Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Geneva 2006: Porsche Unleashes New 911 Turbo

Well, the Geneva Motor Show opens to the public this week, and Porsche is poised to make a very big splash, as they will debut the two newest 911 variants: the 2007 911 Turbo and the 2007 911 GT3.

Both cars offer extreme performance, but take completely different approaches. In this post, we'll discuss the new Turbo.

911 Turbo

The 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo has been anxiously awaited ever since the new 911 made its debut last year. Based on the newest 911 (type 997), the latest turbo is evolutionary in appearance...there's no mistaking what it is. Compared to the outgoing model (type 996) the '07 turbo is tidier-looking all around, with a much-improved, wider rear-end that integrates the exhaust pipes into the rear bumper and gives the car an even more menacing stance. The rear spoiler is also a total redesign, and it will extend when the car reaches 75mph.

Up front, the more classic headlight design that debuted on the 911 Carrera returns, with the markers and turn signals moved to the bumper, where they are integrated into new, lateral LEDs that cut across the two primary intakes. Flanking those are the new foglights, which are slightly recessed and also contribute to the car's more muscular front-end appearance.

Speaking of the intakes, they're all right where they were on the previous turbo model, but have been redesigned to give them a sleeker appearance. According to Porsche, they are now more efficient as well and do a better job of directing air into the car's intercoolers. Those intercoolers are part of the twin-turbo plumbing that helps the 3.6 liter engine generate 480 horsepower and a monstrous 457 lb-ft of torque across a wide RPM range.

The trick new engine feature in this 6th-gen 911 Turbo is variable turbine geometry (VTG). Movable guide vanes are electronically adjusted to always allow the optimum exhaust flow onto the turbine. Porsche explains that this allows the turbo to act like both small and large turbochargers. The result is a nice flat torque band at low and midrange RPMs, plus the big top-end power you would expect from a bigger turbocharger, but without the lag. According to Porsche, VTG makes the engine more fuel efficient than the outgoing model to boot.

911 Turbos equipped with the Tiptronic S five-speed automatic transmission have a 0-60 time of 3.4 seconds. That's .3 seconds faster than the same car equipped with the 6-speed manual. We have reached a point now where, in these high-performance cars, the automatics can put the power to the road better than the average driver using the standard transmission. (Mercedes has been doing this for a while now with their high-power AMG models. Manuals aren't even offered.)

Braking duties are handled by 13.78 inch discs at all four corners. 6-piston calipers up front, four in the rear. If you are inclined, and have the money, you can opt for the race-derived Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake system (PCCB), which increases the front brake disc diameter to a massive 14.96 in, and shaves 37 pounds of unsprung weight from the car. PCCBs do not corrode (remember, they're not metal) and do not fade the way metallic brakes do. The calipers on the standard braking system are painted red. PCCB-equipped cars have yellow calipers.

Top speed for the 2007 911 Turbo, no matter which options you choose, is 193 MPH. Pricing starts at $122,900.

2007 Porsche 911 Turbo
Official Website
Engine: 3.6L twin-turbocharged flat six
Power: 480HP @ 6,000 RPM
Torque: 457 lb-ft from 1,950 - 5,000 RPM
0-60: 3.4 sec (Tiptronic S), 3.7 sec. (Manual)
Top Speed: 193 MPH
Base Price: $122,900 US

Previous Generation (Type 996) 911 Turbo: Photo, Website

All Photos: Porsche Cars North America