Porsche 911 Turbo S still defines the spirit of the company

What remains to be said about the Porsche 911? The evergreen sports car has survived an evolution that has taken it almost 60 years and eight generations, giving Ferry Porsche’s original icon of sporting simplicity a breadth of capability and variety unthinkable in the early 1960s.

Porsche 911 Turbos from 1972 in a row on the race track

The full range of 911 Turbos from 1972 (from left to right)

(Image credit: Porsche)

The modern 911 and its many, many derivatives can rally, climb mountains, churn out hypercars worth a million pounds, win global racing championships and act as a practical everyday car that can even serve a smaller family in a pinch (except perhaps in more lavish Targa version).

Porsche 911 Dakar

The Porsche 911 Dakar Edition

(Image credit: Porsche)

As Porsche’s electrification strategy progresses, the current generation of the 911 (known internally as the 992) will likely be the last available exclusively with an internal combustion engine. This is both a blessing and a curse. The former because Porsche’s engineers are second to none and have already proven they can build a world’s best sporty electric vehicle (the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo).

Close-up of the front wheel of the Porsche 911 Turbo S

(Image credit: Porsche)

It’s a curse because so much of the 911’s character is tied into the development of its engine, from the air-cooled flat-six engines of the original to breakthrough developments in turbocharging, a racing-derived system that captures the waste energy of exhaust gases uses to spin a turbine, which draws more air into the engine, increasing the rate of combustion and therefore power output.

Porsche 911 Turbo S from behind

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This is the top of the “production” range of current 911s, the 911 Turbo S. The first turbocharged 911 appeared in 1972 and quickly exposed the flaws in the 911’s unconventional layout. Stuffing an engine over the rear axle while still finding room for rear seats under a curving coupe shape was a devil of a packaging trick. It was also fundamentally unbalanced, and as the 911s got heavier and faster they gained a fearsome reputation as a car that could quickly become unstable in inexperienced hands.

Side view of the Porsche 911 Turbo S

(Image credit: Porsche)

As the lore and physics of turbocharging will soon go down in history, it is unthinkable for a modern automaker to bring a fundamentally unstable machine to market. Today’s 911 Turbo features all-wheel drive and modern traction control systems, excellent balance and unimaginably better aerodynamics than its ancestors. The 911 no longer has handling demons, but the fact is that the car has always been, and always has been, a compromise that has pushed the limits of what is possible.

Porsche 911 Turbo S rear detail

(Image credit: Porsche)

The evolutionary process has also mostly spared the original form of Ferry Porsche. A 911 has one of the strongest and most recognizable silhouettes of any production car, regardless of generation, and the 992 continues that graceful aging process. Every 911 is a pleasure to drive, thanks to its combination of ergonomic back-to-basics and direct, responsive steering. Porsche set the original gold standard for an everyday sports car, and the modern 911 shows no signs of relinquishing that role.

Porsche 911 Turbo S red interior

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In Turbo S guise you get more brutality. A 2.7-second sprint to 100 km/h and a top speed of 205 km/h are still impressive, even in the age of hypercars and lightning-fast electric vehicles. Even the fuel economy remains palatable, certainly compared to the latest examples of V8 and V12 engines you’ll find among its competitors.

However, it is no exaggeration to say that this type of performance is largely redundant in the modern world. If you are seduced by the shape and the basic package, the most basic 911 will certainly do. If you have the means and space to explore the frontiers – such as B. a race track – then special variants such as the 911 GT3 and the GT3 remove the luxury and concentrate on the lap times.

Porsche 911 Turbo S from above

(Image credit: Porsche)

Where’s the turbo? As an eternal icon for sure, no matter what the future brings. The next 911 will involve some level of hybridization, a move that risks adding even more complexity, albeit a little flawed in conception, to what was once considered the most puristic and honest of all sports car forms. A challenge that Porsche is certainly happy to take on.

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