“So, whaddaya think?” Jonny Lieberman asked with his arms folded, head tilted back and to the left, as Jonny does. He had just driven the 992-generation 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S to our photo location on L.A. ‘s favorite twisty bit, Angeles Crest Highway. He lives a few miles from the base of the hill, so he knows this stretch of road by heart.
“Unreal! How did they do that? It’s a blend of what the 991.2 Turbo S was and a GT3 RS,” I said. “It’s sharp, delicate, precise, talkative, but bloody fast, too. I wasn’t expecting this at all. This is a driver’s car.”
“Yeah,” Jonny said. “This car is definitely headed to MotorTrend’s 2020 Best Driver’s Car.”
What was I expecting? I had just blasted up ACH and arrived at that turnout in a 992 Carrera 4S, grinning and giggling the whole way up. That version of the 911 has a fluidity and sense of it always being there for you. A lovely driving partner, cornering as fast as you dare, and able to build and shed speed with confidence. The C4S and Turbo S both come armed with carbon-ceramic brakes, rear-steering axles (optional on the Carrera), and all-wheel drive, but that’s where the similarities end.
Climbing into the Turbo S, I was expecting that same C4S hand-in-glove experience. But with 200 more horsepower (197, if you want to get technical about it), the Turbo provides an added urgency that simply erases straightaways. But there’s so much more to a Turbo S than mere squirt-between-corners acceleration. It’s as if during its development, the Turbo spent time with the team in Flacht before being released into the wild.
Flacht, for those who don’t know, is the state-of-the-art motorsport complex adjacent to the main Porsche development center in Weissach, Germany. It’s where every Porsche race car is born, and also where the hardcore, lightweight, track-intended versions of the 911, the GT2 RS and GT3 RS, are born.
My instincts turned out to be correct. Frank-Steffen Walliser, who was responsible for GT racing at Porsche, became head of the 911 and 718 model lines in 2019. In an interview, Walliser explained the balancing act and ultimate priority of the 911 Turbo: “Day-to-day usability, for sure. This quality distinguishes the 911 Turbo from all other high-performance sports cars. At the same time—and this was the second development goal—it has to render you speechless from time to time.”
Mission accomplished, Herr Doktor Walliser.
Sitting behind the wheel of the all-new 911 Turbo S, there’s no way to suspect what potentialities lay ahead. Aside from the animated “Turbo S” greeting in the center ring of the familiar five-ring instrument cluster (two of which are obscured, in a rare Porsche gaffe), it’s “just” a 911.
There’s the same Sport/Chrono clock/timer atop the dash, same sharp and responsive touchscreen interface with its handy thumb perch (carbon fiber, in this case), same silly little stub of a shifter.
Twist the starter, located to the left of the steering wheel #Because911, and vroOOmmm. “Well, that does sound pretty purposeful,” I thought—especially through the newly optional sport exhaust system ($3,490). After selecting Sport Plus and pulling back on the shifter (that always feels to me like dislocating somebody’s thumb), I looked both ways, eased onto the highway ahead, and nailed it.
For more on this story, click here: https://www.motortrend.com/news/2021-porsche-911-turbo-s-first-drive/
By: Chris Walton, April 7, 2020