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To Turbo or to Turbo S? That is only part of the question.
Both the 520-horsepower 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo and its 560-horsepower 911 Turbo S variant are truly impressive machines, both on-track and off. But which should you choose?
Ultimately, the answer comes down to your desire to spend money, as both are brilliant--the Turbo S is just a bit more so. The extra power and more liberal dose of equipment and features makes the Turbo S the preferential pick for those of unlimited means, naturally, but the Turbo gives up very little even when the clock is running.
Zero to 60 mph, the Turbo rips off the dash in just 3.2 seconds; the Turbo S does the deed in 2.9. Either model gets the benefit of dead-simple launch control: put the car in Sport Plus mode with the console-mounted button, pin the brake and the gas, and the tach rises to a launch limiter, popping and growling as it waits for your command. Side-step the brake and it slingshots away with only the drama of a rapidly approaching horizon--wheelspin is minimal, especially once the tires are hot, and there's no side-stepping whatsoever thanks to the standard all-wheel-drive system.
2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S first drive, Bilster-Berg, August 2013Enlarge Photo
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For those willing to truly push themselves and their car, the Turbo S does have one standout advantage: standard carbon ceramic brakes. While the steel brakes, standard on the Turbo, have somewhat better feel and modulation, the ceramics are brutally efficient and fade-free, even after dozens of laps in just a few short hours. To be fair, we didn't notice any fade in the steel brakes, but the Bilster Berg layout doesn't require multiple 10-pedal stops from 160-plus-mph, either. The ceramics, though difficult to modulate before engaging full ABS action, provide insurance for higher-speed venues. Fortunately, you can upgrade the Turbo to include the ceramic brakes if you like.
The bottom line: even on track, the difference between the Turbo and Turbo S is a (noticeable) hair's-width, and both are just flat-out fun to drive hard.