2014 Porsche 911 Turbo Test Drive
2014 Porsche 911 Turbo Test Drive Photos and Stories.
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2014 Porsche 911 Turbo Test Drive
Porsche 911/930 Turbo 3.0 Coupe 1976
The 2014 Porsche 911/991 Turbo.
The 1976 Porsche 911/930 Turbo Carrera was the first Porsche Turbo powered road car and it gained a reputation of being a bit of a beast, due to its delayed sudden rush of power once the large turbo had reached its proper RPM. The 1976 Porsche 911/930 Turbo Carrera's later rendition was even canceled by Porsche, resulting in an official announcement that there would be no more 930 Turbos made.
Well that commitment did not last too long. How could a highly tuned performance car manufacture let go of a power concept, one that they themselves created? All the skilled Porsche engineers needed to do was to make everything predictable for the off-racetrack world where the non-racetrack drivers could safely reach the office without flying off into the woods due to an unexpected power-boost coming on in the wrong part of a curve.
A lot has changed and a lot has been created since 1976. Porsche has steadily solved all of the rear-engined 911's stability quirks including the original 930's bad behavior. Now the car world has the computer and electronic engine management and Porsche's pre-selector PDK gearbox. All is right in the world now.
Porsche 911/991 Turbo 2014
The Blue 911 Turbo was waiting for me in Carmel Valley, California at the Porsche demonstration drive via the Porsche Zentrum USA as part of the Monterey Auto Week events. I was very curious about this car. I had driven the first year Cayman S up the Laurels Grade road in 2010 and now I get to do the same road with the Turbo.
Porsche 911/991 Turbo 2014
The Turbo only comes with Porsche's seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic and Porsche Traction Management (PTM) and active all-wheel drive. No manual shift available. I have driven a 911/991 Porsche with a PDK and liked the transmission very much so the Turbo with PDK would have been my preference if given one.
I pulled out on the road and my very helpful 'Demo Guide' (sorry he did not give me a card so I don't have his name) started to explain some of the settings. There were 3 settings available. My Demo Guide explained that the position I was now in was 'Normal' and there were 'Sport' and 'Sport Plus' settings available. I was in 'Drive' at about 30-40 MPH at less than 2000 RPM on a level road (please don't hold me at these numbers as I was focusing on driving and not taking notes). Wanting to try the engine response, I pressed the pedal and got little response from the motor. Demo Guide, said that Porsche engineers have designed this setting for loafing around at low speeds and provides the most comfortable ride and most casual performance, not unlike a luxury sedan. (Dam I thought I was driving a 911 Porsche Turbo??) My comment back was "my 997 reacts more aggressive than this". Demo Guide; "to get performance similar to the 997 one should chose the 'Sport' Mode', and he pushed the button. The tachometer jumped to about 2500RPM. There was no moving of the shift selector, he had just pressed the 'Sport' Mode button.
I had been concentrating of the peddle travel and what I have become used to in my 997 and most every other car I have driven, there is an instantaneous response between peddle movement and engine response. The hyperness or lack there of varies between each car. This Turbo had a fair degree of peddle travel before anything happened. Probably this could be recalibrated, as the throttle is 'drive-by-wire'. In the 'Normal' setting the first several degrees of movement beyond, the more-or-less 'dead spot', I felt the acceleration was less impressive than my wife's Mazda 5. In the 'Sport' Mode', after the first bit of travel the acceleration was about like my 997. But wait this is the 520HP Turbo. Press a little more and the car comes alive delivering the mind numbing head rush I expected. Placed in 'Sport Plus', the tachometer jumps an additional 1000RPM or so and stuff happens even faster.
All this changing of the RPM with the different settings is somewhat similar to just downshifting in my standard shifting 997. I did not have enough time in or with the car to understand what was going on, but I do understand that the computer is doing all sorts of changes to the suspension - aero and so on as the modes are selected. The push-buttons also changes the Turbo's personality.
I had now worked my way to the turn onto the Laureles Grade road. I pulled over and let the traffic move away from me. Once clear I tested the acceleration into the twisting uphill climb. The power is awesome. There are no noticeable Turbo on-or-off indicators, just a smooth power on or off. No turbo lag above 2000RPM.
I had made this run in the Cayman S in 2010 and that car delivered a very exciting smooth run, both up hill and down, with a little dance a the end of the uphill corners that I really liked. Just fun stuff. But I see 911's as brutes and my interpretation of them when pressed, is that a 911 slams into its power-on moment and slams into a corner and bangs out the other side. This 911 Turbo does that with a very smooth transition, more so than my older 997, as one would expect.
So reflecting on this very complicated car after my short drive, what are my conclusions? Since I was mostly concreting on the power transition and corning behavior, I can only say, in the world of 911's, this car is without equal nor is it wanting.
I had visions in my head about how quickly the turbo response may come-on, (or delay) and how it would require adjusting my power input into and out of a corner. (One lightweight front-wheel drive car with a supercharger and its explosive nature came to mind). But the 911 Turbo demanded no radical change in my input and allowed me the confidence to push the car to the limits of the road without me having to think about the cars behavior. In other words we immediately, the Turbo and I, became a Team making a hot run on the famed Laureles Grade road. I made smiles and the Turbo made growls.
The Specs on the 911 Turbo read like a Wish List from a day-dreaming automotive engineer:
3.8-liter boxer-6 cylinder engine with Twin BorgWarner compressors having variable-vane geometry. Rear-wheel steering to sharpen the car's reflexes, automatic aerodynamic downforce elevation adjustment for speed via a height working with angle-adjustable rear wing and a flexible three-section chin spoiler that drops down in two phases via air bladders. At low speed, the black lip stays retracted out of the scrape zone. Clutches are bathed in oil, which are cooled, as well as all the car's power-train fluids, Dynamic
Porsche 991 2014 Display Porsche Zentrum USA.
The Porsche Zentrum USA's 'site' was impressive with its waiting room, café and boutique selling very expensive women's Porsche Design purses. In the entrance court yard they had a 'display Model' of the Le Mans 919.
Porsche 919 Porsche Zentrum USA.
After the "Run" and during the Turbo photo session, I was distracted by a gathering of activity which followed the removal of a cover, reveling an actual 919. I started shooting the 919 and a 918 flashed between me and the 919 pulling up just finished with its 'road-test'. Wait! I was not offered that 'option' on the sign-up form. I guess PNA may have checked out my 'Net Worth' and assumed that I was not running in 918 circles.
Porsche 918 Porsche Zentrum USA.
Thinking that the 919 was being tended to given the group of people around it I refocused my photo shoot to the soon to be moving 918. After I had photographed the 918 I turned back to the 919, but it was gone. Running out of the parking lot I just made-out the back end of the 919 disappearing through the gate into the "Quail", where I did not have a pass.