This black-on-black 911 Turbo looks menacing at first glance, but it’s anything but scary once you sit behind the wheel. In fact, this would be an extremely easy car to live with every day. The 911 Turbo has awesome capabilities-500 hp, 480 lb-ft of torque, 0 to 60 in less than 4 seconds — but there are few apparent compromises to everyday driving comfort. The suspension is more supple than stiff, the seats are supportive but not unforgiving, and the prodigious power and torque are easily tamed when you need to maneuver through urban gridlock. Of course, at $150,000, you expect a lot from a car. The 911 Turbo pretty much delivers everything you ask of it.
– Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
Driving a 911 Turbo is like coming home. It was the subject of my very first feature story in Automobile Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 1, page 71. My 3000-mile drive from Detroit to Porsche’s new Reno, Nevada, headquarters was to celebrate the return of the 911 Turbo to America after an absence of five years. I remember the opening quote from our then-technical editor, Trant Jarman: “I’ve got a suspicion that this car can be quite naughty. And you just know that if the cops get you, they’re gonna make you take off all your clothes.” And that Turbo produced a screaming 282 horsepower and a mind-bending 287 pounds-feet of torque. That would be about the power of today’s Volvo station wagon.
There is a reason the word “Porschephile” exists. There is a reason the Porsche Club of America has such a robust membership, fond of long communal drives and track days. The 911 Turbo is driver’s dream, challenging your body of knowledge, rewarding your skill and attention to detail behind the wheel. With its seven-speed dual clutch transmission, torque vectoring, active suspension, stability management, and dynamic cornering headlights, today’s Turbo is like today’s home — extremely high-tech and more usable than ever.
But it’s still a special car and forever in the pantheon of my all-time greats.
– Jean Jennings, Editor-in-chief
Well, it was everything I expected, and more. To me, the 911 Turbo is the ultimate Porsche. I appreciate the standard all-wheel drive, as opposed to the more “pure” rear-wheel-drive GT3 and GT2. This beast is wild enough for me, thank you very much. And I live in Michigan, which means the 911 Turbo could be a very livable daily driver for me, should an extra $150K fall into my lap.
I spent a lot of time in the Type 996 911 Turbo, which in its day (early 2000s) seemed to be everything someone could want in a Porsche, with its 414-hp, 413-lb-ft, 3.6-liter turbocharged boxer six. Oh, how quaint that all seems now. This 2011 Porsche 911 Turbo has a 500-hp, 480-lb-ft, 3.8-liter boxer six, and that gem of an engine is mated to, finally, a proper dual-clutch transmission. Porsche calls its new seven-speed dual-clutch the PDK, and it’s pretty wonderful. The old five-speed Tiptronic becomes a distant memory.
At its core, this car is all about the acceleration, the sound of the turbo six, and the brakes — oh, my, the brakes. I found myself rocketing along open stretches of two-lane, reaching 120 mph within seconds, coming to my senses, and nailing the brakes. HARD. I don’t have any official measurements, but I got the sense that, if you were going 120 mph and needed to scrub off 50 mph right quick, you might actually manage to do it before the cop pointed his radar gun at you.
Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking. After one brief evening driving this car, I was somewhat relieved that the Porsche people came and took it away, because I was afraid I might have an unwelcome roadside conference with a member of the Michigan State Police. The speeds you can obtain in the Porsche 911 Turbo are that deceptive. I launched the car onto one of my favorite on-ramps onto I-94, and as I merged into the traffic lane, my passenger, a keen enthusiast, admonished me that he didn’t want me to go more than 80 mph. “I just want to hear the engine and get a sense of the car,” he was saying. “I don’t want you to lose your license.” When I informed him that I was already going 107 mph at the end of the entrance ramp, he was shocked. “I had NO idea we were going that fast!”
As for the PDK itself, it comes with nicely damped paddle shifters that make a cool little “dunk” sound when you engage them. Unfortunately they follow the steering wheel’s rotation rather than staying fixed to the steering column, which would be my preference.
Our black-on-black test car made just the right statement about the 911 Turbo’s capabilities, I thought: this is a serious, and seriously capable, sports car of the highest order. I need more seat time!
– Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor
I didn’t drive this particular 911 Turbo coupe, but a few weeks ago I had my first 911 Turbo experience with a lovely cabriolet in France. Traffic was so bad leaving Paris that we actually swapped drivers while parked in the fast lane of the A10 autoroute. I spent hours just sitting in the supportive bucket seats and watching time tick away on my watch. Finally the road opened up and I had a chance to dip in to the Turbo’s legendary power. Wow. This car is incredible. During the same weekend I also managed to drive on Circuit de la Sarthe at speeds much more in line with the Turbo’s capabilities. It was a surreal experience driving a 911 Turbo through the Porsche curves, under the Dunlop bridge and topping out north of 155 mph on the Mulsanne straight with a track full of other Porsche vehicles of all vintages.
Whenever there’s a Turbo in the 911 lineup, it sells more than any of the other dozen (or more!) variants. The 911 Turbo is also the only vehicle in Porsche’s portfolio that can simply be called “Turbo;” lesser vehicles (including the Panamera Turbo) must have the model name before turbo on the badging. No matter how much faster (GT2 RS) or more visceral (anything with GT3 in the name) other 911s might be, the Turbo is the iconic 911. Spend a few miles behind the wheel and it’s easy to see why the Turbo is so revered. There’s no compromise in terms of equipment, ride quality, or daily driving abilities to get huge increase in power the Turbo offers. The only downside is the price of admission, but the Turbo badge adds a lot of cachet to the 911 and everyone knows cachet doesn’t come cheap.
– Phil Floraday, Senior Web Editor
2010 Porsche 911 Turbo
Base price (with destination): $133,750
Price as tested: $150,605
3.8-liter horizontally opposed 6-cylinder engine
6-speed manual transmission
Porsche stability management
Porsche active suspension management
Tire pressure monitoring system
Full leather interior
Power tilt and slide sunroof
Fully electric seats
Bi-xenon headlights with auto leveling
Bose surround sound
Full climate control
Options on this vehicle:
Dark grey natural leather — $1510
Porsche torque vectoring (PTV) — $1320
PDK transmission — $4550
Heated front seats — $510
Ventilated front seats — $800
Wheel caps with colored crest — $185
Dynamic cornering lights — $690
Bluetooth connectivity — $695
Sport chrono package turbo — $3830
XM radio — $750
6-disc CD/DVD changer — $6
Floor mats in interior color — $150
Sport wheel with shift paddles — $490
Universal audio interface — $440
Porsche crest in headrest — $285
Key options not on vehicle:
Porsche ceramic composite brakes — $8840
Park assist system — $530
Fuel economy: 17/25/19 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
Size: 3.8L turbocharged horizontally opposed 6-cylinder
Horsepower: 500 hp @ 6000-6500 rpm
Torque: 480 lb-ft @ 1950-5000 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed PDK automatic
Curb weight: 3516 lbs
19 x 8.5-inch front; 19 x 11-inch rear forged wheels
235/35ZR19 front; 305/30ZR19 rear Bridgestone Potenza RE050A performance tires