First of all, with 500 horsepower, it's fast as the dickens. Depending on transmission and trim choices, 60 mph can be yours in as little as 3.2 seconds, according to Porsche. That kind of thrust actually hurts a little. Seriously. In a good way, if you're into that kind of thing - and you probably are if you're reading this part of the review. But to put it in perspective: ever been sitting in the passenger seat of a modern car traveling at 60 mph and the driver suddenly slams on the brakes and comes to a complete stop under full ABS? The force that threw you against your seatbelt and sent your cell phone flying under the dash is about the same as what it feels like to floor the gas pedal in a 911. Just in the opposite direction. Kind of hurts, kind of feels good.
The thrust comes courtesy of a flat-six that Porsche describes as the first all-new engine in the 911 Turbo's 35-year history. For the first time, it uses direct fuel injection, and it's 0.2 liters bigger than the last Turbo mill, displacing 3.8 liters. The switch to direct fuel injection and the larger size have resulted in a gain of only 20 hp, but - and here's the important part - the changes have dramatically reduced turbo lag. The additional displacement means more air flows to the turbochargers, spooling them up more quickly. The compression ratio has been increased from 9.0:1 to 9.8:1, combining with the additional displacement to help produce more power off-boost. And a lower peak boost pressure (11.6 psi, down from 14.5) means less of an on-off switch feeling when the boost does hit.
If ordered with the Sport Chrono package, the computer will allow up to 14.5 psi of boost - resulting in a peak of 516 lb-ft of torque instead of 479 - for ten seconds, albeit over a smaller plateau. The additional midrange alone will knock a tenth of a second off the 0-60 sprint.
Another major driveline change is the long-awaited retirement of the 5-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. The last 2-pedal 911 Turbo was, frankly, an exercise in frustration: between the engine's prodigious lag and the transmission's widely spaced gear ratios, not to mention its occasional unwillingness to cooperate, the delay between throttle tip-in and the enormous thrust you're waiting for could be measured in months.*
*Slight exaggeration for illustrative purposes only.