The New Porsche 911 Turbos – Turbocharging For Everyone

Way back when the original Porsche 930 Turbo arrived, it was the pinacle of technology from the company at the time. For me, it became the poster boy of my late seventies and early eighties bedroom walls, the wide arches and wale tail sitting alongside Linda Lusardi in my teenage years as I debated which one had the best curves.

The Turbo has remained in production ever since, the model sitting quite nicely alongside it’s endurance racing heritage of turbocharged Group C cars, continuing even alongside the advent of the GT3 series and diversifying into a more and more civilised machine. While at the same time occasionally reminding us of it’s raw roots with limited editions such as the GT2.

Porsche 911 Turbos Through the ages
Porsche 911 Turbos Through the ages

At the 2015 Frankfurt motorshow, Porsche are unveiling a whole new generation of engines. For the first time, every single Porsche 911 engine will be turbocharged. I’ve already heard a few die hards crying out about throttle response, Mezger engine flywheel memories and linearity to power delivery, but with a combination of modern technology and the lessons Porsche are undoubtedly learning in the World Endurance Championship, I’m expecting these new engines to have all the lightweight flywheel response and driveability you could ever wish for.

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I am forever a fan of turbocharged Porsche 911’s. There was always a sense of occasion when starting a 996 or 997 Turbo. I worked with several 911 Turbos on track and as they grew older, their exhaust notes grew deeper and coarser, taking on a kind of tobacco influenced voice, in a Richard Burton kind of way. My neighbour’s five year old 3.2 Cayman S, in comparison, sounds like a squeaky teenager.

The unmistakeable original 930 Turbo engine
The unmistakeable original 930 Turbo engine

These new turbocharged Porsche engines will not only solve any future emissions issues for the 911, but will also bring back something missing from the 991 3.4 engine – mid range power. While the specific horsepower is up only 20bhp, the torque increases by 60 NM. Additionally, the twin turbos should bring a driveability to the power curve that will mean cross country progress, driving in the real world, should become a thing of great tactility and delight.

I have great memories of fast cross country drives in the 996 Turbo, the X50 Pack engine delivering some devastating overtaking moves that make progress through traffic not a thing of frustration, but merely a minor inconvenience to be dispensed with. I struggle to think of a safer car with which to make rapid progress in real world driving.

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On reflection, it could be considered a little surprising that Porsche haven’t gone the wholesale turbo route long before now, really. In fairness, such was the punch of the Mezger engined 996 and 997 Turbos that for many owners, it was simply not needed. If Porsche have done the development job well, the 991 series will be transformed by these engines. It will be fascinating to compare Turbocharged 911 engine development across the years. Stay tuned.

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Author: Neill Watson

If you love the sound of the Cosworth V8 as much as the V12 Merlin, the smell of Jet A1 as much as Castrol R and admire the late Ray Hanna as much as Sir Stirling, you’ll find you’re both on the same page. Neill's love of art deco buildings means that his ideal home would be a brilliant white, 1930′s control tower in Southern France, with crisply mown grass, biplane parked on the driveway and a Ferrari 288GTO in the garage. This is something that those around him tolerate, though it does concern them from time to time.

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