Ride quality in the Turbo is more pastoral than some may be expecting. Compared to the DB11's softly sprung ride and wafty rear end, the Turbo feels (and sounds) grainy, but connected. Turning down the dampers and throttle makes for a slightly more civilized ride, but noise from the rear tires never truly disappears. If this is a problem: 1) Cheers to your great success in life; 2) Turn up the optional $3,700 12-speaker Burmester stereo.
It takes a moment to recognize the 2017 911 Turbo from its predecessor, but the details read wider this year. At just over 3 inches wider than a 911 Carrera—1 inch wider than a 4S—the 911 Turbo's new front fascia and 3-D taillights exaggerate the tale of the tape. Chrome- or black-tipped exhausts are your giveaway to Turbo or Turbo S variants if the extra letter on the tail isn't enough, and a new inlet on the decklid are visual cues that it's the newest model on the road.
Like any modern Porsche, the 911 Turbo can be specified in myriad ways that suit tastes for a car that starts at $159,200. We doubt there will be many base editions built, and most will have tens of thousands in options piled on that add up faster than compound interest. Porsche's product planning is the 9th wonder of the world, we suppose.
Driver and passenger (we hardly recommend more than one in any 911) get the latest efforts from Porsche's interior engineering department, which can be easily overlooked, and will be. A smaller steering wheel in the Turbo than in the 911 instills the feeling that you're grabbing the Turbo by the ears and holding on for well-being—like wrestling a bear. That's very noticeable.
A beast untamed
Thunderhill is too long to memorize, too short for a Porsche 911 Turbo.
Its new course adds elevation and takes it all away in 4.6 miles, one of the longest laps in the country. Building up to the top of the Cyclone hill, a blind right Turn 5 that's so long that it gets a 5A appendage, is easy for the Turbo—the incline scrubs speed for you. Unwind into Turns 6 and 7, decreasing radius left-handers that track the car out toward the right edge of grip and reality, and the Turbo's active roll bars manage lateral loads with shocking ease. Mat the right pedal and double check the insurance policy.
The track's second blind crest is where the 911 Turbo defines its character, and yours. The track's second big elevation gain falls away into a handful of corners that have no name—just plenty of four-letter adjectives. Riding along with three-time LeMans winner and Porsche driver Hurley Haywood reveals that the 911 has enough brakes to gather the car, even if the front end is unloaded, but it's not a conclusion most would arrive to on their own. Nail it and you'll never complain about carbon ceramics again.
The straights handle their own in the Turbo and come and go at more than 140 mph. The Turbo S is the first 911 Turbo to breach 200 mph at its top end and it's every bit as believable. Breathe in. Breathe out. Next lap.
Yet driving a 911 Turbo at full speed is more of a question than an answer. Am I fast enough? Will it ever give up? Is this the end of turbo lag?
But ask Porsche engineers if this is the last 911 Turbo before becoming a hybrid?
Porsche provided travel and lodging to Internet Brands Automotive to bring you this firsthand report.