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Porsche 911 Turbo (2009) review

Published:13 October 2009

Porsche 911 Turbo (2009) review
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This is the facelifted Porsche 911 Turbo, and it incorporates most of the tweaks made to the regular 911 18 months ago, including the seven-speed PDK double-clutch gearbox. 

Are you sure this new Porsche 911 Turbo is new? It looks the same to me...

This is a 911 we’re talking about – styling tweaks are always going to be subtle. But if you look closely you might notice the wider front air intake, LED indicators, daytime running lights and tail lamps, low-drag door mirrors and larger tailpipes.

Here’s hoping bigger changes have been made under the skin of the 2009 911 Turbo!

They have. The flat six engine now has a one-piece crankcase, high-pressure direct fuel injection, a pair of variable geometry blowers, unequal length intake manifolds, larger intercoolers and a free-flow exhaust with two separate catalysts.

Power is up from 473bhp to 493bhp at 6000rpm, while torque climbs from 457lb ft to 479lb ft, with the latter delivered all the way from 1950-5000rpm. And if you spec the Sport Chrono pack, an overboost facility delivers a stonking 516lb ft for up to 10 seconds at a time.

So how does it go?

Rather well. Zero to 62mph times depend on the choice of gearbox and whether you’ve opted for the optional Sport Chrono pack, which brings launch control and the overboost function.

So the six-speed manual takes 3.7sec to sprint to 62mph, the PDK needs 3.6sec and the Sport Chrono pack chops a further two tenths from that. Put that in perspective: each and every one of those times is faster than the 959. And with all four wheels sharing the burden, you can use much of the performance even in bad weather, although probably not the 193mph top speed. Porsche also claims it’s 10sec quicker round the Nordschleife than last year’s 911 Turbo.

But it’s the mid-range kick that really shows what the Turbo is all about. The flat six is redlined at 7000rpm but you never need to use more than 5k to pass anything and it certainly doesn’t need as many as seven gears. The PDK 'box is great though, and made all the better by the new option of some proper paddles mounted behind the wheel instead of those awful rocker switches fitted to the first PDK Carreras.

>> Click 'Next' below to read more of our Porsche 911 Turbo first drive    

Porsche video

But isn’t the new 911 Turbo too lardy to be fun?

Actually, it’s been on a bit of a diet, shedding 50kg to bring the kerbweight down to 1570kg - it's 1595kg if you spec PDK, but that means it's still 25kg less than the old five-speed auto. On top of that, the software masterminding the 4WD system has been honed, the dampers retuned and there’s now an ability to decelerate the inner rear wheel upon turn-in for a more neutral handling behaviour.

It’s amazing how clever fine-tuning can improve a car’s overall performance. The outgoing 911 Turbo was a highly competent piece of kit, but compared to the follow-up model it showed a few rough edges at the limit, like the relatively abrupt transition from late understeer to even later oversteer, which has now all but disappeared.

By changing the spring and damper rates from taut and tough to supple and stable, the whole attitude to irritations like bumps, ridges, grooves, dips and ripples has become more forgiving.

Verdict

It wasn’t that long ago that the 911 Turbo was the ultimate roadgoing 911. But when cars like the GT2 and GT3 have become so civilised (relatively, in the case of the now-dead GT2), you might wonder if there’s still a point to the Turbo.

And at £101,823 it’s massively more expensive than either the GT3 or Carrera. But it’s a very different car, the big GT of the 911 family, a coupe with near GT2 performance, but one you can use every day.

The second-generation 997 Turbo is so well equipped, secure in all weathers thanks to four-wheel drive, you can see out of it, stick kids in the back and Porsche has even cut emissions by 18% to 272g/km. It might not be the sexiest 911 these days, but right now, it really is the greatest.

>> Click 'Add your comment' below and let us know what you think of the new Porsche 911 Turbo  

Specs

Price when new: £101,823
On sale in the UK: 21 November 2009
Engine: 3800cc 24v twin-turbo flat-six, 493bhp @ 6000rpm, 479lb ft @ 1950-5000rpm
Transmission: Four-wheel drive, seven-speed dual-clutch
Performance: 3.6sec 0-62mph, 193mph, 24.8mpg, 268g/km CO2
Weight / material: 1595kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4450/1852/1300

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  • Porsche 911 Turbo (2009) review
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  • Porsche 911 Turbo (2009) review
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