How much 911 do you need? Objectively, the difference between the 345-hp bottom-rung Carrera and the latest 500-hp Turbo is not nearly as dramatic as the numbers would suggest. With the seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission set for launch control, the Turbo beats the base model from 0 to 60 mph by 1.3 seconds, according to Porsche. When you compare the manual-transmission models, the acceleration advantage shrinks to an even less meaningful one second flat. As far as top speed is concerned, the wide-body Turbo's 194 mph eclipses its slimline sibling by a relatively unsensational 14 mph.
Price-wise, however, the two rear-engine coupes are separated by a whopping $56,500 - about the price of a Boxster S. So how can we possibly suggest that the 2010 Turbo is the best-ever 911 and even more desirable than the discontinued 530-hp GT2 and the awesome 435-hp GT3? Why would we happily fork out such a massive premium for a top-of-the-line model that, in naked numbers, is not that much quicker than the no-frills Carrera? Because the new Turbo is an even faster-responding, more complete, and better balanced driving machine than its predecessor. Because the new Turbo's handling and ride comfort lift it to a plateau above the uncompromising GT3 and the devilishly difficult GT2. And because the intoxicating mix of explosive turbo grunt, tenacious four-wheel-drive grip, and intuitive dual-clutch shift magic makes this 911 incredibly transparent and accessible.
Appearance-wise, the differences between the 2009 and 2010 model 911 Turbo are marginal. Fresh details are limited to a revised front air intake; LED running lights and taillights; optional bixenon cornering lights; slimmer, low-drag sideview mirrors; and larger tailpipes. Inside, we find a redesigned steering wheel with proper shift paddles rather than the clumsy, thumb-operated buttons found in other Porsches (and still standard here). Also part of the upgraded Turbo package are full leather trim, modified instruments with silver faces and white backlighting, the touch-screen navigation system we already know from lesser 911s, and a powerful Bose sound system with thirteen speakers. Among the goodies Porsche still charges extra for are the paddleshift steering wheel, the highly desirable dual-clutch transmission, carbon-ceramic brakes, cruise control, a sunroof, electronic torque vectoring in conjunction with a passive limited-slip differential, and the indispensable Sport Chrono package, which includes active engine mounts and an overboost function.