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  6. 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S Pros and Cons Review: Just Shy of Perfection

And that’s precisely the problem. Can a car be too clinically excellent?

Porsche 911 Full Overview

Pros

  • Absolute magic on a back road
  • Wonderful GT car
  • Insanely quick

Cons

  • Magic replaced by cold competency on the track
  • Street tires only

We thought it was gone. Banished. We believed the good people of Stuttgart, with a bit of help from Weissach, had finally cured the Turbo’s one remaining weakness. Charging valiantly into our 2020 Best Driver’s Car field, though, the 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S revealed that its Achilles’ heel remains.

That one issue, the one that’s deprived 911 Turbos of the past from more than one MotorTrend podium, is the car’s cold, emotionless virtuosity when pushed to the limit. (The 911 Carerra S, last year’s winner, does not have this problem.) It’s a trait that was far more apparent on previous Turbos, showing itself on the road and on the track. With this new 992-generation car, we thought it’d finally been vanquished.

It’s easy to see why we’d think so. In two back-to-back comparisons earlier this year, both the coupe and convertible annihilated their challengers. McLarens and AMGs couldn’t hold a candle to the new Turbo S on the road. And frankly, things weren’t much different this time around. Just a few corners without traffic are all it takes to experience that 911 Turbo magic—the way the car behaves exactly the way you want it to, exactly the way you expect it to, and exactly the way you instruct it to at every moment, so much so you don’t have to consciously think about it. The 911 Turbo S lets you drive by instinct at speeds where other cars demand every bit of your attention.

“It’s the meticulous engineering that makes it so accessible to every driver, regardless of skill,” road test editor Chris Walton said. “Anyone can jump into it and exceed their expected levels—by the second corner, I’m guessing.”

That’s it, we thought. The old 911 Turbo is dead. Long live the new Turbo. Then we drove it on the racetrack, and the last vestiges of the old Turbo showed themselves.

“This car is so perfect it’s anodyne, unobtrusive,” Walton said. “There’s no bother, but no excitement. It’s super capable. It does everything so well that you can’t mess up with this car. It solves everything. It is so uniquely competent.”

Competence doesn’t necessarily stir the soul. “Without a doubt, it’s the best car on Angeles Crest Highway,” senior features editor Jonny Lieberman said, “but on the track my feelings about it went down.”

Interestingly, our actual race car driver had the opposite reaction. “There’s a lot more GT3 stirred into the Turbo S than there used to be in the old days,” Randy Pobst said after hot laps of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. “I felt so much like the car was an extension of myself. It was just locked into my driving so beautifully.”

Pobst’s inversion of opinion continued on the road: “This car’s only flaw is that it shows no fangs. It’s just so drivable that it rarely challenges. Its performance is at the forefront of the modern sports car fleet, and it’s so refined that it is not as entertaining.”

Either way, everyone felt much of the personality Porsche injected into the 911 Turbo S vaporized at some point in their drive, and it was back to making big numbers in the most efficient manner possible, not the most emotional.

Partly to blame, we think, are the tires. Pirelli P Zeros are great tires, and they do a phenomenal job on the road, even with this kind of power behind them. On the track, though, even Pobst agreed they just don’t have the capability to keep up with this 911. Yes, they’re still pulling a seriously impressive 1.10 lateral g, but there’s no doubt Corsa or Trofeo R tires would lead to faster—and therefore more thrilling—cornering speeds.

Would that be enough to reignite the spark? We think it might. For Porsche’s part, it says Turbo customers haven’t been interested in higher-performance tires, so it doesn’t offer them. Pity.

Looks good! More details?

POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Rear-engine, AWD
ENGINE TYPE Twin-turbo flat-6, alum block/heads
VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT 228.5 cu in/3,745 cc
COMPRESSION RATIO 8.7:1
POWER (SAE NET) 640 hp @ 6,750 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 590 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm
REDLINE 7,200 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 5.7 lb/hp
TRANSMISSION 8-speed twin-clutch auto
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.33:1 (front), 3.02:1 (rear)/1.84:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar
STEERING RATIO 12.5-14.1:1
TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.4
BRAKES, F; R 16.5-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc; 15.4-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc, ABS
WHEELS, F;R 9.5 x 20-in; 12.0 x 21-in, forged aluminum
TIRES, F;R 255/35R20 93Y; 315/30R21 105Y Pirelli P Zero NA1
DIMENSIONS
WHEELBASE 96.5 in
TRACK, F/R 62.4/63.0 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 178.6 x 74.9 x 50.9 in
TURNING CIRCLE 35.8 ft
CURB WEIGHT 3,628 lb
WEIGHT DIST, F/R 38/62%
SEATING CAPACITY 4
HEADROOM, F/R 37.9/32.5 in
LEGROOM, F/R 42.2/27.2 in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 52.6/47.9 in
CARGO VOLUME 4.5 (front)/9.3 (rear seat folded) cu ft
TEST DATA
ACCELERATION TO MPH
0-30 0.9 sec
0-40 1.4
0-50 1.8
0-60 2.3
0-70 3.0
0-80 3.7
0-90 4.5
0-100 5.6
0-100-0 9.3
PASSING, 45-65 MPH 1.0
QUARTER MILE 10.3 sec @ 132.3 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 97 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 1.10 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 22.5 sec @ 0.96 g (avg)
2.2-MI ROAD COURSE LAP 92.97 sec
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,250 rpm
CONSUMER INFO
BASE PRICE $204,850
PRICE AS TESTED $224,780
STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes
AIRBAGS 8: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee
BASIC WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 4 yrs/50,000 miles
FUEL CAPACITY 17.6 gal
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 15/20/17 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 225/169 kWh/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.15 lb/mile
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium

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