Here at Car and Driver, we’ve been addicted to the kind of speed that 911 Turbos deliver since the 1970s. A recent test of the 911 Turbo S left us quivering with adrenaline and craving more. So, we called Porsche and asked them for another hit, and they complied. Sort of. Perhaps to help wean us off the 640-hp Turbo S, Porsche sent over a 572-hp Turbo. Less powerful but also less expensive than the Turbo S at $173,150, two weeks of Turbo time left us feeling really, really good. So good, in fact, that we asked ourselves: How much more performance do you actually need?
Unless you have test equipment on board, the lesser Turbo does the same thing to your synapses and inner ear but costs less. Select Sport mode and the launch-control programming holds the engine at 4000 rpm when you push the brake and the accelerator simultaneously. Hit the Sport Response button on the steering wheel and the tach needle rises another 1000 rpm. Breathe in, secure any phones or glasses or beverages, and release the brake while keeping the throttle pedal pinned. Torque slams through all four wheels, and 60 mph comes up in 2.4 seconds, a mere 0.2 second behind the S. In 10.3 seconds, the quarter-mile passes at 133 mph, again, an undetectable 0.2 second behind the Turbo S.
Why didn’t we select Sport Plus mode, you ask? Sport Plus deploys the front-lip spoiler and the rear spoiler, which stabilize the car at high speeds but also contribute to drag. For the most rapid accelerations, use Sport. The Turbo remains stable at high speeds but even more so with the spoilers deployed.
It’s a rare treat to hit 180 mph on the 1.5-mile straight at our Michigan test facility. As of this writing, only nine vehicles have seen 180 or beyond over the last few years. The 911 Turbo reaches the mark in less than a mile—4920 feet. A Turbo S can do it three football fields sooner. Fun facts: The 700-hp Porsche 911 GT2 RS and 1479-hp Bugatti Veyron Sport hit 180 mph in 3568 and 2150 feet, respectively.
To stop the quicker Turbo S, Porsche equips each one with standard carbon-ceramic rotors. On the Turbo, those rotors cost $9650. The Turbo’s standard cross-drilled iron rotors measure 16.1 inches in front and 15.0 inches in the rear and deliver similar fade-free performance and 141-foot stops from 70 mph and 283-feet stops from 100 mph. Effective, strong, and cheaper to maintain, the standard brakes make a compelling case to pass on the optional brakes.
The Turbo isn’t just a dragster; it also handles. Brands struggling to tune their electrically assisted steering should try Porsche’s system. The tuning offers near-perfect effort, NASA-grade accuracy, and communication and trust at the limit. Porsche confidently tunes it one way, there’s no high- or low-effort steering setting. You get it one way, and it’s great.
Turbo have always been the hardbodies of the 911 breed, and in this latest gen, the rear track is 1.8 inches wider than a standard Carrera. The bulging widebody houses air inlets to keep the boosted flat-six cool and provide enough fender space for the massive 315/30R-21s Pirelli P Zeros. Up front, the track is the same as the standard Carrera, but a meaningful 1.7 inches wider than the previous-gen Turbo. Around the skidpad, there’s 1.07 g of lateral adhesion, 0.03 g less than what we got out of the Turbo S that’s equipped with Porsche’s Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) as standard fare. Porsche would be happy to fit your Turbo with PDCC—a package that adds active anti-roll bars—for an extra $3170.
Like any drug, there is a painful side. The optional PASM sport suspension drops the Turbo by 0.4 inch and bumps up the spring rates. The adaptive dampers have two settings, Sport and Sport Plus. Sport Plus should call the nearest pain doctor. The lowered and stiffened suspension seemingly transmits every nanometer of road topography right into the car’s structure and then to you. The hits quickly ring through the tight structure, but each strike is loud. We’ve yet to drive a Turbo with the standard suspension, but we’d gladly welcome a more compliant spring rate and less aggressive damper tune.
We’d be hard pressed to spend the additional $31,700 for the Turbo S. The Turbo is more than enough of a fix to make us forget the Turbo S. Side effects are minimal, and the Turbo was actually good for 27 mpg in our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test, seven more than the EPA’s highway test suggests. Start adding options like carbon-ceramic brakes and PDCC and it eventually makes more sense to get the Turbo S. Keep the options light, however, and the Turbo offers a relative value and the exact same high.
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