2009 Porsche 911

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Review: 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo

This 2007 review is representative of model years 2005 to 2011.
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
Rating: 9

Bottom Line:

Really should be sold only to high-performance driving school graduates.
Pros:
  • Amazing acceleration
  • Fantastic brakes
  • Docile
Cons:
  • Limited luggage room
  • Small control buttons
  • Low front ground clearance

Goodness knows, the regular Porsche 911 is more than plenty fast with 325-355 horsepower. So imagine how fast the new Porsche Turbo is with its twin-turbocharged 480-horsepower engine.

The sixth-generation Porsche 911 Turbo looks much like the standard-issue 911, but functional features such as extra air scoops and wider rear fenders give it a tougher look. The small car isn't especially light at 3,495-3,572 pounds. But Porsche has made it 11 pounds lighter than its predecessor, despite a wider range of equipment. Holding down weight are such items as aluminum doors.

The 911 Turbo is the ultimate 2007 sports car from this revered German automaker, which is doing so well it recently bought a good chunk of giant Volkswagen, with which it has occasionally developed cars since 1970.

Sizzling Acceleration
The Porsche Turbo can do 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds and hit 100 mph in 8.4 seconds with its standard 6-speed manual transmission.

Acceleration with the $3,420 5-speed automatic transmission is even faster (3.4 and 7.8 seconds). This transmission can be shifted manually via small rocker type switches on the steering wheel. It makes the 911 Turbo the first Porsche sports car that is faster with an automatic than with a manual.

My test 911 Turbo had the automatic, which delays upshifting to a higher gear a little if you abruptly floor the throttle for a downshift and then quickly takes your foot off the gas pedal. Porsche says the delay occurs because the transmission assumes you want to stay in a lower gear for a few seconds for better control on, say, winding roads. An upshift during such a maneuver might result in less speed on such roads—or in a lower lap time on a track.

Automatic Transmission Annoyance
I'd prefer the manual transmission, although the automatic is helpful in stop-go traffic and its manual shifts are lightning fast with the easily used switches. But the automatic's delayed action soon became annoying. The new $106,000 Porsche 911 rear-wheel-drive GT3 with a manual gearbox and its non-turbocharged 415 horsepower engine probably is more fun, although it's a track-focused car and wouldn't be as comfortable as the 911 Turbo.

No matter what transmission, few drivers in America will experience the fierce acceleration of the 911 Turbo. And it's doubtful that many owners of the car will reach its 193-mph top speed.

Exceptional Roadability
The 911 Turbo has exceptional steering, superb handling, huge 19-inch wheels and tires for great road grip and massive brakes, which have good pedal feel and provide the short stopping distances for which Porsche is famous for. Optional are $8,840 ceramic composite brakes for even better stopping, but they're really for use on race tracks.

Besides heroic performance, the 911 Turbo has a good number of comfort and convenience items, along with availability of many of Porsche's typically costly, desirable options—such as the ceramic brakes.

Upscale Interior
The interior has full leather upholstery and the car has the usual power accessories. Rearview mirrors even have an automatic anti-dazzle function, and there are six airbags.

I was impressed with the acceleration of the first Porsche Turbo when I drove it in the mid-1970s, when it was one of the few really fast, relatively affordable sports cars of that decade. Porsche has pulled the 911 Turbo from the U.S. market several times since then, but always returned the car in improved form.

The latest 911 Turbo's excellent aerodynamics, new rear spoiler and redesigned all-wheel-drive system let it easily cruise at 100 mph in sparsely populated states with good roads and high speed limits. After all, it reportedly can happily cruise at much higher speeds on European high-speed roads.

Daily Driver
Still, in keeping with its philosophy that virtually all its cars can be comfortably driven daily, Porsche calls the docile 911 Turbo "the everyday supercar" because it can be easily used on a regular basis. However, a driver must be careful not to damage the low front end when pulling up to a concrete barrier in, say, a 7-Eleven parking slot.

Horsepower of the new 911 Turbo is up from 420 to 480. Torque is available over a wide engine rev band for sharp response at all speeds and has climbed from 415 pound-feet to an even more neck-snapping 460 pound-feet.

The engine's new variable turbine geometry turbocharger system allows virtually no turbo lag—a condition that causes delayed throttle response in some turbocharged cars.

Decent Fuel Economy
Estimated fuel economy is decent for such a high-performance auto: 18 mpg in the city and 25 on the highway with the manual transmission and 17 and 25 with the automatic.

As with all 911 models, the 911 Turbo has Porsche's traditional, compact 6-cylinder engine with horizontally opposed pistons. The smooth engine only has a displacement of 3.6 liters, or 219 cubic inches. Extracting so much horsepower from such a relatively small, docile engine is an engineering feat.

The 911 Turbo is loaded with complicated technology, but Porsches are known for being rugged and trouble-free despite a high level of sophistication.

Advanced Features
Advanced features of the 911 Turbo include a suspension management system that provides a smooth or firmer, sportier ride. The car's stability management system quickens brake response and shortens stopping distances if a driver abruptly lifts off the gas pedal, which is characteristic of an emergency braking scenario.

An $1,840 Sports Chrono Package option boosts turbocharger pressure for 10 seconds to allow quicker acceleration in the medium speed range.

Agility Required
The 911 Turbo has wide doors, but calls for agility to get in and out. The enlarged interior has supportive bucket seats and a kid-friendly rear seat. The cockpit is generally quiet, except for some noise from the large high-performance tires.

I ignored the analog speedometer with its offbeat mph markings and used the digital speedometer. Control buttons are small.

While small, the front trunk area is deep and nicely shaped. If more cargo room is needed for a long trip, you can flip the rear seatbacks forward and toss stuff in the back. The 911 Turbo makes it exciting to take a trip of any length.

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BB01 - 9/17/2014 10:37:39 AM