A deception of perception - The Porsche 991 Turbo

I knew the new Porsche (991) 911 Turbo would be fast. I knew Porsche 911 Turbos have always been fast. I just didn't know that these cars are now this fast. If juxtaposed next to a fiery red Ferrari 458 Italia, more often than not onlookers will have their money bet on the performance of the exotic looking and more powerful Ferrari. Yet, this new Turbo will outrun it from a dig every single time.

Last week I wrote about my experience at the Porsche World Roadshow in which I got to ride and drive several new Porsches at MSR Houston's road course. In the final segment, the participants had the opportunity to ride in a hot lap of the new 991 Turbo being driven by a racing instructor.

What does full-throttle acceleration in the 991 Turbo feel like? Simply and insanely unreal. Unlike the dramatic exotics that birth from the Italian factories in Maranello and Sant'Agata Bolognese, the Turbo makes no drama. There's no brutish V12 or high-strung V8 to warn you of the impending onset of g-forces. A highly overengineered flat-6 by assist of modern turbo technology draws up a sudden vacuum-like whoosh and before you have time to think, the car jumps right up to 60 mph from a standstill. 1. 2. 3. That's all the seconds it took.

And it gets better.

As my body attempted to regain normalcy in perception, it struck me that this Porsche is even better at undoing what it does from a standstill. If the acceleration capability of this car was a instrument of joy and exhilartion, the braking capability of this Turbo was an instrument of pain. It literally hurt the moment my instructor pounded on the brakes at 130 mph. In a mere 2 seconds, the car was able to halve its velocity. In about the time it took you read the previous sentence, it was able to bring the car down to a standstill from 130.

Whereas Porsche did not intend for the Turbo to be the corner carver 911, it rounds a corner every bit as well as a modern day supercar. I've yet to experience the purpose-built 991 GT3 in any form, and while I don't doubt that the GT3 handles better, the way the Turbo grabs onto the pavement around a bend is absolutely nothing to be disappointed about. In fact, in a real world scenario, a 991 GT3 driver has every right to be nervous about being chased by its Turbo sibling.

This new Turbo feels so capable to me I am willing to wager that the only production cars that complete a road course faster at the moment could be counted on a pair of hands. Porsche excels at extracting every bit of performance a chassis and powertrain is capable of producing and it has once again set an impossible new standard with this Turbo. On the outside, few may perceive it to be one of the fastest cars on the market right now, but deceptive performance is what Porsche does best and what it has perfected with the 991 Turbo.