HALF a century of building a sports car, especially an iconic one, ensures that there is a great deal of expertise and attention to detail to ensure it remains relevant.
2013 marks 50 years since the Porsche 911 was first showcased at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1963. In 1974, the prototype variant of the Turbo model broke cover at the Paris Motor Show and, as the saying goes, the rest is history.
Since then the model has been considered something of an all-rounder with accessible performance coupled to everyday usability.
The history of the Turbo began in 1975 with the first generation model that was powered by a 190kW 3.0l turbo-charged engine, which displayed respectable performance figures in those days in anyone’s books.
It was not until 1990 when the 964 model took over the performance baton, which also saw the introduction of the 3.3l engine that hiked power to a commendable 220kW.
Then, in 1992, the company ushered in the 3.6l engine that also saw the introduction of permanent four-wheel drive to the model. Power was 268kW, but by the end of the engine’s lifecycle, the output was up to 353kW.
It was a rather successful engine this, as it remained within the model range right up to the pre-facelift 997 model before the direct injection 3.8l powerplant was introduced in 2009.
In fact, the latter engine was rather impressive in both its normal aspiration and turbo guise.
So impressive in fact that the engine remains the basis of the current Carrera S models and offers an excellent blend of performance and economy.
To celebrate 40 years of the Turbo nomenclature, the company has announced the much anticipated Turbo and Turbo S models of the current 911, which will be the flagship models of the range.
While both can already be ordered, deliveries of the Turbo will only start early next year, with the Turbo S arriving in SA first around September this year.
The new model will feature a new all-wheel drive system, active rear axle steering, adaptive aerodynamics, and full LED technology equipped headlights.
Visually, the models can be distinguished by a wider rear body (28mm wider than the Carrera), an adaptive boot spoiler that deploys at speed, and two-tone 20-inch wheels with a centre locking hub.
Interior appointments are said to have been redesigned for the Turbo models with the S also receiving an exclusive interior finished in a black and red colour combination, and there will also be sports seats with 18-way electric adjustment.
A Bose surround sound system is standard. Meanwhile things like radar controlled cruise control and camera-based road sign recognition can be optioned with the new models.
Both models are powered by the company’s 3.8l flat-six with direct injection and two variable geometry turbo chargers. In the instance of the Turbo power is quoted at 383kW at 6,000r/min and 660Nm at 1,950r/min.
The Turbo S makes 412kW and 710Nm (750Nm in overboost) and both models come standard with four-wheel drive and a seven-speed PDK transmission.
Claimed performance figures are a 0-100km/h time of 3.2 seconds and 3.1 seconds respectively, while top speed is pegged at 318km/h.
Even with such eye-bulging performance, the company says fuel consumption has been reduced by as much as 16% over the previous model with new models claimed to return 9.7l /100km, thanks to the inclusion of items such as stop/start technology.
The Turbo S comes standard with a sports chrono package, dynamic engine mounts, and composite carbon fibre brakes. Available for the first time on Turbo models is Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) active anti-roll system, which is said to increase dynamic performance.
Also new is rear-axle steer, which in essence means the steering angle of the rear wheels can adjust by up to 2.8 degrees in the opposite direction of the front wheels at speeds of up to 50km/h, which provides better manoeuvring particularly when parking.
Both models are equipped with an active aerodynamic system that comprises of a three-stage front spoiler that can be extended and the rear adaptive spoiler with three adjustable positions.
These are said to influence downforce on both the front and rear axles.
For even faster and more precise power distribution to both axles, the new all-wheel drive system with electro-hydraulic control is said to have a new water cooling function that can direct even more torque to the front wheels when needed, thereby offering even better traction.
That said, both models seem to have moved the goalposts with regards to performance, technology, and efficiency over their predecessors.
Although local pricing will only be announced closer to introduction, order books are already open.