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Mike Stapley

Review: An afternoon with the 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S

By Mike Stapley, KSL.com Contributor  |  Posted Nov 21st, 2017 @ 1:15pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — Porsche recently posted a video on social media correcting the mispronunciation of the iconic brand’s name over the years. In short, the word is two syllables and the “e” is not silent. Think "Portia," but with a really posh accent.

It's strange that a brand synonymous with top-flight performance cars — which make even serious enthusiasts drool — would need to correct such a common mistake.

But there's no mistake with the brand’s flagship 911 Turbo S model. It's everything as advertised and then some.

“This car is a rocket, no question. It’s also luxury defined and more comfortable than one would expect,” said Abdul Kisana, owner of Salt Lake City's Specialized Sales and Leasing.

First impressions

The 911 model has an aggressive stance and incomparable beauty. The long, low hood blends seamlessly with the iconic oval headlight covers that swoop back over the front fenders toward the driver.

The large rear fenders dominate the short end and create a wide, track-ready stance. The rear-engine air intakes sit on either side at the front of the fenders.

Photo: Mike Stapley

This particular car is white with black air intakes, a black convertible soft top and yellow accents that accentuate the rear aerodynamic air outlets, front air intakes and brake calipers. Black carbon fiber mirrors, a large rear deck spoiler and black wheels complete the look.

The car is gorgeous and Porsche continues melding classic styling cues with a modern flair in incomparable ways.

Inside the 911 Turbo, the supple tan leather seats, center console and lower dash trim juxtapose the black dash, upper door panels and wood dash trim. White accent stitching on the dash and door panels and a black suede steering wheel complete the elegant look.

Photo: Mike Stapley

The analog clock and track timer sit prominently in the center of the dash. The center console, which is long and narrow and typically Porsche, blends with two dash vents. The touch screen sits below.

As is typical of Porsche design, the media and climate controls have too many buttons and knobs, creating a sense of controlled chaos. There are even more buttons for driving modes, traction control and the power convertible top behind the automatic shift lever.

Photo: Mike Stapley

The built-in radar detector chirped and flashed the entire drive, but I never got a chance to test the radar jamming system when the only free police cruiser vanished after getting gas.

The 911 Turbo is larger and wider than one would expect from a high-end super car, and the comfort and luxury is beyond compare. Even the beautifully-engineered cupholders sweep out of the passenger side dash on two separate arms and seem to float in midair.

My only question is why Porsche even bothered with the rear seats. No adult can use them, and it would make more sense to configure some storage back there to make up for the tiny trunk up front.

Performance and handling

My wife and I left the lot with the 911 Turbo in Sport Plus mode and left it there until we entered I-80 to head to Park City.

The 911 Turbo doesn't have a manual transmission since Porsche’s legendary dual-clutch seven-speed automatic gets you there faster than you could shift yourself and much more smoothly to boot. In Sport Plus mode, each shift of the tranny only happens at the 7,000 RPM redline.

If you're not pushing the car to the next shift point, the engine revs high and the sound is glorious and insane all at once. The tachometer, rather than the speedometer, takes center stage — for good reason.

All-wheel drive and four-wheel steering compliment the grip and handling. A launch mode for optimal speed off-the-line is available but wasn’t tested. In manual mode, the paddles provide for smooth shifts.

Photo: Mike Stapley

There are three driving modes, and it was impressive how differently the car performed and handled between modes.

Sport Plus is all-out, redline-to-redline shift points. Sport mode provides for shift points that would closely replicate driving with a manual transmission and typically the car was in one to two gears higher than in Sport Plus mode. In normal mode, the car is driving about three to four gears higher than the other modes at any given time.

It was common when driving without either Sport mode to reach sixth and seventh gears, even in city driving. In Sport Plus, the car would never venture past second gear in similar driving conditions. The car can be adjusted from pleasant city driving and casual highway cruising to a frenzied assault on the road.

Yes, the 911 Turbo S is a rocket. This a true super car capable of 2.6-second zero-to-60 bursts and top speeds of just under 200 mph. Even in the thin mountain air of Parley’s Canyon, the Turbo S throws driver and passenger back in their seats as all four wheels grip the road.

The handling, however, may be even more impressive than the acceleration. Canyon ascents and descents are effortless with remarkable steering and a sure-footed grip. The built-in Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control makes body roll virtually non-existent.

The suspension is exceptional. The Turbo S remains planted and sure, regardless of road condition. Many performance cars are scary when you meet the first seam in a curvy overpass or minor pothole. The surest cars can become loose for an instant or two. The 911 Turbo never does, and it’s confidence inspiring.

Conclusions

The 911 Turbo is luxury, performance and elegance — all in one beautiful package.

For a car this fast and powerful, what impressed me most was how subtle the driver's role is. The car reacts to even the slightest touch of the steering wheel and the car speeds forward with only slight acceleration. The turbo lag is quite minimal.

Technology aside, however, one of the most satisfying things about the 911 Turbo S is the view of the beautifully-sculpted hood from the driver’s seat.

Driving this car rarely feels like a battle of wills between man and machine. Instead, it’s a rare symphony.

Specs

Vehicle type: rear engine, all-wheel drive, four passenger, two-door convertible coupe

Engine: Twin-turbo and intercooled DOHC 24-valve flat-six. Aluminum block and heads. Direct fuel injection

Displacement: 232 cubic inches; 3806 cc

Power: 560 horsepower, 553 pound-feet of torque

Transmission: Seven-speed dual clutch auto with manual mode and paddle shifters

Wheelbase: 96.5 inches

Performance: zero-to-60 mph in 2.6 seconds; 10.8 seconds for quarter mile, top speed 198 mph

Fuel Economy: Who cares?

Price as tested: $123,500 with 23,000 miles


Mike Stapley

About the Author: Mike Stapley

Mike Stapley is a father of two, a business sales manager for a telecom company and an aspiring novelist living in Salt Lake City. Contact him at mstapley4@gmail.com.

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