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Porsche Index: 997 Turbo S

History and spec

The Gen2 997 Turbo was an exceptionally accomplished sports car, and we’ve sung its praises many times within these pages. Improving upon such a special recipe was a tall order for the engineers at Zuffenhausen, yet they did exactly that, creating an instant classic.

With just 2,000 made, production amounted to virtually half that of the regular 997.2 Turbo, and those few lucky buyers would have been very impressed with their new purchase.

There was still the same 3.8-litre motor beneath the engine cover, but it had been fettled to produce 530hp and 700Nm of torque – an increase of 30hp and 50Nm respectively. Most of that increase came from turning up the wick on the pair of variable-geometry turbochargers, maximum boost now raised from 1.0 bar to 1.2 bar.

Still directly injected and equipped with VarioCam Plus variable valve timing, the latter had been revised on the intake side and the air intake was fashioned from a carbon weave.

Drive was sent to all four wheels via the seven-speed PDK transmission – Sport Chrono Plus was standard, which meant the addition of launch control – and there was the usual blizzard of driver assistance acronyms in the form of PASM, PTM (Porsche Traction Management) and PTV (Porsche Torque Vectoring).

Despite all of the enticing technology, outright performance wasn’t markedly different from its non-S stablemate, mere fractions of a second shaved from the major benchmarks meaning just modest gains were on offer.

Not that it wasn’t explosively fast as it stood, 0-62mph reeled off in 3.3 seconds and 195mph beckoning if you had the space and nerve. So it had the pace, but reasonably there was a question – one asked in some contemporary road tests – over what buyers were really getting for their additional £17k.

Well, had the buyer ticked the box marked ‘S’ when it came to ordering their 997 Turbo they would have discovered it also came with PCCB brakes as standard, fronted by ‘RS Spyder’ centre-lock wheels. And on top of the already lavish Turbo specification their new purchase boasted the likes of adaptive Sports seats, a six-disc CD/DVD system and a choice of exclusive interior trim colours.

Whether all of that could be viewed as money well spent is open to question, but with the 991 all set to take centre stage this ultimate expression of the 997 Turbo would have been very hard to resist.

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991.2 GT3 v 991.1 GT3 RS: which is better for £150k?

The ever-changing nature of the Porsche marketplace often throws up some interesting conundrums for the 911 buyer. As values of separate models fluctuate, they often combine to bring about new scenarios for those in the market to consider: ‘What’s around for my £100,000?’ for example. Right now there are many different choices of 911s available at many different price points. As a case in point, for £40,000 you could choose anything
from a G-series classic, to a 996 Turbo, to a 997.2 Carrera S right now. The market’s constant evolution means different cars move in and out of the equation, whatever your budget. It’s what keeps things interesting, in many ways.

As another case in point, only five years ago we ran a head-to-head road test in this very magazine asking which was the better Turbo for your £60,000: 993 or 997.1? Today the 993 is worth at least double that, while a 997.1 can be had for £50,000.

Market circumstance has dictated the 991.2 GT3 and 991.1 GT3 RS have been trading hands for roughly the same money for a while now, so the question we’ve routinely found levied in our direction in the past year is thus: ‘Which is the better buy for my £150,000; a Gen2 991 GT3 or Gen1 991 GT3 RS?’

Really, there are multiple answers to the question, and it all comes down to what you’ll do with the car. We’ve therefore assessed both the 991.2 GT3 and 991.1 GT3 RS over three practical categories, investment potential, track day use, and on the road, which covers all possible ownership intentions.

For the full article on the 991.1 GT3 RS v 991.2 GT3, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 174 in shops now, or get the issue delivered direct to your door via here. You can also download our hi-res digital edition, featuring bonus galleries, to any Apple or Android device. 

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Porsche 992 Turbo breaks cover

Total 911’s spies have captured a 992 Turbo prototype in testing, showing for the first time its key visual cues over the rest of the incoming 992 range. Regular readers will note previous mules seen in public have been based on the current 991 car with tacked-on fenders, however this latest signing heralds a major development in pre-production of the car.

As you can see, the prototype in our pictures features a slightly different front end, with the rear end featuring a full-width light as seen on the rest of the 992 prototype range. The car sports even wider fenders, taking the car to nearly two meters in width for the first time, squared-off quad exhausts and, for the first time, a fixed rear wing. Side air-intakes feeding air to the intercoolers remain, though their shape has been disguised under a camouflage wrap deployed by Porsche. Power will once again come form a twin turbocharged flat six with an expected maximum power output of around 600hp.

The new-generation Porsche 992 Carrera is set to be formally revealed at the Paris motorshow in October, with its bigger Turbo brother due for launch in the first quarter of 2019.

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Porsche 911 Carrera T first drive verdict

When it was launched, the Carrera T’s spec sheet raised more than a few eyebrows among enthusiasts. Billed as a more focussed Carrera, it would perhaps fill the gap for those wanting a GT3 Touring-inspired enthusiasts car for a rather more conservative budget. Some 20 kilograms lighter than an equivalent 991.2 Carrera, the T – further reviving the Touring name used on the entry-level 911 of the ’60s and early ’70s – also boasts key chassis tweaks to entice wallets from the pockets of purists.

The car’s paring back includes thinner glass aft of the ‘B’ pillar (an idea taken from the GT2 RS), rear seat and PCM delete (speccing them back in is a no-cost option), plus a removal of some sound deadening. By way of chassis tweaks, the Carrera T comes with Sport suspension as standard, something you can’t spec on a 991.2 Carrera, plus a mechanical limited slip differential so long as you spec the manual gearbox.

Speaking of transmission, the diff’s final drive ratio has been shortened, though the gearbox itself still has seven gears – this isn’t the same unit as found in the GT Department’s 911 R or GT3 Touring. In terms of engine, the Carrera T utilises the same 370hp flat six as the entry-level 911, though a Sports exhaust comes as standard specification. Elsewhere, your main touch point to the car comes via a smaller-diameter GT Sports wheel, and you’ll sit in four-way electrically adjustable seats (therefore the lightest outside of a bucket) with Sport-Tex centers replacing the usual leather. On paper it seems the Carrera T has been built purely for serious driving in mind then, but is the reality any different?

First, the good news. The 911 Carrera T improves on what is already a fantastic entry-level 911 in the standard Carrera, offering a car with slightly more focus overall. The differences are mainly small but nevertheless evident, for example we felt the T is incrementally more sprightly accelerating out of corners than its entry-level stablemate. Likewise the gearbox, often a source of anguish for Total 911 since its inception (due to a clunky shift and vagueness in gear selections) offers a better throw, though it’s more to do with the sensations brought about by a stubbier shifter rather than any mechanical overhaul.

The Sports chassis, however, is excellent. It’s perfectly palatable over longer journeys (we should know, we drove the Carrera T back from Monaco to Porsche GB HQ in Reading) and offers plenty of poise and – that word again – focus through the undulating twists and turns of a mountain pass. It doesn’t entirely eliminate body roll in the corners either, which we very much like, the T’s ability to move around offering a far more engaging driving experience.

There’s a little more noise to enjoy from the 9A2 flat six thanks to the removal of some sound deadening, and the fatter, smaller-diameter 360mm GT Sport steering wheel, optional on the rest of the Carrera range, is the perfect ally for pointing the car through turns, further adding to the T’s sensory delight. All this means it’s an incredibly fun car to drive on a good road.

However, there are some areas of improvement that the Carrera T project has shunned, largely revolving around that seven-speed gearbox: its shift is still less than perfect, and a re-gear – implied at the car’s launch – hasn’t materialised. As such, due to the torquey nature of the turbocharged flat six, many mountain passes can be tackled solely in third gear, a ratio that’s also good for a top speed of 102mph. This is at odds with a car that has supposedly been built to appeal to a driving purist. We’d have liked to have seen the Carrera T utilise shorter gears.

Questions can also be raised over the level of weight-saving Porsche has subjected the Carrera T to. For one, that claimed 20kg weight saving is slightly more diminished in reality, as the quoted weight of the actual car we tested was only 5kg lighter than a Carrera. We know a company like Porsche, whose history is punctuated by proper lightweight specials, can do better.

Don’t get us wrong, at £85,576, the Carrera T is worth the £7,000 premium over a 991.2 Carrera, also representing better value for money than a 991.2 Carrera S at £87,335 plus options, but the reality is it won’t trouble anything above that in the current Porsche 911 range. The Carrera T is a fun car to drive, but it could be so much more.

Total 911 tips:

  • Do spec PCM, the car doesn’t save enough weight otherwise for its omission to matter
  • Don’t spec PDK or rear axle steering, they’re at odds with the true purpose of a Carrera T
 
Monaco to Reading in 48 hours: our epic road trip with the 991 Carrera T is in Total 911 issue 162, in shops January or available to order online via here
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Five Porsche 911s I want to drive in 2017 – Editor’s choice

As I mentioned last week, 2016 was a very good year for bringing you a very high calibre of Porsche 911s in Total 911 magazine. Under a mantra of ‘onwards and upwards’, I’ve picked out five more models I’m intent on personally covering for you loyal readers in 2017. In reverse order, they are:

5) Porsche 964 Turbo 3.6

For me, the later 930 Turbo with G50 gearbox is one of the most enjoyable classic 911s to pilot. The 964 3.3 after that was merely a cosmetic upgrade for Porsche’s Turbo, but the later 3.6-litre was a different beast entirely. It still lags behind the twin-turbocharged 993 in terms of values, but there’s a reason Porsche wanted a second crack at the whip of the 964 Turbo. I’m betting this is going to become an all-time great, and a test drive will show if my money has been well placed.

A location shot of a blue porsche moving at speed along a country road. Shot outside in natural light.

 

4) Porsche 991.2 GTS

To be revealed early in 2017, The new 911 GTS will utilise a rendition of the new, turbocharged 9A2 flat six engine currently used for the Carrera and Carrera S models. Whether or not the new GTS coincides with a long-awaited Powerkit for the 991’s second-generation remains to be seen, but what is guaranteed is a superb sportscar for those who don’t want (or can’t get!) a new 991 GT3. Speaking of which…

porsche-911-gts-9-copy

 

3) Porsche 991.2 GT3

The first generation’s story was as spectacular as its spec: revving all the way to 9,000rpm, the car also stole headlines for incidents involving the odd fire and a worldwide recall. I’ve no doubt the Gen2 car, which has already been confirmed as naturally aspirated, will be just as scintillating to drive, though its redline will likely be more in line with the 991 GT3 RS’s 8,600 maximum revs.

ip-next-gt3-overall-copy

 

2) Porsche 911 2.0 SWB

With all the 2017 talk surrounding new tech on new cars, a revisit to where it all began with the short wheelbase 911 2.0-litre will remind us of the 911’s more humble beginnings. Famed for its supposed snappy handling (a lengthening of the car’s wheelbase in 1968 helping to alleviate that), the early cars are rocketing in value as they become automotive antiques. We’ll get one on the road for you before they all disappear into collections.

steinhardt_sp141114_dsc0270-copy

 

1) Porsche 997 GT2 RS

2017 looks set to mark the return for a fearsome GT2 with the famous Rennsport moniker, but it was the 997 GT2 RS that started the legend. With 700Nm of torque going through the rear wheels only, this won’t just be the best drive of the year for me, it’ll likely be the most, well, interesting, too!

Horizontal, tracking shot of a black Porsche 997 GT2 RS being driven round a race track, taken from a front 3/4 angle. Shot outside in natural lighting.

 

Which Porsche 911s would you like to see in Total 911 this year? Comment below or email [email protected]

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