It will hit 60mph in 3 seconds and do almost 200mph, but can it really be civilised enough to use every day? We test the latest Porsche 911 Turbo
- 911 Turbo costs £126,925 - £50,500 more than the cheapest 911 Carrera
- Twin-turbo 3.8-litre six-cylinder engine produces 532bhp
- Car has a top speed of 198mph and can reach 62mph in 3 seconds
- Can it really be used as a daily driver? We spent a week with it to find out
In years gone by the 911 Turbo was the epitome of performance in the Porsche ranks. Fast, hardcore, lairy - it was the pinnacle of sports-car ownership when it first arrived in 1975.
But times have changed and the Turbo has been superceded. It's not that it's taken a backwards step in potency or outlandishness, rather it's stood still while more focussed 911s enter into a horsepower arms race with rivals.
But while those special 911 editions quench the race-ready thirst of buyers looking to live at the extreme, the Turbo has aged gracefully into a car now seen as superfast but civilised - think of it as the middle-ground between trackday hoonery and high-mileage treks for business meetings.
We spent a week with one to discover if the latest 2016 Porsche 911 Turbo could really cut it as a daily driver.
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Pick of the Porsches: The standard 911 Turbo is one model that's often unfairly overlooked - we think it's the best one you can buy
What you need to know about the latest 911 Turbo
When the original 911 Turbo arrived on the scene some 40 years ago it was borderline rabid.
It came with a broadened body, ballistic spoiler and a penchant for getting out of shape at the prod of the throttle. It was a feared yet adored addition to Porsche's résumé. And while 265bhp doesn't sound much by today's standards (it's about the same as an Audi S3 or VW Golf R hot hatch), that amount of power in a road car in the 1970s seemed sectionable.
That reputation was only enhanced by the fact that with the engine sat over the back of a lightweight rear-wheel drive car - handling could be lively to say the least.
Fast forward four decades and some of those original characteristics remain today. The staunch body and protruding spoiler continue to tell it apart from the standard Carrera models.
And, on paper, it carries all the ferocity of the original, too. With a 3.8-litre flat-six engine - located in the rear, of course - whipped into chorus by twin turbochargers to produce 532hp, it's enough to move from 0 to 62mph in three seconds dead.
But the reality is today's 911 Turbo is very much a different animal to what it once was.
For instance, that bounty of power being fed to the wheels from the blown motor is far less savage than before. All Turbo and Turbo S models are all-wheel drive and deliver over 500 horses of thrust via a seven-speed PDK automatic transmission - a sensible combination to keep as many out of ditches as possible.
It's also a little too civilised to be in the 'racer with a registration plate' category in the current market. There are no signs of weight-saving or roll-cage rigidity measures like the track-tuned 911 GT3 RS. Instead, the cabin is lavish - trimmed with the finest materials - and well-equipped.
In fact, it has enough infotainment tech to embarrass most family MPVs and is a very comfortable place to spend a long journey.
The Turbo model is unmistakable with an extending rear wing and wider body than the standard Carrera versions
We even managed to make a friend during our test, showcasing just how much bigger today's 911 is than generations that preceded it
The 20-inch Sport Classic wheels aren't standard. In fact, they're a £595 option with an extra charge of £930 if you want them in black like these ones
Could it really be used as a daily driver?
At low speeds the 911 Turbo is far more usable than you might imagine.
Don't let the bravado of our test car's 20-inch Sport Classic wheels dupe you into thinking it has a ride quality a chiropractor would curse. It's nicely damped on cratered tarmac and soaks up some impacts that would jar your hip in the direction of your shoulder in other sports cars.
Much of this is down to Porsche's endeavours to detune the track focus of its more potent sibling, the Turbo S.
The standard Turbo copes well when faced with a day-to-day obstacle course of potholes and speed bumps thanks to a more compromised suspension set-up than the one elevating the S, which is laden with more performance-enhancing additions - like Porsche Active Suspension Management and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control - than a Russian Olympic athlete.
The Turbo can be swapped between comfortable everyday driver and rowdy sportscar with a rotary drive-mode switch located on the steering wheel.
Make a quick toggle round from the loutish Sport Plus setting to Normal mode and the 911 Turbo masquerades as a friendly gent.
The throttle response becomes smoother, the exhaust wail is strangled and the steering is electronically calibrated to its lightest setting.
A smaller steering wheel replacement over the previous generation Turbo and Turbo S also helps you pass the leather through your hands more easily when performing those awkwardly tight town manoeuvres.
Leave it in the tamest of settings and the Turbo is a refined and comfortable motorway cruiser. The only real let down is the endless tyre rumble from the superwide rear rubber. Oh, and the clarification from the trip readout that you're nowhere near achieving the 31mpg fuel economy the brochure promised you.
The seats fitted to our test car were the standard Sport versions. Incredibly comfortable, they are hugely adjustable to suit all shapes and sizes
As you can see, there's not much leg room for rear passengers, though the backrests do fold flat to provide extra luggage space
The front boot compartment holds up to 115 litres, which amounts to one very big rucksack and a squashed-up coat
The interior of the Turbo marks it out from track-style rivals too. When you're doing significantly shorter journeys - like nipping to the local shop - there's no faffing around with bucket seats and race harnesses each time you get in and out.
Instead, the Turbo has well contoured sport seats in the front that are suitable for all sizes and have 14-way power adjustment so you can finely customise your optimum driving position. And there's a conventional seatbelt (be in bright yellow optional ones in our test model).
Okay, the seats in the back are almost non-existent - they're only adequate for small children and professional contortionists - but they at least double as additional luggage space to supplement the 115 litre front boot (two rucksacks is just about all the 911 Turbo front storage compartment can handle).
The two rear backrests fold flat, too, if you want to maximise your loading capacity after dropping the kids off at nursery.
Completing the everyday friendly features is the touchscreen infotainment system, easily the most intuitive and slickest one yet in a Porsche. Instead of endless sub-menus that feel more like a treasure hunt than a selection process, you can choose your favourite radio station or plumb an address into the sat-nav in just a few prods of the fascia.
Racing Yellow paint is a no-cost colour, though it does mean you get plenty of unwanted attention wherever you go
Far from being a stripped-out track car, the 911 Turbo is wonderfully plush and well trimmed
It's no SUV, but the suspension configuration in the 911 Turbo is more comfortable than you might have imagined
Less of the practicalities - what about the fun stuff?
Of course, being a performance Porsche with a £127,000 price tag, The Turbo is no slouch. But it's also not frightfully unhinged like some of its ancestors.
The spec sheet might fill you with gulp-inducing fear, but the 532bhp and 524lb ft figures boasted by the boosted 911 is surprisingly manageable.
Much of this is thanks to the brilliantly fettled chassis, which, when combined with a more forgiving suspension set-up than that in the Turbo S, makes any loss of traction at the rear predictable and, more importantly, controllable.
Even with the driving mode dialled into Sport Plus and the driving aids switched into their most lenient settings, the four-wheel drive system keeps the car firmly planted.
If the stability control interjected during our week-long test it certainly didn't register.
Though that may be because we were too distracted by what the front wheels were doing. The nose of the Turbo feels much pointier than the standard Carrera models. It's not as pin-sharp as a Cayman, but for a car that's clearly been skipping Weight Watcher meetings in recent years it's eager to pitch the front end into a fast bend and challenge the rear tyres to hold on at the same rate.
The electric power steering (new for the current 991 generation of 911s to replace the hydraulic system) is improved but still doesn't thoroughly communicate grip to your palms like it always did before, which does blinker the handling brilliance.
The 'Turbo' name is synonymous with Porsche, as is this twin-fan layout
The rear wing can be extended at the push of a button to increase downforce
Unsung hero of the 911 range: Many people will overlook it and head for the Turbo S, though the standard Turbo is arguably the better road car
The Cars & motoring verdict
More so than ever, the Porsche 911 can be deemed a viable daily driver. Porsche has accommodated the idea by expanding the dimensions and making the fleet of Carrera models in particular more user-friendly than they have ever been before.
But the Turbo isn't quite the same animal as the entry-level models on paper. The ferocious power output, the wider track and the sportier suspension might make it seem less appealing to live with day-to-day, but that couldn't be further from the truth.
In fact, we'd go as far as saying it's the best all-round 911 you can buy today. More focussed and less wallowy than a Carrera but with higher comfort levels than a Turbo S, it has a wonderful balance between street racer and school runner.
We'd even go out on a limb and say it's our favourite of all mass-production Porsches (not including the 911R or Porsche Cayman GT4) at the moment. However, we don't think it will appeal (and sell) to as many people as it should.
And the reason for that is simple - the Turbo S. At the end of the day, if you're willing to part with £126,925 for a Turbo, the stretch to £145,733 might actually look like a pinky extension. And why wouldn't you go for the high performance version if you could afford it?
Unfortunately, it means many buyers could be missing out this unsung hero of the ever-growing 911 range.
Winging it: Want the latest 911 Turbo? You'll have to part with almost £130,000
ON TEST FACTS & FIGURES: PORSCHE 911 TURBO
On sale: Now
Price (standard): £129,925
Test car with options: £136,040
Options include: LED main headlights and Porsche DynamicLight System Plus (£644), Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (£6,248), 20-inch Sport Classic wheels (£595), Wheels painted in black (£930), Light design package (£300), Isofix child seat mounting points on front passenger seat (£122), Racing Yellow seat belts (£275).
Engine: 6 cylinder, 3,800cc, twin-turbocharged petrol
Power: 532hp at 6400rpm
Torque: 524lb ft at 1950-5000rpm
Transmission: 7-spd dual-clutch auto
Kerb weight: 1595kg
0-62mph: 3.0 seconds
Top speed: 198mph
Fuel economy: 31.0mpg (combined)
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