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Driven: Porsche 911 Turbo S blasts off

Bandwidth of mainstream Porsche 911 range reaches new heights with bonkers Turbo S

29 Oct 2020

PORSCHE’S latest iteration of the supercar-troubling 911 Turbo S coupe and convertible is now making its way to Australian customers, each handing over in excess of $473,500 plus on-road costs for the daily-drivable 2+2 sportscar that can keep up with Ferraris, Lamborghinis and McLarens.

 

Until the inevitable GT2 RS comes along with even more raw performance plus rear-wheel drive and semi-slick tyres, the Turbo S will remain Porsche’s most expensive model in Australia by a comfortable margin, a cool $52,700 more than a Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid.

 

Despite this and a year beset by bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic that has seen 911 sales slump 22.9 per cent year-to-date, Porsche Cars Australia head of public relations Chris Jordan told GoAuto there was “still good interest” in the brand’s flagship bahn-stormer.

 

While mere mortals may baulk at Porsche’s demand for an extra $21,000 in exchange for a convertible roof on the 911 Turbo S, it is a relative bargain in its price and performance category: Ferrari charges a $52,000 premium for the Spider version of its F8, a McLaren 720S Spider is $66,100 more than the coupe and Lamborghini’s Huracan Evo Spyder is a relatively reasonable $46,385 over the hard-top.

 

Dismissing such on-paper comparisons with some serious metal and carbon-fibre, at the recent 911 Turbo S launch in South East Queensland Mr Jordan said many 911 Turbo S buyers were “just looking at a Porsche, which is nice”.

 

He suggested that the biggest competitor to a 911 Turbo S in Australia was a two-car combination of Cayenne SUV for daily use and a GT3 or GT3 RS for weekends and track days, as this had more real-world appeal for Australians faced with roads that have strict enforcement of low speed limits.

 

“You can drive it (911 Turbo S) Monday-Friday as a comfortable car and on an autobahn it’s peerless plus if you want to do a track day in it as well you can,” said Mr Jordan.

 

“But in Australia owners have multiple cars, which means they’re driving a Cayenne to work and back and as we don’t have the autobahns, when they are driving their GT3 it is a lot of track days.”

 

At launch, a 991 GT3 RS was $416,500 plus on-road costs, or $57,000 less than the new Turbo S coupe, while the regular GT3 was $326,800 plus on-roads – leaving plenty of change for a Cayenne.

 

“In Australia we sell a bit more of the GT3 and GT3 RS than we do Turbo and Turbo S which is unique for our market as in Europe it’s the other way around. We are such a proportionally high GT market,” said Mr Jordan.

 

This is consistent with other performance variants and sub-brands such as Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, Audi RS, Volkswagen GTI and Renault Sport for which Australia has a high sales-per-capita ratio.

 

With all-wheel drive plus a 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat six serving up 478kW of power and 800Nm of torque, the 911 Turbo S can monster its way from rest to 100km/h in just 2.7 seconds and keep going all the way to 340km/h.

 

The Porsche’s top speed matches that of a Ferrari F8 Tributo, which costs $11,388 more in coupe form while giving away 0.2s in the triple-digit sprint. The deficit is largely due to being rear-drive and 30Nm less potent in terms of torque but with 52kW more peak power.

 

A McLaren 720S – $16,400 pricier than the Porsche as a coupe – claims an extra 1km/h at the top end and matches the Ferrari’s 0-100km/h sprint, with identical power outputs to the F8’s 100cc-smaller 3.9-litre turbo V8.

 

Flying the flag for natural aspiration is the V10-powered Lamborghini Huracan Evo that packs all-wheel drive like the Porsche while undercutting it by $14,500 to offset the indignity of taking more than three seconds to hit 100km/h and only just qualifying for the 200mph club as a result of its 5.2-litre screamer being 29kW and 240Nm less potent than a Turbo S.

 

All these exotics deploy a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission whereas the Porsche goes one further with an eight-speed PDK dual-clutcher as standard.

 

In time-honoured fashion, the 992 Turbo S has beefed up bodywork to accommodate its wider track with more voluptuous front and rear wheelarches respectively extending 45mm and 20mm further than its predecessor.

 

The additional road presence of this widebody look is further accentuated by a unique front bumper design and a bigger extendable rear wing that represents a subtle nod to the whale tails on air-cooled 911 Turbos of yesteryear, but with a modern twist as it forms part of the car’s active aerodynamics package.

 

Among the various positions and angles the new wing can assume are when the driver selects wet driving mode, which shifts aero balance toward the rear for greater traction and stability, and ‘Performance II’ that flattens its angle for reduced rear tyre load when travelling faster than 260km/h and the Sport Plus driving mode is selected.

 

Other active aero aids include inflatable sections in the front lip spoiler that alter in profile to control airflow and downforce acting on the front axle for reduced lift at high speeds. Combined with the rear wing, this system is claimed to deliver 15 per cent more downforce than the outgoing Turbo S.

 

In addition, adjustable air flaps in the front bumper close to reduce drag when cooling requirements are low or open to control temperatures in hot or high-load conditions.

 

An upgraded all-wheel-drive system can now send as much as 500Nm of torque to the front axle, while the revised suspension included new adaptive dampers that respond faster and more precisely to driving and surface conditions – to the benefit of body control and roll stability, in turn enhancing roadholding and upping potential cornering speed. Adding to this are standard torque vectoring and active electromechanical sway bar systems.

 

Wheels are 20-inch at the front and 21-inch at the back, the latter wearing fat 315-section rubber. Behind the alloy rims are ceramic composite brakes with 10-piston aluminium monobloc front callipers on 420mm rotors at the front and four-piston monoblocs with 390mm discs at the back.

 

Inside is a 10.9-inch multimedia system with Apple CarPlay, DAB+ digital radio, Bose premium audio, onboard Wi-Fi hotspot and vision from the reversing camera.

 

Upholstery is two-tone quilted leather with contrast stitching, with trim highlights in dark and light silver plus a few matte carbon inlays.

 

Coupes have roof pillars and headlining in suede-like Race-Tex fabric while the convertible has leather-trimmed windscreen pillars and a black fabric roof lining. The GT sports steering wheel is also trimmed in leather.

 

Adaptive sports front seats with 18-way electric adjustment, memory and heating are included, as are blind spot monitoring, keyless entry and start, front and rear parking sensors, LED matrix headlights and cruise control (adaptive cruise being an extra $3570).

 

The standard Sport Chrono package includes a tyre temperature monitor and Porsche’s Track Precision smartphone app that records lap times and onboard video footage in sync with real-time vehicle telematics and GPS data to help owners to analyse and improve their track driving.

 

As with all Porsches, a raft of equipment upgrades are offered, including a sports exhaust ($6460), front axle lifter for tackling bumpy roads or steep driveways ($5070), electric glass sunroof ($4720), ventilated front seats ($2220), tinted adaptive headlights ($1290), privacy glass ($1150) and dimmable interior lighting ($1050).

 

Personalisation options include alternative wheel designs ($4770), gloss black or gold painted wheels ($2500), gloss black mirror housings ($1120), gloss black window trims ($990) and a Porsche crest on the head restraints ($470).

 

Above the 12 standard exterior colours, four special colours are offered for $5700. Beyond these, an extended range of colours – including from Porsche’s back catalogue – will set the customer back $20,740 while a one-off custom colour scheme is $41,480.

 

2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S pricing*

Coupe (a) $473,500
Cabriolet (a) $494,500

*Excludes on-road costs


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