As Porsche celebrates 50 years of its iconic 911, it’s only fitting that the fastest and most advanced models of the line-up should get a makeover. The next-gen 911 Turbo and Turbo S have received several technical revisions to enhance handling and make the fast even faster, with the S model leaping from 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds. This hi-tech generation is similar to its ancestors in name only.
Technical upgrades and improvements are extensive throughout the new 911 Turbo platform. As the fastest of the lineup, the 911 Turbo and Turbo S come tricked out with a revised 3.8 liter flattened boxer engine with its opposing cylinders and twin-turbochargers developing a healthy 520 horsepower and 650 Nm of torque in the Turbo, while the S model produces 560 hp and 700 Nm of torque, available way down low at a very usable 2100 rpm.
As for power ratios, the Turbos do not disappoint. Power per liter figures are 137 hp/liter for the Turbo and 147.4 for the quicker S.
In partner with Porsche’s new Traction Management (PTM) system power is now sent to the all-wheel drive system via Porsche's brilliantly quick seven-speed dual clutch transmission (PDK). The gearbox, featuring auto or full manual settings, is also enabled with an auto start/stop function.
These power figures equate to a top speed for the Turbo of 196 mph (315 km/h) while the S gets by a little faster at 198 mph (318 km/h). Acceleration is a stunning: 0 - 60 mph (96.56 km/h) in only 2.9 seconds for the S while the Turbo comes in at 3.2 seconds.
To put that in perspective, the much-hyped Hennessey Venom GT comes in at 2.7 seconds to 60 while the 2013 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse hits the mark in 2.4 seconds. The major difference being that the new 911 comes in at US$181,000, while the other two sell for more than US$1 million plus a piece.
One of the coolest aspects of the 911 (and there are many) resides in the variable twin turbocharging system. VTG or Variable Turbine Geometry essentially adjusts vane angles in a pre-loading area ahead of the actual turbochargers to increase or decrease airflow. So when the flat-six requires fast spin up for quicker power at lower rpms, instead of waiting for the turbine to spool up as exhaust gasses increase, the vanes narrow the opening and in turn provide a higher pressure airflow to the turbines. This clever system not only helps reduce turbo-lag but allows for the turbos to be more effective across a wider power band.
Another fascinating bit of German innovation comes to us in the form of the Turbo’s rear wheel steering system. The system, albeit not new, is a first for the Turbo series. Instead of using a traditional control link setup, the rear steering system employs two electro-mechanical actuators on both sides of the rear axle. Steering angle out back has the ability to vary up to 2.8 degrees, so at speeds up to 31 mph (50 km/h) the rear wheels angle out, opposite to the front wheels. This tricky little maneuver actually shortens up the wheelbase by 249 mm (9.8 in) and provides a pivoting type motion allowing the Turbo to move around corners quicker. However, once the Turbo surpasses 50 mph (80 km/h), the actuators direct the rear wheels to angle in. With the wheelbase now extended by 498 mm (19.6 in) and all wheels pointing in the same direction, the driver should see increased traction, lateral control and better handling at higher speeds.
To make the Turbo series even quicker around the autobahn or Nurburgring, Porsche fitted the car out with a new all-wheel drive system. The electronically controlled Porsche Traction Management (PTM) system manages power between the front and rear wheels via a water cooled differential with an activated multi-plate coupling. The system is designed to provide more torque to the front wheels compared to the previous 911 Turbo. This helps explain the Turbo’s insanely quick 0-60 times along with a reported Nurburgring lap time of just under 7 minutes 30 seconds on standard production tires.
Aerodynamics are of a course a priority for Porsche and being no exception, the 911 Turbo gets a new active aerodynamic system. Up in the nose area, a new retractable three stage spoiler that can be pneumatically extended depending on the scenario awaits the wind. In the “performance position” all the wings of the front spoiler are fully extended to increase down force to the front wheels, while out back the rear spoiler is set at maximum height to provide optimal downforce to the hind quarters.
Fat, fatter, fattest. Previous Turbos were wide on the behind but the new series ups the badonkadonk factor by 1.1 inches (27.9 mm). Aside from more aggressive aesthetics the wider body is designed to help enhance cornering and handling at speed.
Other visual affectations for the new Turbo include forged two-tone 20-inch aluminum wheels and serious rubber treatments. Up front the Turbo’s get 245/35 ZR 20s while out under those expansive hindquarters resides 305/30 ZR 20 tires.
Porsche’s Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) active anti-roll system is also being offered for the first time in the new 911 Turbos. This system helps adjust dampers according to driver and electronic inputs to help flatten the car out when needed or provide a smoother ride under less extreme conditions.
Playing an equally important part in all this is the 911’s new chassis. The new lightweight design is composed of an aluminum and steel composite unibody, featuring aluminum doors and hood. With a curb weight of 3,516 pounds (1,595 kg) for the Turbo and 3,538 (1,605 kg) for the S, the 911 Turbo is not light by any means, but the aluminum diet has seen the S shed 44 lbs (19.95 kg) over the previous model.
When it's time to slow down, the new Turbo relies on 6-piston aluminum monobloc calipers up front (4-pistons out back) while 15-inch vented and drilled rotors deal with excessive braking forces. A Sport Chrono Package Plus with dynamic engine mounts is also available for the Turbo which features Porsche’s Carbon Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB).
On the inside, a completely redesigned S apparently comes rather well equipped with a black/Carrera red color combination and Sport Seats that feature 18-way adjustments and memory. A Bose sound system is standard but a Burmester system is also available as an option. Radar-controlled cruise control, camera-based road sign recognition and speed limit recognition systems are also part of the interior equation.
The newly minted 911 Turbo will be available at the end of 2013 in the United States. Prices start at $148,300 for the Turbo, while the Turbo S comes in at US$181,100.