by Sebastian Cenizo
When your entire brand is based on one core model and its abilities, perfection is an ever-fleeting goal and improvements must always be made to retain the loyalty of those who love the brand. In the case of BMW, that perfect benchmark model is the M3. With Porsche, it's the 911. For 2021, the latest and greatest offering from Stuttgart is the 911 Turbo, now in 992 guise. The 991.2 model was already dubbed the ultimate sports car, so has the exercise of changing things been of benefit, or has Porsche gone backward? With 640 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque from its 3.8-liter twin-turbo boxer-six, the new Porsche 911 Turbo S is certainly more powerful, and the 572-hp Turbo is hardly a sluggard, either. Thanks to other advances, it's somehow even more of a perfect super sports car against rivals like the Mercedes-AMG GT. Wanna know how much more perfect? Keep reading.
The entire model is completely redesigned for 2021, based on the latest 992-generation chassis. With the deletion of the overboost function, new active aerodynamic aids, new brakes, new variable turbine geometry on the turbos, and even a track app that lets you measure lap times, there's much to get excited about. These upgrades have contributed to, among other things, an improvement in acceleration times and a better handling machine overall.
Despite being an all-new model, the 992 911 Turbo is instantly recognizable as a Porsche product. Those rounded LED headlights are complemented by an LED light strip at the rear, while the profile shows off air intake vents in the rear fenders and a staggered wheel setup with 20s in front and 21-inch rims at the back. Behind those wheels, six-piston calipers reside up front (10-piston calipers on the Turbo S) with four-piston calipers at the back. A new front spoiler and large grilles distinguish the front and these grilles are dynamic to allow for more airflow or less drag, depending on the requirements of the vehicle. The rear features something similar, with an active rear spoiler enhancing downforce and also acting as an airbrake when necessary. Dual-exit exhaust tips on either side of the bumper (high gloss silver on the Turbo and high gloss black for the Turbo S), numerous vents, and a large diffuser finish off the look.
The new model's dimensions are a little bigger than the outgoing version, measuring 178.6 inches from nose to tail, where the old model was 177.4 inches long. Height increases from 51.1 inches to 51.3 while width swells from 74 inches to 74.9 with the mirrors folded. The wheelbase remains the same at 96.5 inches but curb weight increases from 3,528 lbs to 3,636 for the Turbo S, whereas the Turbo weighs just a single pound less.
A wide range of choices is available for 2021's 911 Turbo. Standard colors include White, Black, Guards Red, and the stunning Racing Yellow. Metallic finishes are available too, also at no charge. Among these are colors like Carrara White, Jet Black, Agate Grey, Dolomite Silver, and GT Silver. One of our favorites for living out the Bad Boys fantasy is Gentian Blue, but Night Blue and Aventurine Green are available too. Special colors will cost you extra, with Carmine Red, Chalk, Lava Orange, and Python Green each adding $3,270 to the price. As usual, you can order a custom color if none of these suit you, but be prepared to pay at least $12,830 for this. As standard, the brake calipers are finished in red on the Turbo and yellow on the Turbo S, but a gloss black finish is available too, for the sum of $900 on the Turbo S. To get high gloss calipers on the Turbo, you'll need to spend over $10,000 for the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCS).
The 911 Turbo is a technological tour de force, employing the latest and greatest advances from Porsche. Along with an increase in power and improved acceleration, the 911 somehow now handles even better than the last generation. Fortunately, some things have remained, like a rear-mounted 3.8-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder boxer engine. In the 911 Turbo, outputs are 572 hp and 553 lb-ft, but in the 911 Turbo S, the engine produces 640 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, increases of 60 hp and 37 lb-ft over the previous model's maximum output with its overboost function engaged. This allows the Turbo S to accelerate from 0-60 mph two-tenths of a second quicker than the outgoing version, now managing the sprint in just 2.6 seconds. If past 911s are anything to go by, that figure is likely a conservative estimate. The non-S isn't far behind at all, getting to 60 in 2.7 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package. Top speed is similarly impressive, with the limiter coming into play at 199 mph for the Turbo and 205 mph for the Turbo S. What makes the 911 such a brilliant driver's car, as those who have been behind the wheel can attest, is the way it handles and how it feels, and these areas have been enhanced too, with the all-wheel-drive system offering unheard of grip levels and astonishing stability.
Porsche's familiar recipe of a rear-engined layout that houses a boxer motor is fortunately still the default. A 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged boxer-six hangs out over the rear axle, with a brilliant new eight-speed dual-clutch PDK handling shifts. In the standard 911 Turbo, this produces 572 hp and an almost-matching 553 lb-ft, while the addition of an S to the badge increases outputs to a monumental 640 hp with 590 lb-ft of twist available.
Turbocharging is an art and Porsche has become something of a Michelangelo. The new 911 Turbo exhibits no turbo lag - just an instant reaction to throttle inputs. Since the overboost function of the old model has been dispensed with, overtaking is now even easier than before and you can use all the power all the time. Whether it be from the line or on the freeway, the power is always there and always easy to manage. This thing pulls hard throughout the rev range and doesn't feel boosted - although you can now hear the wastegates chattering when you lift off the throttle. The old PDK transmission wasn't a gearbox that we would consider poor in any way, yet somehow the engineers at Porsche have refined it even further, and this eight-speed is even quicker to shift between gears yet manages to remain smooth and silky at low speed. In Sport+, it will change up at the limiter, but a button marked "M" allows you to change up only when you choose, and the responses from the paddles are just as gloriously sharp.
Grip, grip, grip. The 2021 911 Turbo is not in any way short of traction, with massive rear tires handling the bulk of the engine's output with ease. The all-wheel-drive system is so good that you can enter corners far faster than in a non-Turbo (albeit turbocharged) 911 without even worrying about understeer. It's almost too good, allowing you to push harder, brake later, and accelerate sooner than seems rational. Ultimately, you're likely to run out of talent before this 911 does. The steering is joyous to experience too, with sharp turn-in, incredible accuracy, and sumptuous feel that is practically unmatched. In an age of lifeless cars, the 911 Turbo still manages to include you in the experience, providing feedback in buckets. In addition, a standard rear-axle steering system allows you to turn even tighter, while high-speed manoeuvers offer increased stability too. Despite this incredible attention to detail in terms of handling ability, the 911 Turbo S is placid and accommodating in town, with the ceramic composite brakes offering plenty of feel and a longer distance of pedal travel that makes it easier to judge when ABS will kick in, while also allowing for smooth stops every time. In addition, the available lightweight noise-insulating glass keeps road and tire presence in your subconscious only. Furthermore, a new Wet drive mode allows you to drive in total safety when the heavens open up. This really is the complete package.
Thus far, the EPA has yet to release fuel economy estimates for 2021's Porsche 911 Turbo, so we can't yet comment on how long the 17.6-gallon gas tank will last in mixed driving scenarios. However, 2019's Turbo and Turbo S both returned mileage figures of 19/24/21 mpg on the EPA's city/highway/combined cycles. Whether the new model is more is less fuel-efficient remains to be seen.
The interior of the 911 is typically brilliantly built, with a stunning yet ergonomic design that features four seats. As usual, the rear seats are barely big enough for children, but they do double as additional storage. Ahead of the steering wheel is a central tachometer that is flanked on either side by a pair of configurable seven-inch TFT screens, while the dash boasts an analog chronograph/digital stopwatch with the included Sport Chrono package. Below that is a stunning 10.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Heated seats are standard for the front and the Turbo S has adaptive front seats with increased adjustment; these offer remarkable support and comfort in equal measure. Everything is in its right place, and a number of buttons and switches help you feel more connected to the car. We love this, especially when newer cars are chucking analog touchpoints in favor of touch-responsive screens and panels instead.
911s are not known as people carriers and that hasn't changed for 2021's model. It's still a 2+2, but the rear seats remain small enough to give toddlers anxiety and claustrophobia. The front seats, however, are a different story entirely, with each front occupant getting 14-way power-adjustable and heated front sport seats in the Turbo and 18-way power-adjustable adaptive sport seats in the Turbo S. These seats are perfect for spirited driving and long cruises alike. When you chuck the Turbo S into a corner the bolsters react and hold you in place automatically. It works brilliantly, but those of a particularly large frame may prefer to opt for regular seats instead. Visibility all-round is good, however, and even taller individuals will be comfortable and feel at ease. Naturally, some stooping is required on the way in and out, but the large doors help make this relatively simple.
Leather upholstery is standard in the 911 Turbo, and you can choose from Black, Slate Grey, Graphite Blue, or Bordeaux Red as your no-cost options. Two-tone finishes with Chalk stitching are also available at no charge and include Black/Iceland Green or Black/Mojave Beige, although the latter two options are an additional $430 on the Turbo. Sport-Tex seat centers are also available, but you can spend extra on Club leather in Truffle Brown or Agave Green, with these adding $1,090 to the bill for the Turbo S and $1,520 for the Turbo. An Exclusive Manufaktur leather interior is also available with quilted leather for $10,680 but requires the addition of ventilated front seats for an additional fee. As standard, the interior trim comes with Dark Silver Diamer inlays on the Turbo and carbon fiber inlays on the Turbo S, but various wood and aluminum options are available too, and you can extend the impact of the carbon fiber if you desire.
The 911 Turbo is relatively practical, with a 4.5 cubic-foot storage compartment in the front of the car allowing you to do your weekly essential shop, but the rear seats can fold too, opening up an area of 9.3 cubic feet when you choose to travel.
In the cabin, you get a central cupholder and armrest storage as well as a decent glovebox and reasonably sized door pockets. While storage could be better, the focus in a car like this is on performance and feel, and we're happy to sacrifice some practicality in exchange for such a focused and pretty interior.
The 911 Turbo has been significantly updated and features a number of impressive specs, among which is a rear-axle steering system. It also features the Sport Chrono package with its variable drive modes and launch control as standard, as well as hill start assist, dynamic engine mounts, adaptive LED Matrix headlights, dual-zone climate control, 14-way heated and power-adjustable front sport seats (18-way adaptive sport seats for the Turbo S), parking sensors, a rearview camera, keyless entry and ignition, cruise control, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, and a pair of seven-inch configurable TFT driver info displays. You also get forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking as standard. Options include a sunroof (glass or metal), a full carbon fiber roof, a nose-lifting system, a surround-view camera, a night vision camera, blind-spot monitoring, lane keep assist with traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, ambient lighting, ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel.
The infotainment system in 2021's 911 Turbo is Porsche's latest system, with a 10.9-inch touchscreen display. The system offers compatibility for Apple CarPlay, navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio, voice control, a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, and an SD card. Two USB ports are included too, and the standard sound system is from Bose. It features 12 speakers but can be upgraded for a Burmester 13-speaker surround sound setup if you're willing to spend a little extra. The system offers attractive graphics, crisp images, and simple menus, making it a good companion for such an advanced vehicle.
Thus far, the 2021 911 Turbo is too new to have any recalls issued, but past recent models were free of recalls during their time on the market, a good indication of its reliability.
Each new 911 Turbo comes with one year/10,000 miles of complimentary scheduled maintenance, along with a limited/powertrain warranty for the first four years or 50,000 miles - whichever comes first.
The Porsche 911 Turbo has not been subject to review for its crashworthiness by any major US-based vehicle safety ratings agency, but with numerous standard and optional safety features, it would likely perform well.
As standard, the 911 Turbo S comes with parking sensors at the front and at the rear, along with a rearview camera. You also get hill start assist, adaptive LED Matrix headlights, a Wet mode for safer driving in slippery conditions, rain-sensing windshield wipers, as well as frontal, side-impact, and curtain airbags. Optionally available are features like blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, a night vision camera, a surround-view camera, and a traffic sign recognition system.
The existing 911 offerings and past Turbo and Turbo S iterations have been so good that we have failed to find fault with the way they drive, ride, and perform. Yet somehow, the gurus at Porsche have indeed improved on perfection. The new 911 is astonishingly fast yet a novice can drive it with confidence. By the same token, the experienced racer can push his or her own limits without exhausting the coupe's capabilities, making this the kind of car that can be enjoyed by the casual enthusiast as much as the hardcore competitor. Despite such brilliance on the track and in tight corners, as well as an incredible quarter-mile time of just 10.5 seconds for the Turbo S, the 911 Turbo is comfortable and civilized in daily driving. It offers plenty of creature comforts and is just as relaxing to cruise in as it is jaw-droppingly brilliant to attack corners with. Supercar performance along with outstanding luxury makes the new 911 Turbo one of the best cars on the market. This is truly the pinnacle of performance, begging the question: can the 911 possibly get any better? Knowing the commitment to excellence shared by all at Porsche, the answer is probably yes.
The base model 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo starts at an MSRP of $170,800, a significant $32,700 less than the Turbo S, which has a base price of $203,500 before a $1,350 delivery, processing and handling fee. Prices for the Porsche 911 Turbo S can quickly exceed $270,000 if you're looking to get it fully loaded.
Only two trims are offered: the 911 Turbo and the more powerful 911 Turbo S.
The 911 Turbo's 3.8-liter twin-turbo flat-six engine produces 572 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque and combines with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission to blitz to 60 mph in just 2.7 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package. It comes as standard with LED headlights, 19-/20-inch staggered alloy wheels, a deployable rear spoiler, front/rear parking sensors, a steering-mounted drive mode selector, and a 10.9-inch touchscreen infotainment display.
Moving up to the Turbo S increases outputs to 640 hp and 590 lb-ft, dropping the 0-60 mph time to 2.6 seconds and increasing the top speed to 205 mph. The Turbo S also has LED-Matrix design headlights and Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB). Inside, it gains 18-way adaptive sport seats. Options are expensive and include things like a full carbon fiber roof, a nose-lifting system, and an upgraded Burmester sound system.
The 911 Turbo may be capable and brilliant, but there's always room for improvement. To that end, Porsche aims to further line their pockets with some pricey options. Among these is a sport exhaust system that costs $3,920 if you opt for the Exclusive Design tips. A nose-lifting system that helps the Turbo S get over speedbumps is also available, with this adding $2,770 to the price. A glass sunroof costs $2,000 while adaptive cruise control is also a two-grand option. Adding ventilation to the front seats costs $840, while the upgraded sound system from Burmester costs $3,980. While the Turbo S has Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) as standard, this upgrade will add at least $9,650 to the Porsche Turbo's price.
The 911 Turbo in any configuration is an excellent machine with impeccable driving manners and visceral performance ability in equal measure. Thus, we wouldn't change too much. However, a heated steering wheel wouldn't go amiss for those colder days and ventilated front seats would be likewise appreciated when the mercury rises. We would also consider adding lane change assist to help with blind spots and the adaptive cruise control system for carefree cruises. Finally, a sports exhaust system on a car like this is all but obligatory. It's up to you to decide whether the marginal increase in performance is worth the $32,700 premium for the Turbo S, but considering that the Turbo already costs over $170,000, we'd recommend going for the full-fat version anyway.
With a base price in excess of $200,000, the Porsche 911 Turbo S will be playing in the big leagues when it arrives in the USA. A member of such a league is the McLaren 570S, a car that is more of a super sports car than an outright supercar. It, too, is powered by a 3.8-liter twin-turbo engine, albeit a V8. In the Mac, outputs are rated at 562 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. However, the McLaren is rear-wheel-drive and has a top speed that is just 1 mph behind that of the 911's maximum. In the acceleration stakes, the Mac is a little slower, but most people will opt for the British sports car because of its more flamboyant exterior styling and impractical yet attention-grabbing dihedral doors. However, as good as the McLaren is, the 911 Turbo is quicker, faster, and arguably better competition on track. It's also better equipped in comparison and offers a modicum of practicality. In this case, we'd opt for the Porker all day.
The 911 Turbo and Turbo S are pretty expensive, so perhaps it's worth considering a less pricey all-wheel-drive Porker. The Carrera 4S comes with a smaller 3.0-liter twin-turbo flat-six that produces 443 hp and 390 lb-ft. An eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic is in play here too (although a manual transmission is available), and thanks to less mechanical mayhem under the skin, the 4S weighs less, at 3,487 lbs. Much like the Turbo, turbo lag in the 4S is all but nonexistent. However, as blisteringly quick as the 4S is, its limits can be found if you're willing to exercise maximum commitment. In the Turbo and Turbo S, only suicidal tendencies will bring you to the edge of the car's ability. For sheer drama and thrill, the Porsche 911 Turbo has supercar-beating outputs and abilities, and is the one to get - it's worth every penny. There's nothing wrong with the 4S; the Turbo is just better - at everything.
Check out some informative Porsche 911 Turbo video reviews below.