2017 Porsche 911 Turbo first drive review


The more the 2017 Porsche 911 Turbo talks, the more it sounds like the end.

In many ways, it's coarse and gruff—the way a 911 Turbo should sound. Noise from the turbochargers force-feeding a 3.8-liter flat-6 to within an inch of its life howl through the straights, rear tires wail from roughshod grip to claw at least 540 horsepower down to the pavement, and 6-piston pinchers scrape 16-inch front rotors to slow its prodigious momentum.

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There's hardly a moment of silence in this car.

There will be soon.

Lessons learned from the hallmark 918 Spyder teach us that electrification is in the mail. Few Porsche owners are scared anymore. Like water cooling or mid-engine Caymans, the world is waiting for Porsche's next move with its super sports car, and the 991.2 911 Turbo could be the final parry before another plunge into internal combustion-only's heart.

Power, plus

You can't shave 16 seconds off a 'Ring lap time without a bigger boost.

Although the 2017 911 Turbo only adds 20 horsepower over last year's model, the way its delivered is the headline this time around. Borrowing tech from downballot Porsches such as the 718 twins and 911, the Turbo adds a lag reduction system that keeps the pressure building, even if your bravery has faded. Keeping the throttle open without using fuel keeps at least 1 to 2 positive psi charged in the turbos, ready to uncork according to your courage.

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The power feels savage and immediate, from 2,000 rpm all the way up to its peak at 5,500 rpm. It's impossible to miss the turbo scream and mechanical whine, but the power isn't lumpy or unpredictable this time. Variable turbine geometry and constant pressure from the turbo combine in force. The engine is always waiting for you.

The 911 Turbo and 911 Turbo S are further apart on the family tree this year, but still on the same branch. The Turbo S gets its own turbocharger this year (instead of a boosted version of the Turbo's), but the performance gap between the two models stays the same. The Turbo S still has 40 more horsepower than the Turbo—580 hp in the S—and 30 more pound-feet of torque—513 lb-ft, or 553 lb-ft with overboost. Both cars run up to 60 mph from a standing start a quick tick faster this time around: 2.9 seconds in the Turbo, 2.8 seconds in the Turbo S. Both get a 2-mpg bump from gearing and turbo efficiency. Germans and precision, you know?


 
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