Johannesburg, South Africa – Chasing Porsche works driver, Jörg Bergmeister and his GT3 RS pace car around the superbly rejuvenated Kyalami racetrack it’s hard to say whether the additional 15 kW and 50 N.m of torque granted the facelifted 991 911 Turbo was immediately apparent. And I don’t recall ever thinking the outgoing model’s 383 kW and 660 N.m was in any way inadequate. That said, opening the steering early to let the car run to the widest point of the new “Ingwe” final corner, and as the front (and rear-steered) wheels straighten I press the throttle to be instantly reminded of just how exhilarating the Turbo is to drive.
Whether as a result of its resolutely evolutionary styling or for the fact that it crowns a fairly extensive and impressively fast broader range, it’s easy to underestimate just how quick the Porsche 911 Turbo is. Granted, while the past three generations of 911 (993, 997 and 991) have included even more powerful Turbo S models, for me, it’s the Turbo that, since its introduction in the 930-generation “whale tail”, and significantly since the introduction of all-wheel-drive in the 993 that best epitomises the pinnacle of what an everyday sportscar is capable of.
While the most significant advance to the broader 991-generation 911 family has been the adoption of turbocharging throughout the range, Porsche has used occasion of this mid-life refresh to grant even more power and presence to its historically force-fed models. In doing so engineers have upgraded the Turbo’s twin-turbocharged 3,8-litre horizontally-opposed engine via a redesigned fuel injection system, revised inlet ports and new 56 mm variable-vane turbos.
Based on the 911s 1 880 mm wide body option, revisions to the car’s styling include a new front apron, including larger side intakes and blades, new LED headlights, and sleeker door handles. Updated sports exhaust tailpipes and a revised engine cover grille complement new 20-inch wheel designs to add to the sense of occasion.
Considering the massive pace with which you now arrive at Kyalami’s “Crowthorne” first corner I was very grateful not only for the immense stopping power afforded by 380 mm ventilated brake discs, front and rear (six- and four-piston respectively) but also the Turbo’s active aero (comprising a two-stage lip spoiler and adjustable wing) which offers optimal downforce, and consequently improved all-round poise as the car’s 320 km/h top speed is neared.
Active aero can also only achieve so much, though, and in my haste to keep pace with Bergmeister I was not smooth enough on my steering inputs as we rapidly changed direction through the new “Jukslei Sweep”. During the ensuing tail slide, thoughts of being the first person to crash a car at the brand new Kyalami were interspersed with not only a survival instinct to keep my right foot planted but also with a recollection that Porsche has reprogrammed it’s PSM stability control system to allow for “greater dynamism” once a Sport Plus driving mode is engaged. Asked about the slide, my story shall henceforth be one of enjoying greater dynamism.
Another feature introduced to the new Turbo is Dynamic Boost. Here the throttle valve remains open, with the turbochargers spinning, for a delayed period of time after the driver has released the accelerator. With this in mind, and particularly during spirited driving, throttle response is improved, as there isn’t a significant reduction in boost pressure, say mid corner.
As part of a revised standard Sport Chrono package, Sport Plus is one of four driving modes (including Normal, Sport and Individual) selectable via a rotary switch positioned on a newly designed steering wheel. Incorporated within this rotary switch and dubbed Sport Response Button is the equivalent of the turbo boost function on your favourite ‘80s talking car. Once pressed, the engine and transmission are instantly adjusted for maximum responsiveness for a period of 20-seconds. Even without this function it’s difficult to imagine a vehicle capable of reaching 200 km/h from standstill in just 10,4-seconds having too much trouble dispatching slower moving traffic. That said, Porsche also says its claimed 3,0-seconds 0-100 km/h is on the “conservative” side, stating the car will go faster in optimal conditions. Who are we to argue?
A welcome revised within the 911s cabin is Porsche’s latest infotainment technology (PCM4), allowing applications such as Apple CarPlay and Google Street View to be viewed on a neat full-colour, touch-screen display.
Yes, there remains a (427 kW) Turbo S model available for those with the means to own the absolute pinnacle of the 911 portfolio, but I would argue that in real world terms you’re unlikely to ever feel short-changed owning the superbly accomplished Turbo. Consider that, together with minor upgrades to the seven-speed PDK transmission, it’s a supercar (based on its performance figures) still effortlessly capable of performing everyday tasks (including 64-litres worth of luggage space and rear seats) while returning a claimed 9,1 L/100 km fuel consumption.
Are there any boxes left unmarked?
Price:R2 536 000
Engine:3,8-litre, flat-six, turbocharged
0-100 km/h:3,0 sec
Top Speed:320 km/h
Fuel Consumption:9,1 L/100 km
Maintenance Plan:3 years/90 000 km