Porsche has a big problem. The Porsche 911 Turbo was always the top dog in its lineup. The mythical ‘Turbo’. Images of power back-slides and doctors crashing into trees lined our minds. We all knew the ‘Turbo’ was the king, the top dog, the shit.
But now its not. And its all because of a new model – the Porsche 911 Turbo S.
As this Jalopnik puts it:
When Porsche started selling the official 911 Turbo back in 1975, it was as powerful and as high tech a car Porsche was willing to sell to the public. Its turbo tech, derived from their work in Can-Am and Le Mans was so groundbreaking that Porsche had to put it in the car’s name. The car was such a handful that people started calling it the Widowmaker.
Porsche wisely realized it’s a better market proposition to sell people on the idea of a car that can kill you, rather than actually killing off their customers, so the following Turbo models were a bit toned down in the psycho handling department, despite getting turned up in the outright speed department.
Here it gets to the problem:
Yesterday I got to ride in a brand new 991-model Turbo S. Now, most great fast cars sing their performance. They cast it like a spell and you appreciate it as a deliberate work of creation. In the Turbo S there is only VELOCITY. And that VELOCITY is INJECTED STRAIGHT INTO YOUR EYEBALLS. I swear the edge of your vision gets blurry and the world goes into hyperspace mode when the gas pedal goes to the floor.
It is at this point when I will list exactly what you get with the Turbo S over the Turbo: center lug wheels, LED lights, carbon ceramic brakes, sport chrono with overboost function as standard (!!) and 40 more horsepower as well as 29 more pound feet of torque. Top speed goes up two miles an hour and Porsche’s claimed 0-60 time drops 0.3 seconds.
So, it’s a hell of a car, but it’s also comfortable. It’s quiet. Inside, it feels exactly the same as a regular 911. There’s a bit of a vacuum cleaner noise covering up the engine note, but otherwise there’s nothing but the speed to tell you that you’re not in an ordinary 911, let alone a Turbo.
And this means that there is now no good reason to buy a Turbo rather than a Turbo S, as one CLK AMG buyer might choose to buy his lower-spec car compared to the CLK AMG Black. The two Turbo models are so similar that buying an S is just telling the world that you can afford the faster version of the faster car.
So the problem is that the S isn’t really a faster, more compromised version of the Turbo; the regular turbo is just a slower version of the Turbo S. Thanks to the Turbo S, there is no distinct reason for the regular Turbo to exist other than as a budget version of its ‘S’ big brother.
So there you go. If you can afford a Turbo, why buy it when there is a top of the line Turbo S waiting for you? And buying the Turbo says nothing more then – “I’m too cheap to pay a bit extra for the top dog”.