2010 Porsche 911 Turbo S | road test

Posted on Dec 20, 2010 by

The Turbo S looks like most other 911s, but it's one of the craziest

AT A GLANCE

FOR

  • Monstrous power
  • Fantastic handling
  • Very well made

AGAINST

  • Too clinical?
  • Front wheel ingresses into footwell
  • More power than is usable on the road

SUMMARY

In 2010 decided that the 911 Turbo just wasn’t powerful enough, and so came up with the Turbo S. It’s an absolute beast of a machine; beautifully engineered with a superbly powerful engine, and brilliant handling. It’s also very, very fast and we’re struggling to find things not to like about it. Our one consternation is that it’s so well put together than it’s almost lacking in involvement and character. But not quite – 530bhp guarantees emotion.

It’s impossible to get a real idea of what this car can do on the road. It has more power and grip than you can possibly use. We felt like we only used a fifth of its potential during our day-long test drive and we’d love to take it to a track if Porsche will let us. Perhaps the much-cheaper Cayman S is a more rounded sports car for the road, but it’s much less of an event than the Turbo S.

The engine in the back of the 911 Turbo S has a huge 530bhp

PERFORMANCE

The 3.8-litre turbocharged flat six is a monster in the best possible sense. It boasts 530bhp and although you can feel when the turbocharger kicks in it’s relatively smooth in its delivery as it rockets you to 100kph in just 3.1 seconds. There’s a noticeable surge under hard acceleration but it’s entirely manageable and predictable. The redline comes quite soon at around 6,800rpm and we sometimes found ourselves bumping off the rev limiter; so intoxicating is the acceleration that you won’t want to interrupt it to change gear.

This is a machine that requires you to have your wits about you when driving it hard – it can catch you out with the amount of speed it can attain in a short space of time. Thankfully the brakes are well up to the task of slowing it down – we had to brake very hard to avoid a goat that wandered into the road during our test and the stability was remarkable. It feels absolutely sorted.

The Turbo S is superbly set up and handling is astoundingly good

The gearbox is a seven-speed dual clutch PDK and is made even better than usual by the decision to use the traditional paddle arrangement – left for down shifts and right for up – rather than the silly push-pull affairs that Porsche has been trying to foist on us lately. It works really well.

HANDLING AND RIDE

Handling is amazing with prodigious amounts of grip around corners. The 911 turns in beautifully and holds on without even a shake of the tail under power when coming out of a corner. It feels absolutely planted. If you like to provoke the back end, good luck – there’s so much grip that you’d have to really throw it into a slide, which we wouldn’t fancy doing on public roads. The car, with its all wheel drive system, is designed to keep you held on to the tarmac and blast you out from the corners, and it does it fantastically well, feeling amazingly stable at all speeds.

Despite its huge power, the 911 Turbo S is very easy to drive

Buttons inside enable Sport or Sport Plus mode, which firm up the suspension, loosen the electronic stability control and change the gearbox shift patterns and basically make the car even more hardcore.

Even with none of the sport options enabled, the ride is pretty stiff – drive across a bumpy surface and you’ll know about it. The resultant comfort level is towards the end of the scale of what would be tolerable for everyday use, but still within the limit.

Overall, the 911 Turbo S is very easy to drive, as long as you have your wits about you for the amount of speed it can achieve in a very short space of time.

COMFORT

The driver’s (optional) sports seat is very comfortable and supportive enough to keep you in place when you drive hard. Because the cockpit in the car is so far forward, thanks to the 911’s trademark rear engine configuration, the left front wheel well ingresses somewhat into the driver’s footwell. It pushes your legs towards the middle of the car, which is a minor complaint but still a bit annoying. Other than that, the driving position is pretty much perfect.

The steering wheel is uncluttered by volume controls or the like

Build quality is really excellent, with everything exuding a feeling of class.

PRACTICALITY

There are seats in the back but they’re very small and bucket-like. These are for kids only – abandon any hopes of getting adults in the rear of the car. Even children will be pretty cramped back there.

For storage, there are fairly small door pockets big enough for a phone or wallet and a small storage area under the centre armrest that also houses the iPod socket. Another mobile phone-sized cubby hole sits in front of the gear lever and there are some cool fold-our cup holders on the passenger side, which could hold a can or bottle of drink. The back is fairly bereft of such features however.

Although the 911 Turbo S is performance focused, the interior is well made and comfortable

Being a rear-engined car, the Porsche’s boot is in the front and is roomier than we expected. Don’t expect to fit a big suitcase in, but a couple of holdalls for a weekend away should be accommodated without much problem.

FEATURES

The interior of the car we drove had lots of leather and the optional carbon package, and speaking of options, it’s worth that a lot of the features available on the 911 are ones for which you have to pay extra. Our test car had some 48,000AED of extras on it, so bear that in mind when consulting your finances.

Considering the amount of money that the car costs, the feature list might seem a little sparse, but this reflects the driving focus of the 911, as does the lap timer in the middle of the dashboard. Having said that, the quality of the interior is testament to the luxury angle that Porsche delivers and it’s hardly spartan. There’s an excellent Bose stereo and satellite navigation, as well as cruise control and a trip computer in the very cool five-dial instrument panel.

We haven't taken the 911 Turbo S on a track. But we want to

There are no controls on the steering wheel, leaving it free of volume controls and the like for hindrance-free enthusiastic driving. We do like the little displays within the wheel spokes though, which lets you know when Sport or Sport Plus mode is engaged.

Our options included the sports seats, floor mats, leather roof lining, rear parking sensors and 19-inch alloys.

SAFETY

The 911 comes as standard with ABS, traction control, electronic stability control and front, side and curtain airbags as standard.

No crash test information was available at the time of writing.

530bhp requires big brakes

COSTS

With prices starting from 595,200AED, the Turbo S is expensive, and the car we drove, with various extras thrown in, was 643,000AED. That’s a more than 100,000AED rise on the standard 911 Turbo, which starts at 488,000AED. Is the S, with its extra 30bhp, worth that kind of cash? We hadn’t driven the standard Turbo at the time of writing, so we couldn’t say, but it seems a heck of a price hike.

However, 530bhp and some of the best handling in the world places the 911 Turbo S well into supercar territory. Compare it to the Ferrari 458 Italia (910,000AED) and the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 (749,000AED) and it doesn’t seem so pricey, although the Audi R8 V10 (525,000AED) is still cheaper.

Fuel economy is surprisingly good for a car of this type. We managed less than 14 litres per 100km on the motorway and even after a 40 minute thrash the average went up only to 17l/100km. The official combined figure is 11.4l/100km, but you’d have to drive it rather granny-like to achieve it, we think. Still, if you manage it you’ll get a range of around 590km from the car’s 67-litre fuel tank.

Porsche offers a two-year, unlimited mileage warranty on the 911 Turbo S.

2010 Turbo S

Engine: Bi-turbocharged 3.8-litre six-cylinder
Max power (bhp/rpm): 530/6,250-7,250
Max torque (Nm/rpm): 700/2,100-4,250
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Driven wheels: All-wheel drive
Kerb weight: 1,585kg
Price (AED): From 595,200 (643,000 as tested)

2 Responses to 2010 Porsche 911 Turbo S | road test

  1. George Reply

    December 21, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    The 2010 Porsche 911 Turbo S is amongst the greatest cars ever built. Besides it being well rounded, ITS THE FASTEST THING EVER……this side of a Bugatti Veyron and a couple of fighter jets.
    Various Auto magazines have tested it….to a 100kmph and beyond and come up with numbers like, 3.0, 3.1, 2.9 and even an astounding 2.7. One particular magazine even saw it move faster than a Veyron to 80 kmph. This is engineering, at its best.
    The only complaint about the car is that I don’t own one.
     
    ps I think it was worth mentioning that the 10sec torque boost available on the Turbo as an option with the Chrono sport pack has now been raised to infinity.
    ps when u say rate this? does that mean rate the article or rate the vehicle….
     

    • Pankaj Dev

      Pankaj Dev Reply

      January 7, 2011 at 11:04 pm

      Hi, rate this basically means the article, but feel free to post your thoughts on the vehicle through the comments just as you did.

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