The sequence that leads onto the main straight at Hockenheimring is a double right-hander, which I am tackling in second gear, I really should be in third such is the monstrous torque on tap but my time here has been short and I haven’t quite familiarised myself with car and track. I wait for the apex of the second part of the corner and the moment I start to unwind the lock I bury the throttle.
That familiar flat-six motor wails to the redline, with a whiff of wastegate whistle punctuating shifts as 3rd then 4th are dispatched and the main straight is gobbled up in a matter of five seconds. I entered the straight at just on 100 km/h and as I arrive into the braking zone the speedo registers the wrong side of 200. Welcome to the new Porsche 911 Turbo S.
A look back and forward
I find myself in Germany to spend a day interacting with Porsche representatives as they inform the gathered media about the sportcar maker’s official entry into the 2014 World Endurance Championship, with the ultimate aim of winning at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
While it is interesting to hear the plans, we are also there to chat with old Le Mans winners and Porsche works drivers, and more interestingly (for me anyway) get to see, touch and experience some of the old Le Mans-winning machinery. You can read more about this in the January issue of CAR.
Strong motorsport links
Porsche was also keen to underline the links between its motorsport efforts and the transfer of technology to road cars. Turbocharging played a large part of the firm’s motorsport, and especially Le Mans, successes over the years hence I find myself behind the wheel of the latest generation 911 (code 991) Turbo S.
The Turbo has been a staple of the 911 range since the late 1970s. Since then the model has been at the forefront of the sportscar field offering a blend of performance and everyday usability that few other products in this segment can match.
On this particular occasion I was not able to sample it on the road to experience some of the supple ride and user-friendliness that we’ve come to expect of a 911. I did however spend time pounding in a few laps of Germany’s other famous racetrack, Hockenheim.
Power with grip to match
Straight line performance, as described in my opening words, is never in doubt. 911 Turbo S is powered by a 3,8-litre, flat-six motor with twin-turbochargers. Power is rated at 412 kW with 750 N.m of torque available on overboost. Drive is delivered to all-wheels via a twin-clutch automated transmission.
According to Porsche the Turbo S will sprint from standstill to 100 km/h in 3,1 seconds with the optional Chrono pack and flat out it will reach 318 km/h. For a road car the 0-200 km/h sprint time of 10,3 seconds is outstanding. Previous experience from testing leaves in no doubt that the new Turbo S will deliver and probably exceed these claims.
Active aero in full attack mode
In a first for a series production car the new 911 Turbo features active aerodynamics. When the Sports Plus mode is activated, as should always be the case, the movable rear spoiler tilts forward to a steeper angle of attack. Add to that a foldable front air-splitter and these two items generate over 130 kg of downforce at speed.
Phenomenal for a road car
What, for me, is more impressive is the track behaviour of this fully-fledged road car. I have no doubt that one could easily drive a 911 Turbo on a cross country trip across SA, that it also behaves like a track car when faced with the tight confines of Hockenheimring’s club circuit is remarkable.
In part, the behaviour through the tight and technical bits of this (shorter than the Grand Prix) track can be attributed to the rear wheel steering system. This, in essence shortens the wheelbase when tackling tight corners (by turning the rear wheels in the opposite direction of the fronts) to enhance agility.
Coupled with Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV), which apportions power to the appropriate wheel to create a turning action to the entire vehicle, the 911 Turbo feels pointy and light on its feet, with none of the understeeriness usually associated with all-wheel drive cars on a circuit.
And in between the twisty bits the power on tap ensures short work of even the longer straights. The near linear power delivery ensures that it explodes out of corners on a wave of torque and dials up numbers on the speedo at an alarming rate.
Thanks to carbon composite brakes speed can scrubbed off with haste and lap after lap without fear of fade.
STILL a sublime all-rounder
Despite the fact that is has serious levels of power and should, theoretically, be a very compromised machine, the 911 Turbo S still feels like a dynamic all-rounder. Unlike its more frenetic sibling, the GT3, this car feels happy to trundle along at lower speeds, then burst forward at the nearest hint of provocation, and as I experienced, will happily tackle even a tight race circuit with verve.
I can’t wait to spend more time with the new 911 Turbo when CAR receives one to test soon as the model is now available for sale in SA.
Model: Porsche 911 Turbo S
Engine: flat-six, twin-turbocharged
Power: 412 kW @ 6 500-6 750 r/min
Torque: 750 N.m @ 2 200-4 400 r/min
0-100 km/h: 3,1 secs
Fuel consumption: 9,7 litres/100 km
Top speed: 318 km/h
Price: R2 646 000
*According to the manufacturer.
You can see the new 911 Turbo in action in this promo clip as well as my lap of Hockenheim here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aPDfy3_M7Q