The Porsche 911’s fusion of old and new is unmatched; the rear-engine layout has hardly changed since the car was introduced in 1963, but the latest turbocharged 911 can rightly claim to be the most compelling and technically accomplished in its class, putting normally-aspirated engines into retirement.
So what’s with the turbos? It’s all in the name of enhanced efficiency; emissions has been the cause for all car manufacturers to go environment friendly and Porsche’s call to the internal combustion engine has gone to another level of fun without the guilt. In simple terms – cheap form of kinetic energy. We saw them first on the higher-end 911s from the early 930, to the last air-cooled 993 to the first water-cooled exotic 959, 996, 997, and now 991.2. It’s been evolved and restyled, tuned and tweaked, over more than half a century – ongoing improvements are a key part of this iconic sports car. That’s what kept it relevant and alive. So it’s no surprise that Zuffenhausen has already released a mild facelift on the 991, both the basic 991.2 Carrera and Carrera S get two turbochargers. Turbos are not just for 911 turbos anymore.
Both base Carrera and Carrera S 911s are powered by 3.0-liter six-cylinder traditional boxer engines tuned to develop 365 brake horsepower (370 horsepower) or 414 bhp (419 hp), smaller in displacement than last year’s outmoded naturally-aspirated engines. The Carrera S has a little something special up its sleeve; pay a bit more and you get more boost of 16.0 pounds per square inch up for 420hp to the Carrera’s 13.1 psi, and the tach needle swings quicker as you pass 3,000 rpm. The Sport Chrono package adding Porsche’s plush interior includes a standard flashy dash-mounted stopwatch. You get active engine mounts that tighten to minimize the effect of a boisterous engine as well as a mode-selector dial on the steering wheel. This selects the condition where you and machine acts as one: Normal; Sport; and my favorite Sport Plus.
The Sport and Sport Plus shares the same stiffer electronically adjustable shocks, sports a louder exhaust note, manual-tranny versions gain automatic rev matching on downshifts – so I was told. PDK-equipped switches to a more hard-core program that automatically downshifts upon hard braking and holds gears longer. Then there’s the launch-control system for added performance. The Sport plus adds aggressive camshaft timing that alters its lobes to have a more reactive response when coming out of those apexes, thus avoiding turbo lag. Lastly, the Plus, especially on the PDK, gets a small black button in the middle of the mode dial called the Sport Response button – depress it and the power train and chassis go into exhilarating mode for 20 seconds of the most maximum acceleration.
No sports car in history can match the continuity of excellence delivered by the Porsche 911. Over the past half century, the rear boxer-engine, spot-on interior has evolved into one of the most complete, thrilling and rewarding sports cars you can buy. The latest Porsche 991 model, launched in 2011, is faster and more capable than ever. And putting a turbo in a regular Carrera and Carrera S will create chaos among naturally-aspirated car fans. Porsche purist will chant “Turbos are for Turbos,” confusion will follow, pandemonium will reign.