Porsche 911 Turbo (997) Review

9/20/2014 11:18:19 AM
A 997 C2 S or a C4 S would have been the obvious choice here, but to hell with it, we’ve gone all in with the mighty 911 Turbo

A 997 Turbo? Well, why not. We could have presented the predictable 997 C2, or C4 in either narrow or wide body S form, but hell if you’re going to be a bear, be a grizzly bear. The Turbo is here because it illustrates just what a formidable bargain it is - a sub $80,000 supercar that’s useable and won’t throw a strop like its Italian counterparts.

Porsche 911 Turbo (997) rear view

Porsche 911 Turbo (997) rear view

The 997 Turbo arrived in 2006 to carry on the great tradition of range topping forced induction for the 911. It followed on from the 996 Turbo as the de facto real world supercar, something that has become a bit of a well-worn cliche, but hard to get away from. It’s what makes the Turbo such an enduring icon. Drive to the shops, or drive at 200mph, it will happily do both.

First gen 997 Turbos packed a 480bhp punch and would near as dammit hit 200mph and crack 0-60mph in under 4 secs. They all come with four-wheel drive and an electronic centre diff that measures out the power depending on traction demands. Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) is a standard feature too. Most came pretty well loaded with standard as well as optional kit. This was a range topper after all, and most buyers didn’t spare the options. Early cars came with Tiptronic or a six-speed manual gearbox. Tiptronic was quite well suited to the Turbo, its huge power and torque filling any gaps in the five ratios.

Porsche 911 Turbo (997) engine

Porsche 911 Turbo (997) engine

The engine is what’s known as a Mezger unit. That is to say that it’s based around the engine that saw race service in the GT1 endurance racer. That’s a good thing because it’s super-tough and not prone to any of the horror stories that surround the 996/997 cars. Certainly we’ve heard of no particular issue and it seems that it will run up big miles with no effort.

In full widebody mode, with 19in wheels at the very minimum, the Turbo doesn’t feel nearly as nimble as a base 997, but that is to miss the point. The Turbo is a different sort of driving experience defined by its power, huge grip and cornering prowess. The Turbo is designed to devour distance and entire countries in one lunge.

Porsche 911 Turbo (997) interior

Porsche 911 Turbo (997) interior

The gen2 997 Turbo arrived in 2009 with 500+bhp and a 3.8-litre engine based on that of the 997 C2 and C4S. Gone, then, was the Mezger based unit but in its place, as well as the extra capacity, was direct fuel injection, which improved economy. The Turbo also received the PDK seven-speed gearbox, which vastly improved the appeal of the automated option. Switching from the Mezger based unit has yet to throw up any reliability issues that we know of.

Porsche 911 Turbo (997) roof

Porsche 911 Turbo (997) roof

The featured car here is a gen1 model and is rather special because of its low mileage. However, gen2 versions are now available now at under $80,000, albeit with rather more miles on the clock, but don’t fear because the Turbo shrugs off mileage.

Issues? Well running costs are steepish. Servicing is not so much of an issue, but consumables, like tyres and brakes are pricey for obvious reasons. Also look out for the usual 997 foibles like decomposing radiators mounted deep in the front apron. Oh, and general neglect. Turbos can be used as everyday cars and people often do, but without really caring for them. Ultimately, though, this is a bargain and with a bit of tweaking 200+mph is very easy to achieve.

Porsche 911 Turbo (997) side view

Porsche 911 Turbo (997) side view

Technical Specification

·         Model: Porsche 997 Turbo

·         Engine: 3.6-litre flat-six

·         Power: 480bhp @ 6000rpm

·         Torque: 457lb ft @ 1950rpm

·         Transmission: 6-speed manual or 5-speed tiptronic

·         Brakes: 330mm ventilated discs front; 299mm rear

·         Tyres front: 235/40 zr19 rear: 265/40 zr19

·         Economy: 22.1mpg (combined)

·         Top speed: 192mph

·         0-62mph: 3.9 secs


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