First Drive: 2010 Porsche 911 Turbo

As we're pulling into the pits following a very sideways lap of Portugal's rain-soaked Estoril race track, I ask my tour guide Walter Röhrl which is his favorite 911. It turns out we're in it - the racing legend lives in an area that gets a good bit of snow, so a rear-drive 911 is out of the question. He drives a four-wheel drive 911 Turbo. And given what I've just experienced from the passenger seat, there's certainly no drawback to having all four of the 911's wheels driven or its engine force-fed by two turbos.

Let's divide this review into two sections - a short Cliffs Notes section, and then a whole lot of rambling about the new Porsche 911 Turbo.

All-new 3.8-liter engine with direct injection, 500 hp (20 more than before), direct injection. Higher compression and lower boost pressure reduces on/off effect of turbo lag. Sport Chrono pack gives overboost, bumping peak torque from 479 lb-ft to 516 lb-ft. Recalibrated all-wheel drive system and PASM adaptive suspension for better handling; 10 seconds faster around the Nürburgring than the 2009 Turbo (lap time is now 7m39s) and gets considerably better fuel economy. 6-speed manual is standard, ancient 5-speed automatic replaced by fabulous 7-speed twin-clutch PDK (which has launch control on Sport Chrono cars, and optional steering-wheel mounted shift paddles in place of the backwards buttons that are standard.) Optional center-lock wheels are so gorgeous you'll want to lick them.

Let's cut to the chase: there's little question that the 2010 Porsche 911 Turbo is the best Turbo yet. Is it the best 911? In my book, that position is still occupied by the GT3, the loud, rough, manic, please-put-me-on-a-track 911. The Turbo is far less raw - it's the Grand Tourer of the 911 lineup. It loses a lot of the flat-six soundtrack - the one that raises hairs on the back of your neck - in favor of ludicrous forward thrust and the sound of air rushing through the turbos. But what makes the Turbo so special is that it reduces the GT3's sensory overload to levels more appropriate for daily driving, and the fact that it does so without being any less capable as a sports car.

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The Porsche 911 Turbo is perfection.posted 11.19.05 - "Karleton Helfer is self motivated, goal driven and consistently recognized for exceeding objectives."

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