star ratings and comment responses to them.
Try to pay more attention next time. Get it?

Most Audi's have better interiors...

Dont compare this car to the GT3, they have diffferent functions. The GT3 is a track car that you take out on weekend, but is way too rough, loud and high geared to drive in heavy traffic. The Turbo S is a very driveable supercar that is as comfortable to drive everyday as an Audi sedan. Except you can pass traffic as if you are on a superbike...Hey Prius, just give me 50 feet, bam, i am around!

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