For almost two decades, Porsche has successfully raised the appeal of the 911 Turbo during the latter years of its life cycle with a heavily optioned S model. It's that time again.
The twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter engine of the regular Turbo model has been subtly tweaked to boost performance. Not by much, mind you, but enough to provide the Turbo S a small advantage in standing-start acceleration and added punch at the business end of the rev range.
The engine receives a nominal 1.0bar of boost (against a 0.8bar on the standard version) along with lightly modified turbocharger vanes and a carbon fiber air manifold to endo the S with 530hp and a continuous (not overboosted) 516lb-ft of torque. That's 30hp and 37lb-ft more than the Turbo.
The S also gains Porsche's excellent 7-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox, with paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, and a SportChrono package for more aggressive throttle, damper and stability control settings at the press of a button. Other developments include the latest 911 Turbo's four-wheel-drive hardware and PTV, or Porsche Torque Vectoring, which varies the drive to each individual wheel for more neutral cornering and spectacular traction.
Subjectively, there's little to separate the S from the already hugely appealing 911 Turbo. Apart from some added exhaust blare in the mid range and a slightly stronger feel to the engine from around 5000rpm upward, it feels much like its standard sibling: rapid, planted and eager to destroy whichever road you throw at it. However, the acceleration figures tell an interesting story.
Porsche quotes a 0-60mph time of 3.1sec, which makes it the fastest-accelerating 911. It will also pull to 100mph in 7.1sec – a gain of 0.3sec over a similarly equipped Turbo. At 196mph, it's 2mph faster overall.
The great thing about the new S is that, despite its phenomenal performance, it is also an easy car to drive in all conditions. As an everyday, all-season proposition, it has few peers.
The 911 Turbo S is a very special car, no doubt, but is it worth some $30,000 more than the standard version? Total up the extras and $159,100 (coupe version) begins to look like a bargain – a high-priced but enticing bargain.