Evolution No. 9(11)

The All-New Porsche 911 Turbo S Is Exactly What We Wanted It to Be


March 3, 2020 Cars By

There’s nothing surprising about the new Porsche 911 Turbo S. And that’s a wonderful thing.

In a world that seems dominated by uncertainty and change like never before, there’s delight to be found in simple continuity — the peace in knowing some things can be counted upon to stay the same. Porsche’s 911 has long epitomized that idea in the automotive realm, and the new top-tier Turbo S models show the carmaker has every intention of remaining a traditionalist icon for a long time to come.

The 992-generation’s new Turbo models — the capital T is important, as every new 911 is turbocharged these days — take all the excellent characteristics of the newest version of the 911 Carrera and does to them what Nigel Tufnel did to his amplifiers. The twin-turbo 3.8-liter flat-six now pounds out 641 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, increases of 89 horses and 35 pound-feet over the previous version. As in the past car, that power goes to all four wheels exclusively through a dual-clutch gearbox, though the 992 Turbo S’s transmission has eight gears, not seven. Porsche quotes a 2.7-second 0-62 mph run, but given how conservative their estimates always are, we’d expect this new 911 to do the 0-60 dash in 2.4 or less. Find enough runway, and it’ll do 0-124 mph in 8.9 seconds.

It even looks comfortably familiar, in that way 911s do better than any car. From the front, it could be mistaken for a lesser Carrera S, or even the 997-generation 911 Turbo at a quick glance. The rear, however, is much more distinctive, combining the latest 911’s striking, tail-spanning LED taillamp with the two-piece retractable spoiler that’s been a hallmark of the Turbo since the 996 generation. The new model is slightly wider than the old 911 Turbo — 1.8 inches so at the front axle, 0.8 inches at the rear wheels — with a wider track to help deliver a broader stance.

Unlike past 911 Turbo S models, the new car boasts staggered-size wheels and tires; up front sit 20-inch rims clad in 255/35/R20 rubber, while the 21-inch rear wheels wear might 315/30/R21 tires. Porsche Active Suspension Management helps make the most of the car’s performance potential, along with faster-acting dampers to help it hold the road better at higher speeds. All of which is to say, the 992-gen 911 Turbo S should, somehow, be even better at covering ground quickly than its predecessor was.

It’s also generally a better place to do so, thanks to its comfortable interior. While the handful of 992-generation bugaboos — not being able to see the peripheral gauges well, and…well, that’s pretty much it — presumably remain, the rest is the usual blend of tradition and luxury found in the top-tier 911 Turbo. Sport seats that move in 18 different ways boast stitching that subtly evokes the original 911 Turbo of 1975, while a 10.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system evokes the latest Cayenne and Panamera. Also: there’s a real cupholder.

Porsche’s model reveal strategy is as consistent as the 911’s evolution-not-revolution development strategy, so expect regular 911 Turbo variants (i.e. non-S models) making around 592 hp to debut sometime in the next three or four months. If turbocharged 911s aren’t your thing, though, no worries: a naturally-aspirated 911 GT3 should also be along shortly.

And if you need more proof that Porsche intends to keep the 911 as a steady, unchanging icon, here’s a reassuring word: in an interview with Autocar, Porsche sports cars line director Frank-Steffen Walliser suggested a hybrid 911 won’t be along until around 2026, and a 911 EV won’t show up until roughly 2030.

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Will Sabel Courtney

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

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