2014 Porsche 911 Turbo first drive, Bilster-Berg, August 2013
When you think of supercars, you might think of the raw, vicious likes of the Ferrari F40, SRT Viper, or even the Corvette ZR1. Shockingly fast, all of them, but they're also bearers of a knife's-edge character that can cut at the driver all too easily. There's none of that with the 911 Turbo or Turbo S.
You might also think of the high-tech, almost clinical supercars like the Nissan GT-R or McLaren MP4-12C. There's a bit of that in the 911, with the adaptive aerodynamics (the pneumatic front spoiler lowers in two modes courtesy of air bladders, while the rear spoiler elevates to become a wing), PDK, and spooky-smart Sport Plus, PDCC, and PASM systems at work, directing the chassis and controlling slip angles transparently. But there's a spirit, a liveliness, too.
2014 Porsche 911 Turbo first drive, Bilster-Berg, August 2013Enlarge Photo
Electric power steering? Don't worry. It's good. It's not perfect, but it's perfectly usable, delivering the feedback and control necessary to manage the car's tremendous momentum even over tricky elevation and direction changes. Even the four-wheel steering system feels natural, rotating the car handily at parking lot speeds and adding seamless stability under a full flogging.
If we have one gripe, it's that the 245-width front tires seem a touch over-tasked on hard braking. That's a factor of the car's 3,500-plus-pound curb weight and the massive speeds the twin-turbo 3.8-liter flat six-cylinder can push, overcoming the linear grip available through sheer force.
But ultimately, even this shortfall isn't a major factor. The 911 Turbo and Turbo S want to be driven well ahead of the track. Leaving the braking for the last possible second isn't the route to true speed, even if it were to have a bit more front-end grip on the brakes. No, these cars like to be driven early.
Get the braking out of the way, set up the turn-in (trailing a bit of brake is fine, though you'll get good rotation with nothing more than being off-throttle), and get the car pointed through the turn as soon as possible. Then transition smoothly back to the gas, and you're rifled from apex to the track-out point and beyond. Repeat as necessary.