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Best Porsche cars ever: Porsche 911 Turbo S

The 933 Turbo S can trace its bloodline back to the ‘60s original. Is it the ultimate air-cooled 911?

Key specs
EngineTwin-turbocharged, 6cyl boxer
Capacity3.6 litres
Power450bhp
Top speed186mph

The last of the air-cooled cars, the 993 was also the end of the line for a 911 structure that could trace its origins back to the sixties. British designer Tony Hatter was responsible for the 993’s shapely form, giving it styling that was the most radical departure yet for the evergreen 911. It would also underline the influence of the eighties’ 959, the nineties’ Turbo S not only coming with twin turbos – parallel here, as opposed to the 959’s sequential units – but also exploiting its 959-matching 450bhp output via a four-wheel drive system. 

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Those in the know will spot the ‘punctured’ air intakes in the rear wheel arches. These were just one of the numerous revisions that saw the 993 Turbo S produce that output from its 3.6-litre flat-six – a not-insignificant 42bhp hike over its still-rapid 993 Turbo relation. The S will sprint from 0-62mph in just over four seconds, and while that pace feels shocking even now, for all its prodigious performance, the 993 Turbo S really is a supercar that can be used every day. 

The premium over its regular Turbo relation was sizeable – by around 50 per cent – because each S was built by Porsche’s Exclusive department. As such, it is luxuriously appointed inside (in eye-challenging red in this museum example), with all Turbo S models featuring polished carbon-fibre trim on any surface that doesn’t wear leather. This then-modern material must have given it an air of exclusivity, and helped justify its hefty premium. 

Otherwise, it’s familiar 993 – and by default, largely similar to the 964 before it. Body-hugging, hard-backed, electrically powered sports seats feature, and the Turbo S’s spec is lavish enough to see it add nearly 83kg over the regular Turbo. 

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Despite nods right back to the earliest 911s of the sixties, the 993 Turbo S feels modern to drive even today. It’s a mature performance-machine proposition that has an air of grand tourer about it – which is not to say it’s not scintillatingly quick, because the 3.6-litre’s 450bhp ensures otherwise. The transition between its off-boost to full-boost state isn’t quite as pronounced as with the 911 Turbos that preceded it, because the force it delivers is more linear and predictable. 

There’s still a definite point in the sweep of the rev-counter’s needle where those turbos are really working hard, but with the security of that four-wheel drive system, there’s less need to be fearful of it. In fact, the additional traction allows the Turbo S to be exploited – enjoyed, even.

That it’s a quick car is no surprise. Just how quick it can be, though, and the ease with which it carries its pace, are deeply impressive. The suspension rides with composure, while the steering delivers accuracy and sensations that give you the confidence to really enjoy the performance. Its significance is multi-faceted, it being a car that bridges Porsche’s history while giving a nod to the brand’s future. A 911 of phenomenally rounded capability, it is usable, desirable and understated, yet still pure in its driving appeal.

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