Porsche's Turbo Twins
It is not often you get to drive two 911 Turbos back to back. The Mechanists founder Hedi Sersoub set out to see what the 911 Turbo has evolved into since its inception 45 years ago.
Back when it launched in 1975, the 911 (930) Turbo was Porsche’s flagship performance car. It was a super car killer that happened to be the fastest thing to have come out of Germany. It was one of the earliest uses of Turbo charger technology and although it was potent, it would surprise its owners with a huge boost dump, making the car a little prickly to handle and duly earning its nickname ‘The Widow maker’. Strangely enough, that made me want to drive it even more because… …testosterone. And just look at it! The hips don't lie They say, you should never meet your heroes for fear of disappointment. Well, I did just that with the 930 Turbo. If you grew up between the '70s and '80s (or familiar with the online folklore), the 930 Turbo might have been the bedroom wall poster dream car. The 930 still turns heads with that gigantic ‘whale tail’ spoiler, flared wheel arches and wide tyres, all of which are necessary to package that stonking 3.3L flat six turbo. It’s just a bonus that these exaggerated proportions lend the car a sexy yet purposeful presence that demands your attention.
He who dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose Handling the 930 is no small feat. It can be a comfortable cruiser so long as you pay attention to the way it delivers its power. Should you unintentionally ring out the engine past 3500rpm you’ll feel a dramatic boost of power that can either break your neck or break you free of the Earth’s atmosphere. Considering the 930 was made in a time before braking assistance and power steering, it becomes a rewarding and addictive experience once you have it under control. It’s a very raw driving sensation that is far removed from its modern successor. Although they didn’t invent turbos, Porsche showed the world what turbo technology was capable of with the 930. Since the 70s, Porsche have had a long time to refine and improve upon its flat-six turbo formula. The 2019 (991.2) Turbo S swaps out the 930s 3.3L with a 3.8L flat-six engine and paired with twin turbos. Naturally, these new turbos push a whole lot more boost at a wider rpm range. Except, this time, Porsche engineers have figured their way around the turbo lag. Not only does this make the car much easier to drive without the sudden burst of torque but it gives it a seemingly instant yet continuous delivery of power. The performance-safety improvements don’t end there. The 991.2 Turbos S comes with all-wheel drive as standard, which not only gives it the grip to launch from 0-60mph in a blistering 2.7s, but also makes driving in the rain surprisingly manageable. Pretty crucial for a machine pushing 580HP – as I discovered on a very rainy day in London. Even though the steering is now electronically assisted, it manages to provide more than enough steering feedback to make you feel at home from the get-go.
There’s no option for a manual transmission but you’ll know that’s nothing to complain about If you’ve used Porsche's dual clutch transmission before (PDK). It changes gears instantaneously but not in a way that you won’t notice it. It’s as if it tells you that it is changing a cog but also saying “I got this.” Which leads me onto my next point. The typical criticism of performance cars that have a fair bit of electronic assistance, such as this, is that they lack “soul,” which is something we were asked about in our Instagram Q&A. Although, this car does take the reins in many areas (thankfully) it does so in a way that never leaves you in the dark. Everything that you need to know about what it is doing, it will communicate that to you somehow or other. The only way you could get more feedback from the car is if it were to literally start talking. Hold your horses Carbon ceramic brakes come as standard which, although great for track use, can be a little bit difficult to use in town driving as they squeak and bite hard. This is to be expected from carbon ceramics, but you can counter the hard braking by breathing on the brake pedal. There’s little in it between gradually slowing down and grinding to a complete stop. Not a deal breaker but just something to watch out for. However, the race car derived brakes hold true to the tradition of the Turbo as the 930 made use of the legendary 917s brakes, and it sure needed every ounce of stopping power it could muster. Should you option the Carbon fibre wheels, you’ll find that the lower un-sprung mass combined with Porsches dynamic chassis control (PDCC) makes for a ride that copes with bumps on the road considerably well for a car of its class.
The long and short of it The 2019 911 (992.2) Turbo S, with all its power is paired amongst some of the most carefully appointed technology to give the driver all the performance he could ever need while being communicative yet easy to handle. It's all usable. That can also be said about the car as a whole, as it boasts a level of practicality that makes it the perfect everyday supercar, if ever a thing existed. Clearly, then, the 911 Turbo is a tailored-for-the-road supercar. It is for this reason that Porsche Turbos are, to this day, a totally different breed to their GT models. With thanks to Porsche UK for the use of the 911 Turbo S.